By Adam Baskin: Devin Haney says he might return to the 135-lb division for the right fight and “right money” now that he’s moving up to 140.
Haney (30-0, 15 KOs) isn’t saying who he would be interested in fighting if he returned to the lightweight division, but it’s safe to say it’s NOT Shakur Stevenson, who many feel is one of the reasons Devin is in a mad rush to leave 135.
The ONLY fight that Haney would return to the lightweight division for is against Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis. However, that matchup would only be available to him if he’s successful at light welterweight.
If Haney starts taking losses at 140 against the likes of Regis Prograis or Teofimo Lopez, he can forget about getting a shot at fighting Tank Davis.
Devin is in negotiations for a fight against WBC 140-lb champion Prograis (29-1, 24 KOs) on November 11th, but the talks are going glacially slow, and it’s still up in the air about whether it will take place.
Like Ryan Garcia, Haney will only do well at 140 as long as he swerves the killers like Gary Antuanne Russell, Subriel Matias, Arnold Barboza Jr., Teofimo Lopez, and Richardson Hitchins.
Once Haney starts fighting those guys, the losses will start rolling in, and his career as a top guy will effectively be over. Devin’s management did a good job of maneuvering him around the best fighters at 135. When they finally did put him in against a quality guy in Vasily Lomachenko, he looked poor, and that was against an old Loma.
Will Haney return to 135?
“I’m just having fun, staying in shape. We don’t got no official date yet, but we’re staying in the gym, staying ready,” said Devin Haney to Thaboxinvoice. “According to Regis [Prograis], that was the original date in his contract that he signed for [October 28th].
“I didn’t know nothing about the November date until recently until Tyson Fury [vs. Francis Ngannou for Oct.28th] came about. Then Eddie [Hearn] said the venue for the second date.
“I’m staying in the gym, ready for whoever, whenever. It’s been a long time coming,” said Haney about moving up to 140. “I’ve been at 130, 135. When I was in the amateurs, I was at 132. So, I’ve been at 130, 132, 135 since I was 16 years old. So, it’s been a long time coming.
“Obviously, you’ve seen my body mature over the years as a pro, especially from the amateurs. So, it’s been a long time coming, but you never know. I might go back to 135.
“There are still big fights at 135. So we got to see for the right fight and the right situation and right money, of course, and I’ll go back down.
You can argue that Haney owes all his successes to the careful match-making that has been done for him during his career. He arguably lost to Vasily Lomachenko in a fight in that he had a huge size & youth advantage over the 35-year-old.
Haney was steered around a half dozen of the best fighters at 135 to keep his unbeaten record, and he likely would have six or seven losses by now if he fought these guys at lightweight:
– Gervonta Davis
– Shakur Stevenson
– Keyshawn Davis
– Frank Martin
– Raymond Muratalla
– Edwin De Los Santos
– William Zepeda
“They [WBC] made me ‘Champion in Recess,’ but they also gave me the chance to go up and fight for another belt. I got to respect their decision,” said Haney about the World Boxing Council giving him the ‘Champion in Recess’ tag at lightweight in reaction to Devin talking about moving up to 140 to challenge WBC champ Regis Prograis next.
“You never know. I might fight for the WBC at 135 again, and two-time undisputed. You never know,” said Haney.
If Haney returns to the 135-lb division, he’ll need to do it soon because if he stays at 140 for any length of time, he’ll start losing because he can’t swerve all the threats. There are too many of them, and it’ll be obvious that Haney is maneuvered around everyone with talent.
“They see me make 135, and they say I’m struggling, and they say, ‘Oh, he looks sick. They say this, and they say that. Then when I say I’m going up to 140, then they get mad,” said Haney.
Boxing fans saw Haney as a weight bully at 135, noting how drained he looked making weight and then noting how massive he was when he’d rehydrate.
That is something that fighters can only get away with while they’re young, like the 24-year-old Haney. Once they hit their late 20s to early 30s, it’s over with, and they’re too drained after they rehydrate.
We saw that with the 33-year-old Errol Spence Jr. in his last fight against Terence Crawford. Spence could no longer drain down to 147 without it leaving him a spent shell.
“They want me to stay at 135 up until the time when I can’t make it no more, or I lose the belts, or I lose the fight, and then they say, ‘Oh, he should have been moved up.’
“So, the last time I made 135 [for Vasily Lomachenko last May], it’s never easy for me, but I made the weight like a true champion does and I was successful in the fight [via controversial twelve round unanimous decision],” said Haney.