Jorge Linares admitted afterward last Saturday night that he wasn’t impressed with Devin Haney’s punching power in his 12 round unanimous decision loss to him on DAZN at the Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The 35-year-old Linares had his chance to win the fight after hurting Haney in the 10th round with a booming right hand to the head.
However, in the 11th and 12th, Linares allowed Haney to hold without fighting through the clinches the way that well-trained professionals are supposed to do.
Although Linares has a lot of experience in boxing, he clearly didn’t learn enough in his career to know how to deal with a fighter that is holding nonstop to try and survive the way Haney was doing from the 10th round on.
Linares (47-6, 29 KOs) says WBC lightweight champion Haney (26-0, 15 KOs) has no power, but he has excellent jab and speed.
Those are two areas that Linares was impressed with by Haney, but overall, he felt that he could have won the fight if he’s pressed the action in the first six rounds instead of just covering up.
Linares’ decision to focus more on defense in the first nine rounds of the fight allowed Haney to build up a big enough lead for him to coast t victory despite being hurt repeatedly from the 10th round.
The judges scored the fight for Haney by the scores:
Linares upset at Haney’s holding
“I know very well that I lose the first round of the fight,’ said Linares to Fighthub. “I lose because of inactivity.
“I was so tired because I was only thinking to block, block, block, and then when I get a chance, I give him a punch with combinations, everything like that,” said Linares.
“I have more punch than him, but the referee was a little intense. Then after the sixth round, I got the chance to hit him with a lot of punches.
“In the ninth round, I had a lot of chances. When he came back to the ring, he was so bad. Then he came back to only clinch me, clinch, clinch and clinch.
“The referee was so intense. I was thinking he was going to take one point. Boxing is like that. I was good. I am very happy with my performance, but inactivity is very hard, and it affected me a lot.
“I thought the referee was going to take points from me, but boxing is like that. I tell Golden Boy, give me the opportunity for a rematch, and he [Haney] doesn’t want to do that. 100 percent he doesn’t want.
Linares should have expected Haney to hold after he hurt him in the 10th round. Each hard punch that Linares hit Haney with from the 10th round wobbled his legs, causing him to grab and hold.
If Linare had the right training, he would have continued punching with short clubbing shots to the head of Haney while being held.
Instead, Linares passively let Haney hold, and he waited until the referee broke them apart each time. It was real amateurish stuff from Linares, who looked like he had no clue that fighters are allowed to keep throwing punches while being held.
From the earliest moments of the fight, Haney was the only one throwing punches when the two were in a clinch. Linares was letting Haney hit him when they were locked up, and it was odd that he wasn’t throwing punches back.
Again, real amateur stuff from Linares, which is why he lost the fight. Linares’ corner should have ordered him to throw punches when he was being held because he gave Haney the fight by going limp each time he wanted to hold him.
Haney can’t punch, says Linares
“He was fast, but I didn’t feel his punch,” said Linares when asked how it felt being in there with Haney. ‘He only has good speed, but only that.
“His style was a little difficult because he’s always going back, back, back, and then clinch.
“I feel good. I told Roberto and my team that I can come back more strong. Why not?
“The inactivity was a little more bad for me this time, but I feel fine, I feel good,” Linares said bout his performance against Haney.
What Linares said is true about Haney not being able to punch with massive power, but his jab is top-notch, and his defensive skills and hand speed were excellent.
If Haney had fought his normal Mayweather-esque fight by staying outside, jabbing, and moving, he would have pitched a shutout and never been hurt. But if Haney had done that, many boxing fans would have bored because it would have been too technical.
The way Haney did it, he fought Linares’ fight and brought some drama and excitement. That’s a positive for him. At the same time, Haney showed vulnerability, which will likely make it easier for him to get the reluctant lightweights Teofimo Lopez, Ryan Garcia, and Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis to fight him finally.
All around, it was a smart move for Haney to fight the way he did because it made it exciting for the fans, and it will likely help him get Teofimo, Ryan, or Tank to fight him.
Devin wants Teofimo Lopez next
“I want to fight the best. I stayed focused on Jorge this week, I knew he was a tough competitor, and I got the job done with the game plan,” Haney said.
“If Teofimo Lopez wants to do it next, let’s do it for all the belts, the real undisputed.”
Teofimo (16-0, 12 KOs) has a fight on June 19th against his IBF mandatory George Kambosos Jr on Triller PPV. That’s supposed to be a slamdunk victory for Teofimo, so we’ll see if that’s the case.
But if Teofimo wins, negotiations will likely start between him and Haney right away to put together a match for the undisputed lightweight championship. The only thing that could get in the way of a Teofimo-Haney fight from getting made is Teofimo’s promoters at Top Rank.
As long as Top Rank promoter Bob Arum doesn’t block the Haney vs. Teofimo fight, we should see it happening next.