Devin Haney (26-0, 15 KOs) survived a late-round scare to retain his WBC lightweight title with a 12 round unanimous decision win over former three-division world champion Jorge Linares (47-6, 29 KOs) on Saturday night at the Michelob Ultra in Las Vegas, Nevada.
After dominating the first nine rounds, Haney was hurt from a right hand from the 35-year-old Linares in round 10. In the 11th and 12th, Haney was hurt again by Linares, and he was forced to hold to survive to the final bell while the crowd booed him.
The scores were 116-112, 116-112, 115-113. Boxing 247 scored it 116-112 for Haney.
This was easily the most exciting fight of Haney’s career, as he broke from his normal cautious boxing style to take the fight to Linares, and beat him at his own game.
Things were going well for Haney until he was hurt in the 10th round. From that point on, Haney’s legs looked weak each time he got hit.
Interestingly, afterward, Haney denied that he was ever hurt in the fight, and told the crowd that he’d won “easy,” which didn’t seem to be the case.
This was not an easy fight for Haney, and he was definitely hurt repeatedly from rounds 10 through 12.
After the fight, Haney said he would be interested in facing IBF/WBA/WBC Franchise/WBO lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez next.
Haney vs. Linares undercard results
WBC female super lightweight champion Chantelle Cameron (14-0, 8 KOs) held onto her title and unbeaten record with a fifth-round stoppage victory over 41-year-old Melissa Hernandez (23-8-3, 7 KOs).
Referee Celestino Ruiz stopped the contest in the fifth because Hernandez was taking one-sided punishment. The fight was halted at 1:08 of round five.
Middleweight fringe contender Jason Quigley (19-1, 14 KOs) stayed in the hunt for a title shot with a close 10 round majority decision win over Shane Mosley Jr (17-4, 10 KOs). The scores were 95-95, 97-93, 96-94.
Azinga Fuzile (15-1, 9 KOs) TKO 7 Martin J. Ward (24-2-2, 11 KOs). Ward suffered a knee injury in the seventh round and couldn’t continue. Earlier in the fight, Ward was dropped by Fuzile. The time of the stopped was at 2:45. The way that the fight was going, Ward was on his way to losing.
Reshat Mati (10-0, 7 KOs) beat Ryan Pino (8-7-2, 4 KO) by a six-round unanimous decision in welterweight action on the card. The scores were 60-54, 58-56, 58-56.
Ramla Ali moved to 3-0, 0 KOs beat Mikayla Nebel (4-9, 1 KO) by a six-round unanimous decision in female featherweight action. The scores were 60-54, 60-54, 60-54.
Undefeated junior middleweight Amari Jones (2-0, 2 KOs) stopped Jonathan Ryan Burrs (3-3, 0 KOs) in the first.
Light heavyweight Khalil Coe (1-0, 1 KOs) looked sensational in knocking down Nathaniel Todd (2-5, 1 KOs) three downs en route t stopping him in round two. The fight was halted at 1:10 of round two.
Haney needs a big win to show the boxing world that he’s not a product of hype, and that’s ready for Teofimo Lopez next.
There are some boxing fans that view Haney as an “email champion” or “paper champion” due to the World Boxing Council elevating him to their WBC 135-lb champ outside of the ring.
If Haney can beat Linares tonight in a commanding fashion, he’d show his doubters that he’s the real thing.
Boxing 247 will be giving live updates of the action on the Haney vs. Linares card below.
Devin needs to shine tonight
“It’s a really good fight,” said Eddie Hearn to Fighthub on the Haney vs. Linares fight tonight. “Everyone is on the hype train, and there’s a reason for that.
“I think he’s [Haney] the best lightweight in the world. But when you start to be analytical and look at his resume, he’s not fought anyone at the level of Jorge Linares.
“In his prime where he is at right now, he’s not boxed at that level before. Linares looks in the shape of his life, he’s weighed in, and he’s ripped to shreds.
“His face is nice and healthy. They’re going for it. They believe they can beat Devin Haney. If Haney is as good as we think he is, I think he’ll look spectacular.
“But a lot of people say Haney needs to make a statement, but I’m just happy with a win. I think it’s a brilliant, brilliant fight and the perfect fight for Devin Haney in his career.
“The problem is, Gamboa went into his shell,” said Hearn about Haney being dull against Gamboa. “Did he really come to win the fight?
“I don’t think so. When you’re a great fighter like Devin Haney, you need a fighter that comes to win the fight.
“That’s why I think this is a great chance for him. Jorge Linares, he’s not coming to survive. He’s coming to beat Devin Haney.
“He’s going to be explosive, Linares, he’s going to trade, he’s got fast hands, great feet, so now you’re going to see all the attributes of Devin Haney.
“I agree; I think the Gamboa performance was a little bit flat, but after two or three rounds, Gamboa went very, very defensive.
“He didn’t try and engage, he was scrappy, and it’s learning for Devin.
But when you got the hype behind you, people don’t care about learning.
“People want to see it now,” said Hearn in trying to make sense out of Haney’s boring performance against Gamboa.
It’s perfectly set up for Haney to look good tonight with him matched against the 35-year-old Linares.
If Haney looks poor again like he did in his recent contests against Alfredo Santiago and Yuriorkis Gamboa, you can only draw one conclusion.
He’s not as good as the hype. In that case, it would be smart for Hearn to come up with an excuse to tell the boxing public about why he can put a fight together with Teofimo Lopez.
If you Teofimo in with Gamboa and Santiago, he’d likely wipe both of them out.
Haney’s big moment tonight
“This is the moment on Saturday on DAZN to show that he is the best lightweight in the world. I would love to make the Teofimo Lopez fight.
“I don’t know what his contractual positions are, and obviously all the issues the last time around with Top Rank, but I would love to make an offer on that fight on Monday.
“That’s a fight that DAZN would love, and it’s a fantastic fight for the division. We still like the Ryan Garcia fight. We wish him the best and hope he gets back to the ring soon.
“[Vasily] Lomachenko is another option for Devin Haney. He chased him originally. Honestly, Devin and Bill, they will not turn down fights.
“All of those names that I mentioned previously, they would have taken them three fights ago. But Saturday is going to be the perfect yardstick to see exactly where he’s at.
“I think they’re going to run out of options,” Hearn said about it being potentially difficult to set up fights between Haney and Lomachenko and Teofimo, both of which fight on ESPN for Top Rank.
“If you look at Lomachenko, he’s fighting soon [on June 26th against Masayoshi Nakatani]. What are you going to do with him after that?” Hearn said.
Haney needs to put his foot on the accelerator and go after Linares to try and knock him out. It’s no good for Haney to play it safe against Linares as he did in his fights with Gamboa and Alfredo Santiago.
Haney has got to look spectacular, and the best way for him to do that is to gun for a knockout of Linares. Even if Haney fails to stop him, it’ll make for an exciting match for boxing fans to watch.
Hearn wants Haney vs. Teofimo next
“He needs to be in a big fight,” said Hearn about Devin Haney. “If Teofimo becomes a free agent or whatever might happen, he’s available.
“He’s there. With Devin, if you look at the career of Canelo Alvarez now, who I’m guiding and helping with the team, it’s the same with Devin.
“After this fight, we must make an opportunity. Listen, if it comes on PBC or on ESPN, he’s got to be ready to take those fights.
“Teofimo Lopez, potentially a free agent. Lomachenko, ESPN, Tank, PBC, and Devin, DAZN. But, of course, we want Devin Haney’s fights on DAZN.
“We’ll do everything we can to make that happen, but we’re not going to restrict his opportunities.
“If there’s a game-changing opportunity to make this kid a global star and take a fight on another platform, no problem. We have to be willing to look at that as well.
“Look at Terence Crawford. If I’m ESPN or Top Rank, I know we invested money, but this kid, I think, is the best welterweight in the world.
“Let him go fight on FOX, let him go beat someone to make him a star to bring him back on ESPN,” said Hearn.
If Haney wins tonight, the natural fight for Hearn to make will be against IBF/WBA/WBC Franchise/WBO lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez (16-0 12 KOs), as long as he wins his June 19th fight against George Kambosos Jr.
WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney (25-0, 15 KOs) will be on the big stage tonight defending his title against former three-division world champion Jorge Linares (47-5, 29 KOs) on DAZN at the Michelob Ultra in Las Vegas, Nevada. The card begins at 10 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT.