Eddie Hearn on Devin Haney vacating 135-lb titles: “It’s a ballsy move”

By Charles Brun - 11/30/2023 - Comments

Eddie Hearn is in favor of Devin Haney’s move to vacate his lightweight titles yesterday because he feels it gives other fighters in the 135 division an opportunity to fight for the vacant belts.

Hearn sees it as a classy move on the 25-year-old Haney’s part, as he could have held onto his lightweight belts until his “last dying breath,” keeping them until they’re stripped, which some would argue is what’s happening at 147, 154  & 160, with Terence Crawford, Jermell & Jermall Charlo holding titles they’re unlikely to defend.

Haney (30-0, 15 KOs) is going after the WBC 140-lb belt against Regis Prograis, and then he wants to move up to 147 to fight for one of Crawford’s three remaining belts once he relinquishes or, more likely, is stripped by the sanctioning bodies.

Devin giving up his three remaining 135-lb belts will put those straps in play. Shakur Stevenson has already won the vacant WBC title against Edwin De Los Santos. Gervonta Davis will likely be elevated to WBA full lightweight champion soon.

The IBF belt will be fought over between Vasily Lomachenko & George Kambosos Jr.

As for the WBO strap could be battled between two of these highly-ranked contenders: Isaac Cruz, Angel Fierro & Denys Berinchyk.

Devin deserves credit for vacating

“I think he needs a lot of credit for that because he didn’t have to vacate the belts. He could have seen how he got on against Regis Prograis, and if he lost against Regis Prograis, it gives him the security to come back and defend as a champion,” said Eddie Hearn to Boxing Social, reacting to Devin Haney vacating his undisputed lightweight championship.

Haney didn’t have much choice but to vacate his lightweight titles because, by his own admission, it was difficult for him to make weight for the division. Further, the only fight he wanted, against Gervonta Davis, wasn’t possible, as he’d been met with resistance from that side to set up a clash.

Also, Haney had been criticized by boxing fans for not defending his lightweight titles against the top fighters in the division, specifically Shakur Stevenson. Now that Haney has vacated, fans can’t pressure him because he’s in another galaxy now, going after Prograis at 140 and, soon, Keith Thurman at 147.

“So one, it’s a ballsy move and obviously, a move that shows tremendous confidence but also respect to him for not taking away opportunities for other fighters because sometimes in that position a fight, or their teams go, ‘No, no, no. We’ll hold on to them down to the last dying breath until you have to get rid of him,'” said Hearn.

Haney gives opportunities to other fighters

“Now, he’s  [Haney] giving opportunities for fighters like [Vasily] Lomachenko, like Kambosos, maybe [Angel] Tashiro Fierro, our kid, who’s up there with a WBO to get a shot at the world title,” said Hearn. “So, he’s [Devin] obviously very confident, but I also think his days at 135 are numbered.”

If you saw how drained Haney looked while he was making weight for his last title defense against Lomachenko in May, it was scary. Haney looked so painfully thin that there was concern among some fans that he was doing harm to his body, putting his health at risk.

“Maybe he’s sitting there now, I don’t know, 147 and going, ‘I’m glad I’m not fighting at 135 anymore,'” said Hearn about Haney, who has looked badly drained making weight for his last two fights in the lightweight division.

Haney has a good chance of beating 34-year-old Prograis to become WBC light welterweight champion and an equally excellent one against 35-year-old ‘One Time’ Thurman at 147, once another one of Crawford’s titles is stripped from him. Hopefully, Crawford follows Haney’s lead by vacating his remaining three titles

“So respect to him, for you know, making sure that opportunities arise for fighters because he could have held them and seen what happened against Prograis,” said Hearn. “By the way, I cannot believe that fight is quick [Haney-Prograis has come around].

“I mean, I saw the ten days yesterday. Nine days until Haney-Prograis, unbelievable,” said Hearn.

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