New lightweight king Devin Haney must face Gervonta Davis

Devin Haney, the boxer who appears just like the altar boy on the native Catholic church, stood within the heart of the ring at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, palms at his facet, an aggressive opponent fueled by a hometown crowd on the lookout for some motive to erupt in celebration speeding at him with haymakers, and caught his tongue out.
Devin Haney
Devin Haney

This was seconds earlier than the bell sounded in one of many many rounds he gained going away Saturday in opposition to George Kambosos, the powerful however badly overmatched opponent he fought for the undisputed light-weight championship.

It was one of many few moments by which Haney relaxed and didn’t stick assiduously to the plan that his father, Invoice, and he had give you. They knew — and it was patently apparent after, oh, 90 seconds of battle time — that Haney had huge benefits in velocity, quickness, boxing means and ring IQ.

This wasn’t an undertrained, overconfident Teofimo Lopez that Kambosos was preventing. Kambosos was a 6-1 underdog when he fought Lopez for the light-weight titles in New York final 12 months. Lopez and his father, Teofimo Sr., who trains him, had been so assured of victory they had been like a man in line to money a lottery ticket earlier than the numbers had been gone.

No, this was a mature past his years 23-year-old who’d been getting ready for this evening for no less than six years. He turned skilled as a 17-year-old and started by preventing in bars and evening golf equipment in seedy spots all through Tijuana, Mexico.

It wasn’t the glamorous manner that many stars start their profession, however it was what Haney wanted to do to get rolling.

He had all the things going in opposition to him on Saturday. Kambosos acquired to dictate the phrases as a result of he confronted an opponent for the belts who wasn’t decided or mature sufficient to correctly put together and naively believed that pure expertise would carry him.

Kambosos demanded the battle be in Australia and that he be given a rematch in the identical ring ought to he lose. Haney, who was Prime Rank’s second selection after Vasiliy Lomachenko declined to as an alternative battle for Ukraine in its battle in opposition to Russia, instantly stepped in.

Devin Haney celebrates after defeating George Kambosos Jnr, throughout their World Light-weight Undisputed Championship battle, at Marvel Stadium on June 05, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photograph by Mikey Williams/Prime Rank Inc through Getty Photos)

His father, Invoice, didn’t get a visa to enter Australia till hours earlier than the battle. He’d had a federal drug conviction greater than 30 years in the past and earlier than an enchantment on Haney’s behalf, he couldn’t get into the nation. Invoice Haney trains his son, who acquired to Australia by himself a number of weeks in the past.

Boxing historical past means that the judges would favor the hometown hero, and Haney needed to concern himself with that. He needed to do the ultimate preparations, in addition to his weight lower, with out his father round. Fighters are creatures of behavior and when there are such drastic modifications within the greatest battle of 1’s life, it’s not good.

However Haney acted like he was 43 and never 23. He handled all the things like a consummate skilled. When Kambosos tried to get beneath his pores and skin by calling him a rat and a snitch, he shrugged his shoulders and saved his cool.

He expressed his religion in Yoel Judah, who was going to coach him ought to Invoice Haney not be capable to get into Australia.

“It is a dream come true,” Devin Haney stated. “I used to be going by it with out my Dad being right here as a result of I knew it was an enormous second for us. We each dreamed of this. Since we began out, we stated we wished to be the perfect. It could have harm me to perform this with out him. I’m so grateful that we had been capable of accomplish this collectively.”

He set himself aside from all the different lightweights, however there are nonetheless loads of hills to climb. He’ll presumably should beat Kambosos a second time on the highway except his group can purchase Kambosos out of the instant rematch. Few individuals in Australia who noticed that battle would wish to see it once more, and it price promoters a ton to place it on.

The logical battle, and the best to make, could be for Haney to face Lomachenko, since each are with Prime Rank. But when he needs to show who’s finest within the light-weight division, as he’s been saying he would do since he was 19, he’ll should battle Gervonta “Tank” Davis.

Davis, who’s 4 years older than Haney, retained his secondary light-weight title every week earlier when he knocked out Rolly Romero in spectacular trend.

Gervonta Davis poses for images after a WBA light-weight championship boxing bout in opposition to Rolando Romero early Sunday, Might 29, 2022, in New York. Davis gained within the sixth spherical. (AP Photograph/Frank Franklin II)

Haney has the belts, however he hasn’t but confirmed to be a ticket vendor. Now, the identical was true of Floyd Mayweather Jr. early in his profession, and Mayweather went on to turn out to be among the finest attracts within the historical past of the game.

Davis is proving to be a ticket vendor and he’s doing stable numbers on pay-per-view, promoting round 275,000 models for the battle with Romero.

Promoter Oscar De La Hoya threw Ryan Garcia’s title into the hat, however Garcia has spent the previous 12 months calling out fighters solely to both by no means battle them or to signal after which pull out. He can’t be taken severely as a top-level opponent for both Haney or Davis till he will get to the submit a number of instances in a row. He’s anticipated to battle Javier Fortuna in July, so we’ll see.

However this evening was about Haney, who took the sluggish and regular method. He knew he couldn’t get in bother except he made a mistake. Had he tried to, he doubtless might have completed Kambosos as a result of he’s a lot sooner. Attempting that, although, would have elevated the opportunity of a mistake and in a battle he was profitable so simply, it didn’t make sense.

It wasn’t Hagler-Hearns by any means, however it was a mature, veteran efficiency by a proficient, gifted boxer. If he develops the sort of stinging energy as he matures that characterizes so most of the elite lightweights all through historical past, he might nicely transform the perfect of the bunch when all is alleged and achieved.

However his boxing and his maturity have taken him a great distance already.

It’s fairly spectacular for a younger man who appears like he’s not sufficiently old to look at a PG13 film with out grownup supervision.

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