Devin Haney wanted the knockout and he wanted it bad. Instead, last night in his first fight in a year, after having undergone shoulder surgery, the unbeaten 21-year-old had to make do with a lopsided decision win over Yuriorkis Gamboa, now 30-4(18). Haney, who referred to 38-year-old Gamboa as a “stepping stone,” won every round on two cards and he is now 25-0(15). However, Haney’s performance received what can only be described as mixed reviews.
Haney certainly didn’t deliver a billion-dollar performance. That said, after a year out, after undergoing surgery, against a fighter Haney insists “went into survival mode early,” Haney looked good. But not everyone enjoyed the fight. Some labeled last night’s fight a “snoozer,” while others said we witnessed a “boxing masterclass.” In truth, it was probably somewhere in the middle.
But Haney could be the best lightweight in the world. Gamboa, after all, is not a guy to easily look great against. Tank Davis was thoroughly unhappy with his own performance against the Cuban, Davis also being extended, getting the stoppage win over an injured Gamboa in the 12th and final round last year. Even Terence Crawford, who was way too big for Gamboa, had to eat some leather, take a wobble and dig in to get the ninth-round stoppage over Gamboa, this back in 2014.
So taking it all into account, Haney did pretty well last night. But of course, when a young fighter is stating how he aims to become boxing’s first billion-dollar fighter, he is going to get criticised if he doesn’t deliver a devastating, destructive win.
So who next for “The Dream?” The WBC may or may not order Haney to defend his WBC lightweight title against the winner of the upcoming Ryan Garcia-Luke Campbell fight. This would be a great fight, whoever wins on December 5. But Haney has one man in mind as far as who he is aching to fight: Teofimo Lopez – the man who constantly refers to Haney as “The Email Champion.”
Haney wants all the belts, it’s that simple. Can he get them? Is he good enough? The jury is still out. But at age 21 (22 next month), Haney has plenty of time in which to develop into a truly great fighter. What say you? Can he do it?