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Devin Haney ready for Joseph ‘JoJo’ Diaz Jr. on Saturday

Image: Devin Haney ready for Joseph 'JoJo' Diaz Jr. on Saturday

By Dan Ambrose: WBC lightweight champion Devin ‘The Dream’ Haney will be looking to remove a significant hurdle standing in his way to a massive unification fight in 2022 when he defends against Joseph ‘JoJo’ Diaz Jr. this Saturday night on December 4th LIVE on DAZN at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

JoJo Diaz Jr. (32-1-1, 15 KOs) is not only a colossal fight for Haney (26-0, 15 KOs) because he’s well-known and one of the top lightweights in the division, but also a victory over him will potentially vault Devin into a fight with undisputed 135-lb champion George Kambosos Jr.

The Australian Kambosos Jr. (20-0, 10 KOs) did the impossible last Saturday night by pulling off an upset victory over unbeaten undisputed lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez by a 12 round split decision win.

Rather than milk his title and rest on his laurels, Kambosos Jr. wants to face Haney in his first fight as the unified champion in early 2022 in his home country of Australia.

As long as Haney beats JoJo Diaz Jr, he could be taking on Kambosos Jr. soon in what would be a monster fight next year.

Granted, a fight between Haney and Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis would be far more significant to the U.S fans. Still, it would be arguably more critical worldwide for Tank to take on and beat undisputed champion Kambosos.

Haney expects to receive credit

“I knew fighting JoJo Diaz, I would get my just due. I would get my respect with the opponent that he is and he has a great resume,” said Devin Haney to The Last Stand Podcast with Brian Custer on why he chose to fight JoJo Diaz Jr. on December 4th.

Image: Devin Haney ready for Joseph 'JoJo' Diaz Jr. on Saturday

“On paper, he is my toughest test, and I feel the world will give me my just due after this fight,” continued Haney.

“He’s young, he’s [‘JoJo’ Diaz Jr] in his prime, and he’s coming off his biggest win against Javier Fortuna. This fight means so much, and that’s why I feel he is the toughest test on paper.

“He can say what he wants to say, and he has the right to have his opinion,” said Haney when told that JoJo Diaz Jr. said that Devin lacks the “Dog” in him.

“They all say they’re going to put pressure on me, but I will show him otherwise on December 4th.

“It showed that I could survive deep waters, and it showed that I could take a shot,” said Haney on what his last fight against Jorge Linares showed the boxing world. “It was my first time being hurt, and I got hit directly on the chin.

“We’ve seen Linares knockout guys with one punch, and we’ve seen him drop the best of them. But I did show I can take a shot and keep going.

“It made me a better fighter inside the ring and outside the ring, it showed that I am a legitimate 135-lb champion,” Devin said.

Beating JoJo Diaz Jr. would result in Haney receiving a lot of credit from boxing fans, as long as it’s not a controversial win.

Haney on being interested in Tank fight

“Actually, Eddie Hearn reached out to me and asked if I’d be interested in it, and I said, ‘Yeah,'” said Haney when asked to confirm that Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis had said that they had reached out to Devin for a fight when Rolando ‘Rolly’ Romero was pulled from his December 5th fight.

“That was pretty much it. It wasn’t like there were details or any deeper than that.

“Obviously, I’ve been calling for these top guys for a while now, and that’s all it pretty much was. But we were already in negotiations with JoJo Diaz as well.

“I don’t think he [Haney’s promoter Eddie Hearn] reached out to Mayweather Promotions or anything like that [for a fight against Tank Davis].

“I think he put it out there and they never showed any interest in it. So it never came to fruition,” Haney said.

Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis would be bad news for Haney, so it’s good for him that his promoter Hearn didn’t push hard to make that fight happen.

The top lightweights aren’t fighting each other

“So, we can say none of the guys in the lightweight division are fighting the top guys because we are the top guys to fight. Me, Tank, Teofimo, Ryan Garcia. These are the top guys to fight, so in reality, none of us are fighting each other because we are the top guys.

“We’re all fighting the next step before the top guys. We’re fighting the next available guys. I think my dad is 100% right,” said Haney when told that his dad, Bill Haney, is predicting that he knocks out JoJo Diaz.

“I’m feeling strong and feeling healthy. Everything is going smooth. I think this is going to be a hell of a performance for me. I agree with my dad, and if a knockout comes, I will take it.

“The guys that have power, I’ll show them when I beat them. I don’t have anything bad to say about Ryan Garcia. I wish him a speedy recovery and I’m fighting the guy that he was supposed to be fighting. And I have nothing but respect for him.

“I know that injuries happen in boxing. It’s not easy to make the weight at all, and it’s a sacrifice, but it comes with the sport.

“If I can get these big fights at 135. If not, I’m going to move up to 140 and campaign there,” said Haney.

Devin could move up to 140 in 2022

“Every day I’m getting bigger, strong and my body is maturing. So you might see me at 140 sooner or later. Very much so,” said Haney when asked if he might move up to 140 in 2022 if he doesn’t get the big fights.

“I feel like my promoter [Eddie Hearn] doesn’t really have a say in who I fight. My promoter is Eddie Hearn, and we’re willing to work with anybody to make the big fights happen. We’re willing to go to any network to make the big fights happen.

“I don’t feel like my promoter Eddie Hearn is stopping anything from making these big fights happen. I feel like the skillsets that we bring to the table gives these big punchers problems. It’s not easy putting a game plan together for a fighter like me or Demetrius Andrade.

“If I can’t get these big fights at 135, I’ll easily go up to 140 and campaign up there.

“I think the toughest test for fighters around my weight would be Tank. I feel he would be the toughest test,” Haney said.

Under a worst-case scenario of Haney not getting any of the top 135-lb fighters facing him, he’ll move up to 140, but it doesn’t look like that will happen.

Haney will get all the fights he wants at lightweight in 2022 should he beat undisputed champion George Kambosos Jr.

Devin will have all the belts, and he’ll be targeted by all the 135-pounders, apart from perhaps Gervonta Davis, who is mainly doing in-house fights.

Haney wants Lomachenko

“I think any of these big fights in the lightweight division like Tank, Loma. I think those are guys that they respect and would put me in the pound-for-pound list and solidify me.

“I’ve been calling for Loma for years, and I want to fight the best fighters. I’ve been saying this, and I’m willing to mix it up with anybody.

“I don’t duck or dodge nobody. I’m willing to get in the ring and test my skills against the best of them.

“I would say Haney vs. [Ryan] Garcia with us being on DAZN and that fight being easy to make,” said Haney when asked which top lightweight that he feels would be the easiest to male.

“I would say Tank,” Haney said when asked who is the most skilled fighter around his weight class. “I would say that Tank is more versatile.

“Undisputed lightweight champion,” said Haney when asked what does he see himself next year at this time.

We’ll see how interested Haney is in fighting Vasily Lomachenko after his fight with JoJo Diaz Jr. this Saturday.

If Haney pushes his promoter Eddie Hearn to take the fight with Loma, we’ll know he’s serious about wanting to fight him.

Haney will try and set up a unification fight with undisputed lightweight champion George Kambosos Jr. next, so Lomachenko isn’t in his immediate future.

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