Paulie Malignaggi isn’t buying Devin Haney’s excuse for why he’s potentially facing WBC light welterweight Regis Prograis next because he rates him as better than WBO champ Teofimo Lopez.
Malignaggi notes that throughout Haney’s career trajectory, he’s taken the easier fights against older fighters, 38-year-old Yuriorkis Gamboa & 36-year-old Jorge Linares, rather than the available top contenders that were hovering around the lightweight division at the time.
Paulie doen’t blame Haney (30-0, 15 KOs) for taking the easy mark in 34-year-old Prograis because Devin can use his WBC 140-lb title as leverage to get a better deal against future opponents, but he doesn’t want to hear him being disingenuous about what his true intentions are.
In other words, Haney is continuing to cherry-pick like he’d done at 135, swerving the likes of Shakur Stevenson to take easier fights.
Haney targeting aging Prograis
“I’d like to see Haney & Teofimo. I don’t know if Haney wants to see Haney & Teofimo, but I’d like to see Haney & Teofimo, sure. I don’t know if we’re going to get that,” said Paulie Malignaggi to Fight Hub TV.
“We got possibly Haney & Prograis. Prograis is a world champion. If Haney can win that [WBC light welterweight] title, you can get the aging [34-year-old] world champion. He’s still a good fighter. Prograis is still a top-level fighter.
“If you’re able to get that win, you’re getting a world title at 140, and then you can kind of maneuver at 140 with a little more leverage because you have an undisputed lightweight title, and you’re a champion at 140. Let’s see if he beats Prograis. That’s going to be a good fight.
“I think Haney is very good at manipulating the media with certain quotes for certain things. I think that’s a skill and a talent. I don’t think he even believes that if I’m being honest. If that was the case, he would fight Teofimo Lopez. He wouldn’t fight Regis Prograis,” said Malignaggi when told that Haney said that Prograis is a better fighter than Teofimo Lopez.
“If you look at the trajectory went in the lightweight division, there were guys hovering around that were dangerous on their [Haney] way up like Richard Commey, for example. Instead, they [Haney] fought 100-year-old Yuriorkis Gamboa and 100-year-old Jorge Linares instead.”
Of course, Haney wouldn’t take the dangerous fights against Shakur, Frank Martin, and Gervonta Davis because he had his hands full just trying to beat 36-year-old Linares and 35-year-old Vasily Lomachenko.
“I don’t think they [Team Haney] believe that [Prograis being better than Teofimo] because if they did believe that, their trajectory, the way they’ve moved their career, they would actually fight the easier opponent with the big name instead of fighting the tougher opponent with a big name,” said Malignaggi.
“So for that reason, the reason they’re fighting Regis is because they feel he’s aging, and that’s normal. I don’t even have a fault with that. That’s how you go about your business. You first grab a world title, and then you take the risks later on.”
This could backfire on Haney if Prograis has enough left in his game to defeat the calculated opportunist. Like an old landmine, Prograis is still dangerous for Haney if he can land his shots.
Prograis vs. Haney is still slowly being negotiated, but if it gets done, it’ll happen in November in Las Vegas.
“So, Haney has just arrived on the scene at 140. You try to grab a world title, and you try to grab that in the best way possible for yourself. I don’t think Regis is a gimme, but I think Regis is an easier fight to fight at this moment in time than Teofimo Lopez, who is hungry, very unorthodox and skilled, and very strong,” said Malignaggi about Haney.