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Devin Haney: The top fighters are scared of me

Devin Haney Teofimo Lopez

By Dan Ambrose: Devin Haney is an unhappy camper about his inability to get the top lightweights in the red-hot division to face him now, and he feels their scared of him.

WBC lightweight champion Haney (25-0, 15 KOs) finds as disturbing how Ryan Garcia wants nothing to do with fighting him despite having beaten Luke Campbell in a WBC lightweight title eliminator on January 2nd.

Haney says he’s never seen that happen before where a fighter goes through the trouble to compete in a title eliminator and then changes his mind about wanting the title shot.

Ryan views himself as above world titles due to his popularity n social media. He doesn’t come out ahead by facing Haney and beating him to capture his devalued WBC lightweight title.

The World Boxing Council diminished the value of the WBC lightweight title that Haney holds after creating the Franchise belt, which is now in possession of Teofimo Lopez. The fans see Teo as the champion after his win over former Franchise champ Vasily Lomachenko.

Haney: Lomachenko lost; he’s out of it

“That’s because they’re scared to fight me. I’ve been trying to fight the top guys, calling them out,” said Devin Haney to Max on Boxing. “I was one of the first person to call for Lomachenko, who was the boogeyman, and no one wanted to fight him, and he was the pound-for-pound best. Devin Haney was the only one that kept calling for Loma.”

Devin Haney Teofimo Lopez

“You’re fighting anybody that they put in front of you, and you’re winning and fighting anybody they put in front of you,” said Max Kellerman to Haney.

“If you can’t get a shot, that’s not your fault. You’re also doing a good job of getting yourself out there and promoting yourself.

“Nevertheless, to me, because Teofimo beat Lomachenko, who had collected all the belts, Teofimo is the lightweight champion of the world if you like it or not. How do you feel about that?”

“He didn’t collect all the belts. I still have the WBC title, and I’m the WBC world champion,” said Devin Haney in correcting Kellerman by letting him know Teofimo doesn’t have all the belts.

He [Teofimo] collected a Franchise title, not a belt. He’s not the undisputed champion. I am the WBC champion, so Teofimo does not have all the belts,” Haney said.

“What I’m asking, Devin is it’s unclear who the best lightweight in the world is,” Kellerman said.

“All five of you guys need to fight and sort that out. But in terms of traditions of boxing, the champions and the man that beat the man.”

“All four of us,” said Haney in letting Kellerman know there are only four lions left after Vasily Lomachenko was eliminated. “Loma lost, Loma, is out of it. Just all four of us,” said Haney.

Lomachenko is still in it, but it appears he’s going to be frozen out by the top 135-pounders. Ability-wise, Lomahenko is still among the top five in the lightweight division. But it looks like he’s going to be avoided and marginalized by the big four – Haney, Ryan Garcia, Teofimo Lope, and Tank Davi.

The Franchise is a way to duck your mandatory – Haney

“So you think it’s a single-eliminator type of tournament to see who the best lightweight in the world is?” said Kellerman.

Devin Haney Teofimo Lopez

“Of course, you can’t be the nest lightweight in the world, and you just lost; there’s no way,” Haney said.

“When you say that Loma was the Franchise champion, that’s a way the WBC has of stripping a guy without stripping him,” said Kellerman.

“But then the regular champion is considered a notch below the Franchise champion. But you’re saying because you have that belt, you’re disputing Teofimo’s claim to the title?”

“No, the Franchise title is a way for you to duck your mandatory,” Haney said. “I have mandatory’s. I’m the WBC champion, and I have mandatory’s.

“Loma didn’t have mandatory’s. He got elevated to the Franchise champion, and that’s when I became [the WBC champion].

“When I was Loma’s mandatory, he petitioned to become the Franchise champion, so he didn’t have mandatory’s. Devin Haney has mandatory’s. The Franchise title is for ducks.”

“You’re giving a legitimate point of view here, and just to make it clear to the audience,” said Kellerman.

“To me, my point of view is, and a lot of people in boxing feel if you’ve collected all the belts and you can’t make every mandatory because each sanctioning body is making demands, they [the World Boxing Council] call you a Franchise champion, and then they vacate their [WBC] regular championship.

“Devin’s argument here that he just made is one way of looking at it. Another way of looking at it is, a Franchise champion means you didn’t have to fight your mandatory.

“So that’s a duck, and so Devin collects the belt because what else is he supposed to do? I appreciate that argument. Whether or not I agree with it, that’s your point of view.”

It’s already academic that the Franchise title is given out by the WBC so that their popular champions don’t need to worry about mandatory challengers.

WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman says the Franchise title is given so that champions can make bigger fights that help the sport of boxing.

Unfortunately, we haven’t seen that with Canelo Alvarez. He was made WBC Franchise champion when he had Jermall Charlo as his mandatory.

Instead of fighting Charlo,  Canelo has taken on Daniel Jacobs, Rocky Fielding, Callum Smith, and Sergey Kovalev.

Those are all smaller fighters than a Canelo vs. Jermall Charlo fight would have been.

So when the guys Canelo has faced, you can argue the Franchise title has allowed him to duck Charlo, but it hasn’t benefited boxing.

Teofimo Lopez isn’t the undisputed champion

“So you can’t say that Teofimo has all the belts, or Teofimo is undisputed, or Teofimo is the champion in the lightweight division because there’s still one more belt [WBC],” said Haney. “He has the Franchise belt, but I’m the WBC world champion.”

Devin Haney Teofimo Lopez

“I understand your point. You and I could probably debate that for the next hour, but you’re pursuing your professional goals and winning all of your fights,” said Kellerman.

“Ryan Garcia was on this show recently, and he said that he wants Tank Davis. Devin Haney should fight Teofimo Lopez, and the winner of those two fights should fight. How do you feel about that plan?”

“I think that’s funny because Ryan Garcia just fought a title eliminator [against Luke Campbell] to become my mandatory,” Haney said.

“He’s my mandatory. So instead of getting a shot at a world title, he’d rather go in another direction. This is the first time in history I’ve heard of this.

“I’ve never heard of anything like this where two guys, Luke Campbell and Ryan Garcia, meet in a title eliminator to go fight against the champion for the WBC title to go in the opposite direction.

It makes no sense. Tank doesn’t have a belt at 135,” said Haney.

“We’ve seen in boxing history sometimes there is the tortoise and the hare; like one guy can jump out in the lead in terms of public perception,” said Kellerman.

“But usually, the cream rises to the top. When the dust settles and the smoke clears, you see what’s what, and those are the guys who get the super fights.

Nevertheless, at least in the short run, when a guy makes a splash the way Ryan Garcia did in knocking out Luke Campbell, what you’re pointing out, it gives him economic clout, especially when he has eight million Instagram followers.

“So you have a belt, and you’re disputing Teofimo’s claim to the championship. You’re saying, ‘This dude’s [Ryan Garcia] my mandatory, but he’s acting like the champion that is ducking me.

“Doesn’t that point out that the belts are merely promotional tools, and the distinction of a champion is separate from the belt?”

Haney is right about Teofimo not being the undisputed champion, but he can call himself because WBC president Mauricio Sulia is saying he is.

The fans perceive Teofimo as the undisputed 135-lb champion, and that’s all that matters.

Haney ranks himself as #1 at 135

“I think the belts are getting watered down in the sport of boxing,” said Haney. “The sanctioning bodies are watering the belts down to where the fighters don’t even care about the belts anymore.

Devin Haney Teofimo Lopez

“With me, I’m different. I’m a fighter that when I got in there, it wasn’t only to make money and have fame. It was to collect belts. I’m making crazy money, but I want belts,” Haney said.

“I assume you’re putting yourself at the top of the [lightweight] class in terms of who would beat whom, right?” said Kellerman.

“Rank the other guys. Tell me between Teofimo Lopez, Vasily Lomachenko, Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis, and Ryan Garcia. How do you rank those guys one through four?”

“Of course, I go me first,” said Haney in ranking the top lightweights. “I go, Teofimo Lopez, Tank Davis, I go Ryan Garcia, and I don’t put Lomachenko in the category.”

“Because he just lost to Teofimo?” Kellerman said of Lomachenko.

Haney putting himself at #1 right now is expected, and we’ll eventually see if he’s correct. It’s going to be a while, though, before all the top lightweights face each other.

We may not see Teofimo face more than one of the top 135-pounders before he bails the division in 2022.

Haney seems to be in a hurry to write Vasily Lomachenko off after his loss to Teofimo. You can say that’s youth talking.

Lomachenko is still very much in the mix, and he may even be good enough to beat everyone when healthy.

Styles make fights, as they say, Loma might have a bad style for Haney and the rest of the top lightweight. Haney dismissing Loma makes it look like he wants no part of him, which you can argue is a duck.

Haney rates Gamboa as his toughest opponent

“Who is the biggest name fighter you’ve fought, in your opinion?” said Kellerman.

Devin Haney Teofimo Lopez

“I would have to say [Yuriorkis] Gamboa,” said Haney.

“I agree, and if you’re not an overwhelming offensive fighter against lower-level opposition or faded opposition,” said Kellerman in criticizing Haney.

“Sometimes you won’t look as good as a guy with an overwhelming offense, but maybe not your defense.

“Do you feel your performance against Gamboa, and I know you gave yourself a bad grade for that performance has hurt.”

“I didn’t give myself a bad grade,” Haney said in interrupting Kellerman when talking about his performance against 38-year-old Gamboa.

“What I said was, I wanted the knockout, but I went in there, and I didn’t take any punishment, and I beat Gamboa better than he’s ever been beat before.

“If I went in there and I had knocked Gamboa out, or if I had taken punishment and gotten hurt in the process, I would have been distraught with my performance.

“Gamboa, the guys that have knocked him out, have taken punishment in the process and gotten hurt. When Tank fought Gamboa, he came out with black eyes.

“No disrespect to [Terence] Crawford. Crawford went and beat Gamboa and stopped him, but he got hurt in the process.

“I went in there and beat Gamboa, I won every single round on every judges’ scorecards, and I took no punishment. I looked exactly like this when the fight was over with,” Haney said.

“To be fair to Crawford, he fought Gamboa when Gamboa had more gas in the tank,” said Kellerman.

“It doesn’t matter. He [Crawford] took punishment in the process,” said Haney on Terence struggling against Gamboa in their fight in 2014.

“I fought Gamboa when he was a veteran; he had more experience than me. Gamboa has been a pro probably longer than I’ve been boxing,” Haney said.

Gamboa is clearly the best guy that Haney has fought, but it’s disappointing that he’s unwilling to admit that Crawford fought a tougher version of the Cuban than he did. Crawford fought Gamboa seven years ago when he was 31.

Devin:  They’re going to have to fight me

“To your point and what I mentioned earlier, overwhelming offense in any sport, especially in boxing, can overwhelm opposition better than a more well-rounded fighter,” said Kellerman.

Devin Haney Teofimo Lopez

“It’s like Felix Trinidad was a big favorite going into his fight with Bernard Hopkins. But what we’ve also seen, the best fighters, the blue-chippers, are the guys left standing.

“The best pound-for-pound in the world, Pernell Whitaker or Floyd Mayweather. It just sometimes takes the boxing public longer to tell because they need to get those fights. How do you do that? How do you get those fights, Devin?”

“We got to keep demanding the fights, and eventually, these guys are going to have no option but to fight me,” Haney said. “When the time comes, these fights will happen.

“I’m only 22-years-old, I’m a world champion, and I know eventually these fights will happen.

“If we’ve seen in history, the boxer, the guy with the best defensive, the guy that knows how to hit and not get hit, the guy that knows the art of boxing, always comes out on top, and that’s what I will do,” said Haney.

“Devin, who is next for you, and who do you want to be next for you the most?” said Kellerman.

“I want Teofimo Lopez, I want all the belts, I want the world to know who the real undisputed king is, and I want the world to know I’m the best fighter at 135 pounds,” said Haney.

“I feel like Teofimo is the guy right under me, so that’s the fight I want to be made.”

You can say that Haney is more trouble than he’s worth for the other top lightweights in the division. If there were a huge paycheck attached to Haney’s name, he’d have no problems getting the other top lightweights to face him.

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