Devin Haney will be moving up to challenge Regis Prograis for his WBC light welterweight title on October 28th, and Devin has asked the World Boxing Council to allow him to keep his 135-lb belt while he attempts to become a two-division world champion. If Haney loses to Prograis (29-1, 24 KOs), he’ll still have his undisputed lightweight championship to return to.
Haney has petitioned the WBC to ask them to allow him to keep his 135-lb belt while he faces Prograis at 140. However, Haney’s mandatory defense is now due against Shakur Stevenson.
So if the WBC allows Haney to get his way, they would be stalling the career of Shakur in favor of Devin, who is clearly moving up to 140 in hopes of capturing a valuable bargaining chip that he can use to get a better deal in a unification fight against WBO light welterweight champion Teofimo Lopez.
There is a precedent of the WBC having allowed one of their champions to freeze their belt to move up in weight to fight for a world title.
They gave Canelo Alvarez permission to freeze his WBC super middleweight title so that he could go up to 175 to challenge WBA champion Dmitry Bivol last year.
It seems pretty clear that Haney has no intention of defending his WBC 135-lb title against Shakur Stevenson if or when he does come back down to lightweight. If Haney does come back, it’ll be to fight someone like Gervonta Davis, Vasily Lomachenko, or Isaac Cruz.
“I’m a free agent, and everything is aligned for me to become a two-division champion against arguably the #1 guy [Regis Prograis] at 140 for me to showcase my skills at a much stronger weight,” said Devin Haney to Fighthype when asked why is he going up to light welterweight.
“Weight won’t be my focus in camp. I’ll be able to be comfortable and go into the fight 100%,” Haney continued. “God willing, that I’ll be able to hold onto my 135 belts while I’m at 140 and come back and defend my undisputed belts.
“I’m just that kind of guy, that kind of fighter. I want to fight the best,” said Haney on why he chose Prograis to fight at 140. I want to fight the best fighters and prove myself time & time again.
“I fought a future Hall of Famer [Vasily Lomachenko] in my last fight, and now I’m going up to fight another champion. Champion vs. champion. It’ll be a good fight for boxing, and I’ll showcase my arsenal,” said Haney.