Devin Haney unhappy with fans grumbling about his performance

By Boxing News - 05/31/2021 - Comments

By Brad Slotnick: WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney feels that the fans will never be happy with his performances no matter what he tries to do to please them. Haney sees it as a situation where some fans will always complain.

Haney (26-0, 15 KOs) tried to impress the fans by fighting aggressively against Jorge Linares (47-6, 29 KOs) last Saturday night. Still, after he got hurt by him in the later rounds, he’s been hearing nothing but negativity from them ever since.

The fans have been letting the 22-year-old Haney have it after watching him get hurt by a big right hand from the former three-division world champion Linares in the 10th round in their headliner match at the Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Despite being hurt, Haney was able to stay on his feet and finish out the final three rounds to win a 12 round unanimous decision, but he was hurt a few times along the way.

The critics have been laying into Haney since his win over Yuriorkis Gamboa in November of last year. Gamboa came to survive, which put Haney in a position where he wouldn’t be able to look good against him.

With Gamboa fighting negatively, Haney focused on boxing for 12 rounds. The problem was that Haney’s performance against Gamboa didn’t compare well to that of fellow 135-pounder Gervonta Davis, who stopped the Cuban fighter in the 12th round in his previous fight in December 2019.

Hearn reacts to Linares hurting Haney

“I was a little bit shocked because he took some big shots in the fight earlier on,” said Eddie Hearn when asked what his thoughts were on seeing Haney get hurt in the 10th. “He [Haney] took some big shots, and I was actually thinking, ‘He’s got a good chin, this kid because Linares can really punch.’

Image: Devin Haney unhappy with fans grumbling about his performance

“It was a weird one, I watched it back, and he [Haney] took one, it was a big right hand, but he looked like he wasn’t expecting the shot because he thought he was out of range, or Linares wasn’t trying,” said Hearn.

“His [Haney] legs buckled a little bit. He walked towards the ropes. I saw him on the stool, I could see him right there, and he was kind of smiling and laughing.

Like a young kid, he probably felt quite embarrassed like, ‘Oh, sh*t.’ He looked up and watched it back while his dad talked to him, but he was okay.

“I think it’s amazing that it’s such an unbelievable talking point [Haney getting hurt in the 10th], but he got buzzed by Jorge Linares,” Hearn said.

It shouldn’t have been a shock to Hearn that Linares could hurt Haney because he was focusing on hitting him with powerful left counter hooks from the earliest moments of the fight.

With the way that Linares was catching Haney, he would hurt him at some point in the fight. At the same time, Haney lost energy after the ninth round, and both his speed and power disappeared.

Haney was slower and weaker in the last three rounds. He didn’t have the power or the speed to keep Linares off him.

Haney won’t repeat the mistake

“I’ve had Linares in four fights. Anthony Crolla got dropped, Kevin Mitchell got dropped and got stopped in that fight, Luke Campbell got dropped in that fight.

“Linares punches very, very hard, and he got better in the fight, Linares. That was interesting what Devin said about him carrying his power late, and the reason is that he had a tremendous training camp, and he threw everything into this fight because he knew ‘this was my last chance.’

“That’s how you learn,” said Hearn about Haney going through adversity to get his win over Linares.

“He won’t do that again. I’ve been wanting Devin to be a little more exciting because I felt like when he boxed [Yuriorkis] Gamboa, Gamboa didn’t want to engage,” said Hearn.

If Haney runs out of gas in the championship rounds again in a fight with Teofimo Lopez, Tank Davis, or Ryan Garcia, he’s going to have problems.

Maybe Haney can clinch his way out of the fight the way he did against Linares, but maybe not.

You have to expect that Teofimo, Tank, and Ryan will train on how to fight through Haney’s clinches if he tries to hold to coast in the later rounds.

Devin got reckless

“I knew this would be a much better fight because Linares was coming to win,” said Hearn. “But I felt like if you watch it back from the eighth or ninth round, the next thing, Devin is walking him down, putting his head on his head, and he’s trying to macho him out and trade more.

Image: Devin Haney unhappy with fans grumbling about his performance

“I felt like he wanted to stop him [Linares], and I felt like he thought his best chance was to step on the gas and try and stop him. But in doing that, he got reckless, and he got caught, and he’ll learn from that because it could have been a lot worse.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for Jorge Linares. I think he’s a brilliant fighter. Mitchell nearly had him, actually. If you watch Kevin Mitchell fight, it as a tremendous fight,” said Hearn about Linares’ clash against Mitchell in May 2015].

“Mitchell dropped him. He [Linares] beat [Anthony] Crolla, but the first fight was quite close, but the second fight was a big win for Linares, and the [Luke] Campbell fight was quite close as well, but he’s just a really good fighter.

“Technically great, smart, fast, can punch. I think he’ll retire actually, but I’d like to see him carry on fighting because he’s never in a bad fight, Jorge Linares,” said Hearn.

It wasn’t necessarily Haney getting reckless when he was hurt in the 10th. He’d pretty much emptied his gas tank by that point in the fight, and he didn’t have enough power or speed to match the stronger Linares.

You could see that Haney’s power had dropped off in the 10th round when Linares started walking him down. Once Haney’s power was gone, he was sitting duck.

Also, Linares figured out that once he got past Haney’s excellent jab, he’s not that great of a fighter at medium to close range. Haney is very average in those distances.

When Haney is on the outside, he’s able to use his excellent jab to control his opponents if they’re brave or smart enough to get past the jab to get in punching range.

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