As fans know, Devin Haney overcame his toughest test yet on Saturday night, as he shook off some hurt late on in his 12 round win over Jorge Linares. Haney got generally good reviews for his big decision win, although some critics again pointed to Haney’s lack of punching power. We do know now that “The Dream” can take a good shot. And already, everyone is asking what is next for the WBC lightweight champ.
Eddie Hearn has said he very much wants to make a Haney-Teofimo Lopez fight (subject to Lopez, holder of all the other belts at 135, coming through okay against George Kambosos Jr who he will fight next month). This is a fight that makes so much sense in so many ways. Lopez Vs. Haney would/will be a unification fight, it would/will be two unbeaten, young and close to their prime fighters going at it, and it would/will be a great clash of styles and personalities.
Lopez is adamant Haney is a “fake champion,” or an “E-Mail champion.” While Haney says Lopez has to fight him in order to be the true undisputed lightweight champion of the world. It really is a great fight, one that will hopefully be made. Lopez is a huge talent, while Haney is a brilliantly gifted boxer. Who doesn’t want to see this fight?
Haney, 26-0(15) and still only 22, has less power than Lopez, yes, but is he a better boxer? Lopez, still only 23 himself (both guys could have years and years ahead of them in the sport) is currently the top dog at 135, this distinction earned due to his upset win over Vasiliy Lomachenko. Haney believes he can knock Lopez off the top spot.
Assuming Lopez, 16-0(12) does beat the undefeated Kambosos, 19-0(10), the fight with Haney will be the one to make. Let’s hope the powers that be can get it done. Both fighters want it, and that’s more than half the battle these days. Who wins? While a great case can be made for either guy winning, I feel Haney will pull off a close decision win that leaves us all wanting more. Who knows, Lopez-Haney could turn out to be the next big lower weight rivalry.