Winners and Losers from Haney vs. Moran: Report Card and Recap — Ryan Garcia, Pedraza, Joyce, Rivas, More!
By Paul R. Jones! OXON HILL, MARYLAND – DAZN’s recent Haney vs. Moran fight card at the MGM National Harbor had it all: knockdowns, questionable scorecards, and, of course, knockouts. Here’s my full report card and recap of the main card from last Saturday’s slate of fights:
HANEY vs. MORAN
Winner: Devin Haney
FINAL GRADE: A
Many boxing fans questioned whether 20-year-old Devin ‘The Dream’ Haney (22-0, 14 KOs) was the real McCoy or merely the product of excess hype as the latest Floyd Mayweather Jr. clone. Well, anyone choosing to believe that latter narrative, after watching Haney lay waste to Antonio Moran (24-4, 17 KOs), is a slow learner.
Haney controlled nearly every minute of every round versus Moran, the same fighter who gave fits to former world lightweight titlist José Pedraza (25-2, 12 KOs). With his speed, movement, and punch placement, Haney neutralized Moran’s physical advantages, while making the Mexican fighter look ordinary in the process.
And though most will fixate on Haney’s highlight-reel KTFO of Moran (which is already eating up bandwidth on social media), doing so misses the subtlety of Haney’s body attack.
Regarding the former, Haney’s showed the ability to systematically break down an opponent to the body.
And, this wasn’t serendipity.
It was strategic, built on best practices learned from former World Champ Mike ‘The Bodysnatcher’ McCallum.
“That’s Mike McCallum,” said Haney’s father and trainer, Bill Haney Sr. during the post-fight presser when asked about Devin Haney’s body attack versus Moran. “We’re of the mindset that to get the knockout, or to slow your opponent down, you go to the body.”
Haney Sr. explained: “We had noticed that [Moran] was tall, . . . and we know he would have some kind of difficulty making 135 [pounds]. So we felt that the midsection would be one of [Moran’s] vulnerabilities.”
And it was Haney’s ability to punish Moran’s midsection that helped soften up the rangy Mexican fighter for an eventual knockout.
Also noteworthy, was the set-up sequence for Haney’s knockout: an initial left jab to the head—right hand to the body combination (that Moran took well), which gave Moran a false sense of security. So much so, that Moran smiled after being hit with the blistering combo.
However, Haney quickly erased Moran’s smile with a follow-up touch left to the body—overhand right to the chin combo that separated Moran from his senses and folded him like an air puppet at a car dealership.
Haney’s KTFO is obviously a serious Knockout of the Year candidate.
Taken together, Haney proved that he’s a legit force to be reckoned with in the lightweight division.
An intriguing next step for Haney: A bout versus undefeated Golden Boy contender Ryan Garcia (18-0, 15 KOs). Both fighters are ranked in the top 6 by the WBA and WBO, with a Haney vs. Garcia bout helping to sort out a crowded lightweight field. The potential match-up is already gaining traction on Twitter:
Let’s make it happen captain! https://t.co/YE1uu3HxGz
— Devin Haney (@Realdevinhaney) May 26, 2019
Loser: Antonio Moran
FINAL GRADE: C-
Antonio Moran looked completely out of his element on Saturday: unable to adapt to Haney’s speed, timing, talent, or boxing IQ.
And, as I opined elsewhere, Moran proved to be “a one-gear fighter . . . [with] a tendency to stand straight up . . ., throw wide punches, and, at times, look irresponsible defensively.”
All of these weaknesses played into Haney’s hands and led to Moran being violently KTFO’d.
On the positive side, Moran showed heart and fought with fan-friendly, pressure style. He also has measurables that you can’t teach, including uncommon height and reach for a lightweight. Equally important, Moran still has youth on his side.
However, if Moran plans on getting back into the lightweight mix, he will have to sure up his technical flaws in a hurry.
An intriguing next step for Moran: After considering a self-imposed hiatus following his KO loss, Moran should comeback slowly and aim for an aging journeyman to help restore his confidence. A corner change might also be in order.
* * *
FILIP HRGOVIC vs. GREGORY CORBIN
Winner: Filip Hrgovic
FINAL GRADE: A
If you blinked (or took a bio break) during Hrgovic vs. Corbin, you missed
Filip Hrgovic’s (8-0, 6 KOs) first round stoppage of gate keeper Gregory Corbin (15-2, 1 NC, 9 KOs).
The knockout blow: a well-timed headshot that dropped Corbin and put him on skates thereafter.
Given the quick stoppage, there wasn’t much to grade Hrgovic on.
Nevertheless, the Hulking Croatian showed his vaunted power and precision by stopping Corbin in his tracks.
An intriguing next step for Hrgovic: To follow through on the idea floated by Eddie Hearn of pitting Hrgovic against Joe Joyce (9-0, 9 KOs), a fellow Olympian and rising heavyweight prospect who has stopped all nine of his opponents, including former world titleholder Bermane Stiverne.
Loser: Gregory Corbin
FINAL GRADE: D
Despite having a formidable record on paper, the 38-year-old Corbin didn’t put up much resistance versus Hrgovic. And, although Corbin’s defeat was hardly a surprise, most pundits expected the Texan to at least give Hrgovic a few quality rounds.
Instead, Corbin came to the ring with no game plan, which undoubtedly contributed to his early exit.
An intriguing next step for Corbin: Nearing 40, and after his performance versus Hrgovic, it’s anyone’s guess where Corbin goes from here.
* * *
MICHAEL HUNTER vs. FÁBIO MALDONADO
Winner: Michael Hunter
FINAL GRADE: A-
Like Filip Hrgovic, Michael Hunter made quick work of his opponent, Fábio Maldonado, a Brazilian mixed martial artist (MMA), who also boxes professionally.
Maldonado’s boxing resume is far less compelling, however.
Nevertheless, Maldonado had never been stopped in a boxing match, including fights against heavyweight contenders like Oscar Rivas (26-0, 18 KOs).
Of course, all this meant little to Hunter who buzzed through Maldonado handing the Brazilian his third consecutive loss.
But this time, Maldonado was stopped by 2nd round TKO.
Beyond the knockout, what made Hunter’s win noteworthy was the way in which he attacked Maldonado’s body to create openings up top. Hunter also showed good stamina and punch discipline when following up his body shots with bursts of punches to Maldonado’s head.
Hunter’s combination of clean, body- and head-punching were pivotal, ultimately put the Maldonado on beat street, causing the Brazilian to face plant into the corner cushion as the fight was being waved off by Referee Harvey Dock.
An intriguing next step for Hunter: Riding a 4-fight win streak and top 15 WBA and IBF rankings, step-up fights against experienced contenders like Carlos Takam (36-5-1, 28 KOs) or Charles Martin (26-2-1, 23 KOs) could make for an interesting matchups versus Hunter.
Loser: Fábio Maldonado
FINAL GRADE: C-
Although most known for his fights against former MMA champs (e.g., Quinton “Rampage” Jackson [UFC 186], Fedor Emelianenko [EFN 50], and Stipe Miocic [Ultimate Fighter Brazil]), Maldonado took on Hunter in hopes of ending a 2-fight losing streak.
Instead, the Brazilian was met with force by Hunter, who never took his foot off the gas pedal when he sensed that Maldonado was hurt.
Beyond a few taunts and feints, Maldonado had no answer for Hunter’s onslaught. And at 39-years old, it’s likely that Maldonado’s check engine light is on.
An intriguing next step for Maldonado: It’s unclear where Maldonado goes from here in boxing. Perhaps a full-time return to MMA would be a logical next step.
* * *
JESSICA McCASKILL vs. ANAHI SANCHEZ
Winners: Jessica McCaskill and Anahi Sanchez
Substance: A- (McCaskill) | B+ (Sanchez)
Style: A- (McCaskill) | B- (Sanchez)
FINAL GRADES: A- (McCaskill) | B (Sanchez)
Although unified WBC and WBA World Super Lightweight champion Jessica McCaskill (7-2, 3 KOs) beat former champ Anahi Sanchez (19-4, 11 KOs) by unanimous decision, there were no losers in their bout. Both fighters put on a barnburner at the MGM National Harbor, in what should be the frontrunner for Female Fight of the Year.
If you didn’t see McCaskill vs. Sanchez, do yourself a favor and catch the replay.
This was women’s boxing at its finest.
McCaskill rarely took a step backwards throughout, bringing the fight to Sanchez from the opening round to the final bell. In response, Sanchez assumed the role of matador, choosing to box McCaskill in spots, but brawl when McCaskill tried to close the distance.
The difference in the fight: McCaskill’s stamina and iron will.
While Sanchez had her moments, it became clear that McCaskill’s relentless pressure was taking a toll on ‘La Indiecita’ in the championship rounds.
Although both fighters made it to the final bell, most in attendance had a hunch that McCaskill won the fight.
Unfortunately, though McCaskill was (rightfully) declared the winner, the inexplicably wide scorecards turned in by judges Larry Hazzard Jr. and Ron McNair were the only blemishes on an otherwise compelling fight from two highly-skilled fighters.
Sanchez deserved better.
Fortunately, the classy McCaskill admitted as much in her post-fight interview.
An intriguing next step for McCaskill and Sanchez: #RunItBack
■ About Paul R. Jones!
Paul R. Jones! is a boxing writer and ringside photographer for Boxing News 24. A scientist by day and boxing writer by night, he covers the humorous, offbeat, and absurd from the sport of boxing. Paul’s articles have appeared in PEDIATRICS, Race and Social Problems, and Motivation and Emotion, and he’s covered boxing online for East Side Boxing, BOXINGINSIDER, TheFightJournal, and WRAPSONTV.
You can keep up with more of what Paul R. Jones! is thinking about on Twitter @boxingepicenter, YouTube, and Medium.com. Or e-mail him at [email protected] for bookings or inquiries.
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