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Devin Haney Jorge Linares

By Mark Eisner: WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney (26-0, 15 KOs) retained his title with a competitive 12 round unanimous decision win over Jorge Linares (47-6, 29 KOs) on Saturday night at the Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The scores were 116-112, 116-112, 115-113.

Haney was hurt in the 10th, 11th and 12th rounds by shots from Linares.

“It was a good shot, I was never hurt,” said Haney about him not being hurt in the 10th. I didn’t get dropped, I didn’t get hurt. Of course, I want the biggest fights out there. I won easily. If Teofimo Lopez is next, then we can. If Tefimo wants to do it next, let’s get it”

Haney was in full denial about him not being hurt. He was clearly hurt and in survival mode in the 11th and 12th.

215 of 675 for a 32 percent connect rate for Haney, who dominated the first three fourths of the fight, but then fell apart in the championship rounds.

Haney vs. Linares undercard results:

  • WBC female super lightweight champion Chantelle Cameron (14-0, 8 KOs) used her size advantage to defeat Melissa Hernandez (23-8-3, 7 KOs) by a fifth round knockout. The referee stepped in and halted the content in the fifth due to Hernandez taking too much punishment. The time of the stoppage was at 1:08.
  • Middleweight Jason Quigley (19-1, 14 KOs) defeated Shane Mosley Jr (17-4, 10 KOs) by a 10 round majority decision. The scores were 97-93, 96-94, 95-95. The fight could have gone either way. Mosley Jr finished strong and he may have done enough to deserve the win, but it didn’t go his way.
  • Azinga Fuzile (15-1, 9 KOs) stopped Martin J. Ward (24-2-2, 11 KOs) in the seventh round in an injury stoppage in an IBF super featherweight title eliminator. Ward injured his left knee after getting it caught on the lead knee of Fuzile in the seventh. Unfortunately, Ward’s leg was too hurt for him to continue. The time of the stoppage was at 2:45 of the seventh.
  • Light heavyweight Khalil Coe (1-0, 1 KOs) defeated Nathaniel Todd (2-5, 1 KOs). Coe dropped Todd three times in the round.
  • Undefeated welterweight prospect Reshat Mati (10-0, 7 KOs) defeated Ryan Pino (8-7-2, 4 KO) by a narrow six-round unanimous decision. Te scores were 60-54, 58-56, 58-56.
  • In an outstanding performance, undefeated female featherweight Ramla Ali (3-0) defeated Mikayla Nebel (4-9, 1 KO) by a lopsided six-round unanimous decision. The judges scored it 60-54, 60-54, 60-54.
  • Undefeated junior middleweight Amari Jones (2-0, 2 KOs) stopped Jonathan Ryan Burrs (3-3, 0 KOs) in the first round.

Preview:

Haney has been pushing hard for fights against Ryan Garcia, Teofimo Lopez, and Vasily Lomachenko, but it hasn’t happened.

Tonight’s fight between Haney and the former three-division world champion Linares (47-5, 29 KOs) should give the boxing world a good hint of whether Devin is ready to fight the better opposition.

This isn’t the fight that is going to transform the unbeaten Haney (25-0, 15 KOs) into a star that his promoter Eddie Hearn hopes, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Hearn believes that Haney, 22, will be crowned the next mega-star after he beats this gang of three:

  • Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis
  • Ryan Garcia
  • Teofimo Lopez

Full card action for tonight:

  • Devin Haney vs. Jorge Linares
  • Chantelle Cameron vs. Melissa Hernandez
    Jason Quigley vs. Shane Mosley Jr
    Martin J. Ward vs. Azinga Fuzile
    Khalil Coe vs. Nathaniel Tadd

Haney one fight away from superstardom

“For Devin Haney, one fight can make him a superstar,” said Eddie Hearn to Fighthub. “If he goes and beats Teofimo, he beats Ryan Garcia, and he beats Tank [Davis], he’s a superstar.

‘Let’s calm down and get through Saturday. I always say that Teofimo should be the undisputed champion. When I sat down with Devin Haney and we looked at the governing bodies, I said to him, ‘Which route do you want to take?’

‘He said, ‘I want Lomachenko.’ I said, ‘Right, let’s go down the WBC route. We got a final eliminator, if you win, you fight Loma. He fought the final eliminator, and Top Rank requested to avoid the fight and move Lomachenko up to Franchise.

“Not Loma, by the way. Lomachenko would have fought Devin, but Top Rank requested that. They moved him up to Franchise champion. As soon as they did that, the other governing bodies do not recognize him as WBC world champion.

“So right or wrong, he’s not recognized as the WBC world champion,” said Hearn about Teofimo Lopez. “So you can’t unify with a Franchise belt within those rules,” Hearn said.

A win for Haney over someone like Teofimo Lopez or Gervonta Davis may be enough to turn him into a star. It’s probably not going to be enough for Haney to beat 35-year-old Linares tonight.

Fans already see this fight as another example of Haney picking out an old-timer to fight rather than a younger guy.

For Haney to make the leap to superstardom, he may need to run the gauntlet by beating Teofimo, Tank, and Ryan Garcia.

From what we saw in Tank’s last fight against Yuriorkis Gamboa, he might not be able to beat any of those three, let alone all of them.

Undisputed status needs to change

“They make it up as they go along, but the Franchise is above a world champion,” said Hearn. “But it doesn’t matter, it’s not recognized. The Franchise belt isn’t recognized universally by governing bodies.

“I’m not taking a pop at Teofimo. He should be undisputed, but he is not. The only way he can be is to beat Devin Haney, right or wrong.

‘You know undisputed only exists by the collection of belts, unfortunately. The same with Anthony Joshua because AJ and Fury could drop all the belts.

“Would it be undisputed? Factually, no. In a boxing sense, yes, it would. The winner is undisputed.

“He’s undisputed, the best heavyweight in the world, but we all know that undisputed only comes with holding all the belts.

‘That’s got to change in my opinion, but when we’re talking about Teofimo Lopez, if you want to say factually is he undisputed? No.

“Should he be? Absolutely. He beat the number one in the division. The same with Josh Taylor last week. He is undisputed because he won all the belts.

“Tanks not fought any of the champions in the weight class really. He’s got from super feather to lightweight to light welterweight.

“Yeah, he’s beaten champions and he holds some regular belts, but he’s never been in any big unification fights in any division. That’s what he should be doing, but he’s a great fighter as well,” said Hearn.

It’s not likely that the way fans and the governing bodies recognize undisputed champions is going to change.

WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney will be trying to show that he’s the big star at 135 tonight when he faces Jorge Linares on DAZN. The fight card is taking place at the Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Action will be streamed live on DAZN at 8:00 p.m. ET.




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