Devin Haney retained his WBC world Lightweight title in a thrilling fight with Jorge Linares at the Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas, NV, live on DAZN.
Haney (26-0 15 KOs) sparkled from the start with his trademark skills, speed and elusiveness seeing the champion start strongly over former three-weight World champion, with bodywork smartly invested and uppercuts accurate and flashy.
Haney had to show he has a chin to accompany the ability, with Linares (47-6 29 KOs) always dangerous and in the fight, showing flashes of lethal intent that Haney absorbed and evade – until a dramatic ending in the tenth.
Linares delivered a three-punch combination that wobbled Haney right on the bell of the tenth round, that saw a staggering Haney unsteady on his way back to his corner. Haney stayed away from the Venezuelan in the final two sessions as the 35 year old went in for the kill, and the judges gave the champion the nod on the cards 116-112, 116-112 and 115-113.
“The fans want to see that,” said Haney. “They want to see if I can go in there and walk my opponent down. Hit him with big shots. I showed I can do it all, I can box, I can bang, I can take a shot and face adversity and get the job done.
“It was a good shot, but I wasn’t hurt, sometimes when you get hit by a good shot, you have to be smart, continue the game plan, and I did that and got the win.
“I knew he was going to come here and give it everything, it was a huge opportunity for him, he would be willing to get knocked out to go for the win, take my biggest shots to get this title.
“I just kept smart, used the jabs, feinted and landed shots in the 12th round. You are going to get hit with big shots in boxing. I didn’t get dropped; I didn’t get hurt. You see fighters get dropped and get up from big shots and people praise them, I didn’t get dropped, I stayed on my feet, kept throwing shots and closed it out.
“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. If Teofimo Lopez wants to do it next, let’s do it for all the belts, the real undisputed.”
Chantelle Cameron (14-0 7 KOs) dazzled on her Las Vegas debut by destroying Melissa Hernandez in the first defense of her WBC World Super-Lightweight title. Cameron said she wanted to shine in Sin City and the Briton did just that, coming out of the blocks with equal parts speed and spite, and her aggressive approach was first rewarded in the fourth round, when a barrage of punches nearly put Hernandez through the ropes, and then the referee stepped in to halt the contest in the fifth with the challenger under more fire.
Azinga Fuzile (15-1 9 KOs) will be fighting for a World title in his next outing after turning in a fine performance to stop Martin J. Ward in seven rounds. A slow-burning opening caught fire in the fourth round when Fuzile put Ward down in fourth from check right-hook. Ward was then cut from a headclash in the seventh round, appeared to be injured to the left knee, and then a huge right hand floored the Briton and he was pulled out by the corner.
Jason Quigley (18-1 14 KOs) and Shane Mosley Jr (17-3 10 KOs) served up ten toe-to-toe rounds for the WBO-NABO Middleweight title, and it was Quigley that edged a keenly fought battle via majority decision, 95-95, 97-93, 96-94.
Khalil Coe (1-0 1 KO) showed he’s going to be a handful for his opponents and a big hit with the fans as he kicked off life in the paid ranks with a second round KO, following two knockdowns from bodyshots in his first pro round with another brutal left hand to the midsection to end matters in the second.
Reshat Mati (10-0 7 KOs) got some valuable rounds against game late-replacement Ryan Pino before the main card commenced, with their fan-friendly six round action going the distance and the New Yorker getting the verdict on the cards, 60-54, 58-56 and 58-56.