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Devin Haney being avoided by Gervonta, Ryan Garcia, Teofimo & Jo Jo Diaz Jr

Image: Devin Haney being avoided by Gervonta, Ryan Garcia, Teofimo & Jo Jo Diaz Jr

By Chris Williams: WBC lightweight champion Devin ‘The Dream’ Haney (26-0, 15 KOs) is finding out the hard way the heavy price he must pay for being so talented and feared by the other top 135-pounders in the division.

Haney is seemingly being avoided by Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis, Ryan Garcia, Teofimo Lopez, and now Joseph ‘Jo Jo’ Diaz Jr.

Two years ago, when Haney first picked up his WBC lightweight crown in 2019, it was believed he would finally get the other big names in the 135lb division to face him.

Haney continues to be avoided

They could no longer avoid Devin because he had the most prestigious title in the weight class. But instead, we’ve seen one top-level fighter after avoid swerve Haney, some of them openly admitting they don’t want to fight him.

First, it was Ryan Garcia earlier this year when he beat Luke Campbell in a WBC 135lb title eliminator to become Haney’s mandatory challenger.

But instead of taking advantage of his mandatory position to challenge Haney, Ryan scurried away in the opposite, choosing to fight Javier Fortuna in ANOTHER WBC title eliminator.

Image: Devin Haney being avoided by Gervonta, Ryan Garcia, Teofimo & Jo Jo Diaz Jr

It was clear that Ryan didn’t fancy the fight with Haney, so he’d rather go over old ground to needlessly fight another title eliminator rather than challenge Devin.

Now, it’s Joseph Diaz Jr’s turn to win a WBC 135-lb title eliminator and then not take advantage of his mandatory spot to face champion Haney for his title. On Tuesday, it was reported that Gervonta Davis could be facing Diaz Jr in October.

If Diaz Jr takes the fight with Gervonta, he would be the second fighter that has won a title eliminator with the WBC and then chose NOT to fight challenge Haney for his belt.

The so-called undisputed lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez had recently talked incessantly to the boxing media about fighting Haney after he takes care of his IBF mandatory challenger George Kambosos Jr.

But now we’re hearing that Teofimo will be fighting Vasily Lomachenko next.

On top of that, Teofimo may vacate his IBF title and not fight Kambosos Jr just so that he can go straight into the Lomachenko rematch.

Devin with no one to fight at 135

Haney is stuck in nowhere land, defending his WBC title against those brave enough to step up to the plate to challenge him. It’s not likely that we’re going to see Teofimo, Ryan Garcia, or Joseph Diaz Jr turn around and face Haney because they don’t seem eager to take on this young 22-year-old talent.

Haney’s best bet for a big fight is #1 WBC Vasily Lomachenko to challenge him, but that won’t happen until 2022 after Loma gets done with his rematch with Teofimo.

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If Loma loses to Teofimo, a real possibility, then Haney can scratch him off his list. Teo (16-0, 12 KOs) has already made it clear that he will be moving up to 140 soon, and his fight with Lomachenko will probably be his last at 135.

Haney might need to decide whether to stay at 135 and continue to avoid the top guys or move up to 140 and try and corner Teofimo, Gervonta, and Josh Taylor so they can’t avoid him.

Devin is coming off a spectacular 12 round unanimous decision over the highly-respected former three-division world champion Jorge Linares on May 29th.

Image: Devin Haney being avoided by Gervonta, Ryan Garcia, Teofimo & Jo Jo Diaz Jr

That was a fight in which Haney got in the trenches with Linares and slugged it out for 12 exciting rounds. In the end, Haney had too much for the #5 WBC ranked contender Linares but it was a fun fight to watch. Thus far, Haney vs. Linares is one of the best fights in 2021.

Haney now wants to defend against his new mandatory Jo Jo Diaz Jr, but as I said, it looks like he’s going to serve Devin and possibly face Gervonta in October.

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