LAS VEGAS — There’s by no means a query about whether or not Devin Haney had the bodily instruments to be the very best fighter on the planet. Just about each lively fighter on the planet would give absolutely anything to have his skillset.
Haney holds a model of the WBC light-weight belt — so, too, does Teofimo Lopez, however that’s boxing and it’s sophisticated — and can defend it on Saturday (8 p.m. ET, DAZN) at Mandalay Bay towards veteran Jorge Linares.
Although Haney is a whopping -1200 favourite at BetMGM, the combat with Linares represents a crucial step in Haney’s growth. Linares is a former world champion who’s by far essentially the most aggressive opponent Haney has confronted in his profession.
Now, identical to Yuriorkis Gamboa, whom Haney defeated final day out, Linares is lengthy within the tooth. He was stopped by Vasiliy Lomachenko in 2018 after which once more eight months later when he was dropped 3 times within the first spherical by Pablo Cesar Cano.
He’s not precisely the hardest problem that Haney might have confronted, however plans to make a combat with Ryan Garcia fell via. Garcia stated he had psychological well being points and is taking a break from boxing, in order that left Haney and promoter Eddie Hearn looking out.
“We’ve been actually looking out exhausting for the suitable man,” Hearn advised Yahoo Sports activities. “I consider Devin Haney is the very best light-weight on the planet. Numerous the opposite lightweights have been stepping up, and Devin’s been making an attempt to step up however nobody desires to combat him. Don’t neglect, he chased Vasiliy Lomachenko. After they made [Lomachenko] franchise champion they usually made Devin world champion after he received the ultimate eliminator, he didn’t ask for that.
“He needed Vasiliy Lomachenko. Then he needed Teofimo Lopez. Then he needed Ryan Garcia. So I used to be underneath huge stress to ship a strong combat.”
Lopez, in fact, denied that. He stated he needed Haney however by no means obtained a suggestion.
“One factor I’d wish to clear up, the opposite guys in my division had 4 months to ship me a contract and never one did,” Lopez stated.
So regardless of the way it labored out, Haney’s most suitable choice is a 35-year-old whose greatest days are clearly behind him. It doesn’t imply Linares is a walkover or that he can’t win.
It’s simply that the percentages, and the oddsmakers, recommend this ought to be one other overwhelming Haney victory. Although he’s solely 22, he’s already realized to not take heed to the critics or voices outdoors of his circle. He insists the lengthy odds in his favor haven’t turned him complacent within the least.
“I don’t actually take note of the bookies like that as a result of generally they’re incorrect,” Haney stated of the percentages favoring him. “Numerous the occasions, they’re proper, although. However on the finish of the day, he’s my greatest check on paper. He’s been in there with the very best of them. He’s crushed the very best of them. I used to be 4 years previous when he turned professional, I feel. He has a variety of expertise.
“One factor he’s banking on, although, is that have. He retains saying he has expertise, he has expertise, he has expertise. If expertise performed such a job, there can be no new champions in boxing. Boxing would by no means have developed.”
Haney’s bodily instruments — hand and foot velocity, quickness, power — are far past Linares. However Linares has the one factor that may usually neutralize a speedier, faster opponent and that’s an ideal jab and punching accuracy.
However Haney doesn’t purchase the notion that Linares’ jab is best than his. Fairly than Linares slowing him down with the jab, he believes he’ll neutralize Linares starting along with his personal jab.
“I really feel I’ve top-of-the-line jabs in boxing,” Haney stated. “Linares has velocity, in fact, however I really feel like I’m sooner. However we’ve simply acquired to see. You simply by no means know till you get in there.”
That’s the expertise of Haney speaking. He’s younger and he’s solely acquired 25 professional fights, however he’s realized sufficient in his brief profession to know to not take something as a right.
There have been many fast-handed prodigies who’ve come round; few of them was the all-around famous person their abilities steered they may.
Haney is set to be considered one of them who does. And provides him credit score: He’s doing it the suitable approach.
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