Shakur Stevenson says Devin Haney has no choice but fight him or vacate in 2023

By Boxing News - 02/06/2023 - Comments

By Dan Ambrose: Shakur Stevenson says Devin Haney will have no choice but to defend against him or Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis or vacate his undisputed lightweight championship this year if he successfully gets past Vasyl Lomachenko on May 20th.

Without Top Rank forcing the issue, it’s questionable whether Haney will agree to fight Stevenson. More than likely, Haney will balk and want an easier option.

Stevenson (19-0, 9 KOs) points out that Devin’s father, Bill Haney, said recently that they’re staying at 135 for all of 2023, and anyone who wants the four lightweight belts, they’ll have to go through them.

Shakur will take Bill at his word by going after Devin (29-0, 15 KOs), provided he wins his next fight against Lomachenko. It’ll be up to Top Rank whether they want to make the fight between Stevenson and Haney next.

Will Haney fight Stevenson?

Bill Haney was likely just squawking because he had the camera on, and he knows that Devin would be too drained at 135 for him to stand a chance against Stevenson. Haney won’t beat a fighter with Stevenson’s talent using that ugly punch & hold technique he sported for both of his fights against George Kambosos Jr.

If Haney chooses to resist the idea, he could vacate his WBC belt to swerve Shakur. What could hasten Haney’s move up in weight to 140 is if he struggles to make the 135-lb weight limit for the Lomachenko fight because he’s been looking as big as a house lately, and it’s not going to be easy for him to get down from whatever weight he’s at.

One can argue that Haney is a 147-pounder at this point in his career, making it extremely difficult for him to lose massive amounts of muscle & water weight to get down to 135.

The only reason Haney has gotten away with fighting at 135 for so long is because of his youth. Younger fighters can boil down huge amounts of weight without it affecting them.

Once they reach a certain age, the fighter is forced to fight in their correct weight class because it’s too hard on their body to boil down. Haney may have reached that point in his career because he looked like he was living death for his last weight cut for his rematch with George Kambosos Jr last October.

Stevenson will be headlining against Shuichiro Yoshino (16-0, 12 KOs) in a 12 round bout next on April 8th at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, U.S. The fight will be shown on ESPN, ESPN Deportes, and ESPN+ at 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT.

Shakur expects Devin to stay at 135

The way Devin is talking, he’s going to stay at 135. His father [Bill Haney] said there will not be another champion in 2023, so I’m here to prove him wrong,”  said Shakur Stevenson to Fighthype when asked if Devin Haney will move up to 140 in 2023.

“Devin has got no choice.  It’s either me, or Tank. After Lomachenko, it’s either me, Tank, Ryan, or whoever; that’s it,” said Shakur. “It’s okay, solid,” Stevenson said when asked about Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis’ recent win over Hector Luis Garcia on January 7th. “I mean, he’s solid. I ain’t got too much to say about it.

“That’s the best I’ve seen him look. He had a great training camp with me. We did a lot of rounds. We had him sharp, and he did great,” Shakur said about light welterweight Richardson Hitchins, who defeated John Bauza by a 10 round unanimous decision last Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York.

“For sure, I’ve been in there with some of the best 140-pounders in the world, and he’d definitely beat a lot of the people I’ve been in the ring with,” said Stevenson when asked if Hitchins can win a world title at light welterweight.

“It’s a thing with these people and these fans. What’s the tall dude, the Japanese dude? If I was fighting him [Masayoshi Nakatani], the world would be going, ‘This is a great test for Shakur at 135. That’s the same dude [Shuichiro Yoshino] that knocked him out, right?

“So if fight fans actually do their homework, they’ll understand why I’m fighting this fight,” Stevenson said about why he’s facing Yoshino on April 8th instead of another opponent. “I tried going down the list.

“I tried Isaac Cruz,  I tried [William] Zepeda, I tried all of the guys before him [Yoshino], and it didn’t work out. They didn’t want to fight me,” said Shakur.

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