Devin Haney (25-0, 15 KOs) did his best but he had to settle for a 12 round unanimous decision on Saturday night in defending his WBC 135-pound title against Yuriorkis Gamboa (30-4, 18 KOs). The fight took place at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
The judges had it 118-109, 120-107, and 120-107. Boxing 247 gave it to Haney by a score of 120-107. Gamboa lost a point for holding in the 11th.
Gamboa, 38, didn’t fight well enough to be given any of the rounds in the fight because he wasn’t throwing enough punches.
It’s unclear whether Gamboa wasn’t letting his hands go because he was afraid of being countered or if he didn’t have the gas tank to do so. It might have been a mix of both. He looked scared and concerned with his poor conditioning.
It was the type of fight where the fans at home had to be patient because it wasn’t an action-packed affair like they had hoped. Up until the end, Haney, 21, boxed and fought a smart fight.
Haney tried to his land his shots, but his punches lacked the power to hurt Gamboa. In the twelfth, Haney stunned Gamboa with a right hand, but he was smart to hold after that.
“Three’s a lot of big fights in the lightweight division,” Haney said when asked about his next fight. “Teofimo is the one with the rest of the belts. So that’s the main fight I want to make happen,” said Haney.
It’s possible that IBF/WBA/WBC/WBO lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) may look in Haney’s direction t give him a fight, but not likely.
Teofimo wants to fight Gervonta Davis or Ryan Garcia. There’s also a possibility that Teofimo could fight a rematch against Vasily Lomachenko, who he beat last October.
Haney didn’t help himself with his performance tonight against Gamboa. He needed a good effort to show the boxing fans that he’s worthy of a fight with Teofimo.
Gamboa made it a point to tie Haney up each time he would get near him. Normally, Gamboa fights well in close, but he didn’t have the gas tank to do that tonight.
Gamboa looked like he hadn’t trained enough to get in top condition. His physique looked soft, and he appeared to be chunky and overweight.
You can’t blame Gamboa for not being in the best shape, as he tore his Achilles in his last fight against Gervonta Davis, and he needed surgery to repair the problem.
To come back from Achilles surgery can take many months, and that might be the reason why Gamboa wasn’t in great shape and his mobility wasn’t there.
Haney took a gamble in choosing to fight Gamboa rather than one of the prime lightweights. That gamble backfired on Haney, as he didn’t look good and he failed to impress the way he wanted to.
“There’s a lot of big fights out there. I showed that I’m here and I’m not going anywhere,” said Haney. “I want the big fights.
“I want to make the big fights. Fighting someone like Gamboa was a stepping stone, but I’m here for the big fights. I want to make the biggest fights happen to bring the best out of me,” said Haney.