Devin Haney to fight on Nov.7, Yuriorkis Gamboa likely opponent
By Kenneth Friedman: Devin Haney will be back in action defending his WBC lightweight title on November 7th, most likely against Yuriorkis Gamboa. There isn’t a deal between the two fighters yet, but it’s being reported that the former IBF/WBA featherweight champion Gamboa (30-3, 18 KOs) is the guy that Matchroom wants for Haney.
Eddie Hearn stated last week that the 40-year-old Gamboa is a fighter that they’re interested in matching against the 21-year-old. Ever since Hearn made that announcement, Russell Jr has gone quiet on social media, and it no longer talking about Haney.
Mike Coppinger is saying that Haney is fighting on November 7th, and Gamboa is the “likely opponent.” He says that “Gamboa is in the driver’s seat” for the Haney fight.
Gamboa is perfect for Haney
You can look at this move by Haney’s promoters in several ways. The initial reaction is that one gets the thought that Matchroom is protecting Haney by keeping him away from a very experienced fighter in WBC featherweight champion Russell Jr (31-1, 18 KOs), who is still at the top of his game at 32-years-old.
What makes Gamboa the ideal opponent for Haney
- Age – he’s 40-years-old
- Achilles injury
- Knocked out in last fight
Russell Jr may have lost a small amount of the skills he had a decade ago, but he’s close to being the same guy that pushed Vasily Lomachenko in 2014. What many boxing fans have already noticed about Haney is that he’s not a big puncher.
Devin’s power is more on the low-medium side, and it’s something that he won’t be able to fix, no matter how hard he works out on the heavy bag. The other thing that is apparent is Haney’s lack of hand speed. He’s not another Mayweather when it comes to hand speed. Even now, at 43, Mayweather is still faster than Haney.
Gamboa is a relatively safe pick for Matchroom to stick in the ring with the young fighter Haney. In Gamboa’s last fight in December, he was knocked out in the 12th round by Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis in Atlanta, Georgia. He also suffered an injured Achilles in the fight.
Coming off of a nasty Achilles injury and a knockout puts Gamboa in a vulnerable position in challenging Haney, which probably makes him more enticing for Matchroom. When you add in the fact that Gamboa is 40, it translates to him being perfect for Haney, another non-threat.
Matchroom wants to build Haney into a star
Russell Jr is someone that could make Matchroom’s work all the more challenging by him potentially beating Haney or giving him such a hard time that fans would lose interest in him. Haney looked terrible in his last fight in November in struggling to defeat Alfredo Santiago.
The fight showed that Haney is a million miles away from being on the level of some of the other lightweights. Santiago pushed Haney and gave him the fight of his life. Russell is a much better fighter than Santiago with far superior hand speed hand power.
Matchroom did an excellent job of turning Anthony Joshua into a star with the way they selected his opponents. He hasn’t been put in with dangerous guys like Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury, or Daniel Dubois.
Gamboa is well-known to the hardcore boxing fans, and he’s someone that will fight hard from start to finish. If Gamboa is healthy, he could give Haney a real test and maybe even beat him. The 2004 Olympic gold medalist Gamboa hits more formidable and superior hand speed that Haney even at 40. When Gamboa was the same age as Haney, he had a lot more raw physical talent going for him.
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