A fascinating lightweight title fight takes place this Saturday, as ultra-experienced former champion Jorge Linares faces the naturally gifted Devin Haney. A classic case of age and experience going up against youth and ambition, plenty of fans see this one as a 50-50 fight. But 35-year-old Linares, who has faced just about every fighting style you could care to mention, sees the fight as “teacher vs student,” with him of course being the boxer who dishes out the lessons in Las Vegas.
22-year-old Haney agrees that this is his toughest, most important fight to date, but he naturally feels he will have too much for “teacher” Linares. When attempting to analyse this fight, it’s quite easy to come up with a number of possible scenarios: Linares by decision, Haney by decision, Haney by early KO, Haney by late KO. Haney, 25-0(15) is unbeaten and we have no firm idea yet how good he really is. We may find out on Saturday.
Linares, 47-5(29) has been stopped before – five times in fact, with each of his defeats coming inside the distance. Might Haney, with his speed and accuracy, catch Linares and take him out? Last time out, against another veteran in Yuriorkis Gamboa, Haney had to make do with a wide decision. Might Haney be determined to get the stoppage this time, and might he be a little too anxious even?
Linares has won his last two but he has not boxed for some time (he says he has been in the gym and sees no issues whatsoever with the possibility of ring-rust). Again, could Haney catch Linares, who has been stopped in the opening round a couple of times, early doors? Maybe.
Instead, and by way of a prediction, I see a great tactical battle taking place, a classic chess match with bursts of explosiveness and excitement. It will be one for the purists on Saturday. Who wins? I go for Haney to win by reasonably wide scores in a fight that indeed teaches him a whole lot as he retains his WBC title. But would/will Haney be content with his third decision win in a row?