By Paul R. Jones! OXON HILL, MARYLAND – There are contenders, and then there are can’t-miss contenders. Lightweight Devin ‘The Dream’ Haney (21-0, 13 KOs) certainly qualifies as the latter.
At 20-years old, and ranked 4th among lightweights by the WBA and WBC, Haney is on the verge of super-stardom: one to two wins away from a world title shot in one of boxing’s deepest divisions.
Standing in Haney’s way: former WBO Latino Lightweight titlist, Antonio Moran (24-3, 17 KOs), of Mexico, whom Haney faces in a 10 rounder on Saturday night at the MGM National Harbor in Maryland.
The winner lays claim to WBC International and WBO Inter-Continental Lightweight titles.
In many ways, Moran is a good barometer for Haney: rangy (6’0”), with a good motor and tough beard. In fact, Moran has never been stopped as a pro.
Although confident, Team Haney recognizes the risk Moran presents.
“We were comfortable with (Moran) because he’s tall, bigger, [and] he has the reach,” said Haney’s father, trainer, and manager Bill Haney Sr. to East Side Boxing’s Paul R. Jones in an exclusive interview on Friday.
“(Moran) is in his prime age-wise, he’s mature. It’s a step-up fight for Devin,” added Haney Sr. “This will be a fight where (Devin’s) at a disadvantage,”
Indeed, Moran does present some unique challenges for Haney.
For instance, despite dropping a unanimous decision to former world lightweight titlist José Pedraza (25-2, 12 KOs), the hard-charging Moran showed flashes against Pedraza over 10 rounds.
However, if there’s a knock against Moran it’s that he’s a one-gear fighter, often keeping the same speed and timing on his punches and pressure.
Moran also has the tendency to stand straight up (willingly giving up his height advantage), throw wide punches, and, at time, look irresponsible defensively.
These shortcomings don’t bode well for Moran against Haney, a fast-twitch fighter with a knack for frustrating opponents with his hand speed and cat-quick reflexes.
And though Haney doesn’t possess bone-shattering power, Haney Sr. promises that fight fans can expect to see a new and improved Devin Haney on Saturday night.
“You’re going to see a more explosive Devin Haney on Saturday,” said Haney Sr. “And you’re in for a good fight.”
In less than 8 hours, we’ll see whether Haney Sr.’s prophecy comes to fruition.
OFFICIAL PREDICTION: Devin Haney UD Antonio Moran
■ About Paul R. Jones!
Paul R. Jones! is a boxing writer and ringside photographer for East Side Boxing. A scientist by day and boxing writer by night, he covers the humorous, offbeat, and absurd from the sport of boxing. Paul’s articles have appeared in PEDIATRICS, Race and Social Problems, and Motivation and Emotion, and he’s covered boxing online for BOXINGNEWS 24, BOXINGINSIDER, TheFightJournal, and WRAPSONTV.
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