WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney will be back in the ring two months from now to face Jorge Linares on May 15th in the main event live on DAZN.
The two have verbally agreed to the fight. Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn says it’ll be an easy one to put together. Although Team Haney preferred a fight with Vasily Lomachenko over Linares, that match-up wasn’t available.
Matchroom boss Hearn gave Golden Boy Promotions an offer this week for the Haney vs. Linares fight, and they’ve agreed to it.
Despite suffering knockouts in 2 of his last 5 contests, the 35-year-old Linares (47-5, 29 KOs) isn’t a bad option for Haney (25-0, 15 KOs).
The former three-division world champion Linares is a known commodity to the U.S and UK boxing fans, and he still arguably has better hand speed and power than Haney.
But obviously, with Linares’ age and his chin issues, you have to lean heavily in the direction of Haney to win this fight.
Haney’s lack of punching power gives Linares a fair chance of winning the bout because this fight may go the 12 round distance.
Haney couldn’t knockout his last challenger, 38-year-old former WBA featherweight champion Yuriorkis Gamboa last November, and he was forced to go 12 rounds to beat him by a decision.
The Cuban Gamboa came into the fight with Devin with a history of chin problems, but he never hurt at any point in the fight.
Linares has won world titles in three divisions, which is a respectable accomplishment. He won his world titles against these fighters:
- Oscar Larios – WBC 126
- Whyber Garcia – WBA 130
- Nihito Arakawa – WBC 135
- Francisco Javier Prieto – WBC 135
- Anthony Crolla – WBA 135
Lately, in the last three years, Linares hasn’t been having problems with knockout losses to Vasily Lomachenko and Pablo Cesar Cano. The first-round stoppage defeat that Linares suffered against Cano came at 140 in 2019.
It was a case of overreach for Linares, moving up to a weight class that he wasn’t equipped to compete at in terms of his chin and power.
Linares has since moved back down to 135, and he’s won his last two fights beating Al Toyogon and Carlos Morales. This is the same Morales that Ryan Garcia had fits against in 2018, beating him by a controversial 10 round majority decision.
Haney, 22, wanted to defend his WBC title against mandatory Ryan Garcia, but ‘Kingry’ chose not to challenge him after picking up the interim WBC 135-lb title on January 2nd with a seventh-round stoppage win against Luke Campbell.
Besides Ryan and Lomachenko, Haney also wanted to fight undisputed 135lb champion Teofimo Lopez, but he’s defending against George Kambosos Jr next.
Haney wants to become a star quickly, but he’ll need to work his way to the top fight by fight slowly. Linares will be a good test for Haney to show what he can do against a highly-skilled fighter that fans are familiar with.