Last time out, rising lightweight star Devin Haney had to make do with a wide decision win over a still tricky Yuriorkis Gamboa. Haney won almost every round, yet both the fighter himself and the various critics went down pretty heavy on the fact that “The Dream” failed to get the KO win he had predicted.
In boxing, one dull performance can all but ruin the momentum a young fighter has worked had to build up. It’s not fair but this is just the way it can be. Haney may well need a sizzling KO pretty soon if he’s not to get unfairly stuck with that oft-used tag, “boring fighter.” Never mind Haney is anything but dull or boring, his skills a purist’s delight. Still, for many fans, perhaps far too many, there is nothing like the knockout.
So can Haney, 25-0(15) get an impressive KO in his upcoming May 29 fight with the hugely experienced Jorge Linares? Linares, a three-weight champ who has been in with so many good fighters and big names, has even more pro experience than Gamboa. It’s another big and important step in the career of Haney, that’s for sure.
Linares, now aged 35 and perhaps a good way past his absolute best, has lost five times during his long career, and all five losses came via KO or stoppage. And Linares has been caught early a couple of times, being taken out, quite shockingly, in the very first round.
With this in mind, will anything less than a KO win be enough for Haney on May 29? Haney, who has said he aims to become the first-ever billionaire boxer, has acknowledged that he has to put on the great performances in the great fights to achieve this lofty goal. A win over Linares, 47-5(29), would of course look good on Haney’s CV, but a KO or stoppage win would shine a fair bit brighter.
Make no mistake, if Haney – who is the pick to win here – has to make do with another decision win, the critics will be all over him. Haney needs to dazzle in this fight, arguably his biggest yet. Linares has a completely different mindset of course, the former champ believing he will not in any way, shape or form be Haney’s stepping stone to bigger fights. Linares, who has won his last two, this since being stunned in a round by Pablo Cano, believes he will be too much for the man 13 years his junior.
It would be a pretty big upset if Linares managed to derail Haney. But would it be an upset if Haney managed to get the win but did not do so by way of a KO?
If he does have to fight all 12 rounds on May 29, Haney himself will probably be the most upset person in the room. So what do you think – does Haney take Linares out in May? Or does he take a heap-load of additional criticism? Or maybe you are picking Linares to pull off the win in Las Vegas?