Boxing Only

Devin Haney takes his place in the Lightweight Title Race

Posted: 28-05-2019
Author: Andy Farr

 Devin Haney vs Antonio Moran
 WBC International and WBO Inter-Continental Lightweight Titles
 Saturday 25th May 2019
 MGM Harbour in Oxon Hill, Maryland
 Matchroom Boxing USA
 DAZN, Sky Sports

The 135lb division has recently seen the emergence of some exciting American talent that could possibly elevate it to the best division in boxing in the coming years.

The USA is so dominant in the red hot welterweight division with Errol Spence Jr, Terence Crawford, Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia that it is hard to petition for the lightweights, but it the likes of Devin Haney (20), Teofimo Lopez (21) and Ryan Garcia (20-years-old) that are the future at 135lb that make the division so exciting. Oh, and of course, Vasiliy Lomachenko who fights Britain's Luke Campbell for the vacant WBC strap in August is at the helm, most fans P4P king.

Devin Haney's win over good Mexican contender Antonio Moran at the MGM Harbour in Oxon Hill, Maryland this past weekend (25th May) gave the flashy young star a big platform to show his skills to a large audience on the DAZN streaming service now that he has signed with Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Boxing outfit.

Devin Haney dominates Mexican contender Antonio Moran
Lightweight star Devin Haney dominated Mexican contender Antonio Moran from the 1st round in their 25th May meeting.

Hearn seemed genuinely excited when he announced that the young Californian who now resides in Las Vegas had put his signature to paper to start what could become a very lucrative partnership. Things then fell into place for the 20-year-old when original headliner Oleksandr Usyk pulled out with a hand injury and Haney leapt at the chance of topping the bill. His performance against Moran was nothing short of sensational.

Haney is gifted with hand speed, power and balance but the way he patiently broke down Moran and then brutally stopped him showed maturity beyond his years. Promoter Hearn said after the fight "Where I come from in England, if we had a star like this, the country would be going mad. So you guys need to get behind Devin Haney because let me tell you, America has a superstar on their hands. He is 20 years old. He is 22-0. They say he doesn't carry power but he is taking guys out like that. Former two-division titlist Jose Pedraza struggled against Moran, a champion who went the distance with Lomachenko. That was like watching an artist draw a beautiful picture and then at the end just sign his name off and walk away into the night."

Haney about to detonate an over-hand right that knocked Antonia Moran out
Haney about to detonate a perfectly timed over-hand right that knocked Antonia Moran unconscious in the 7th round.

The problem Hearn has with pushing Haney towards a shot at Lomachenko is how difficult it was to make weight, Haney came in at 134 3/4lbs for this fight but at 20-years-old he is still growing and when asked about how much longer he could make the 135lb limit he said "Not much longer. My body is maturing as everyone saw I was ripped at the weigh-in. It wasn't easy to make but I sacrificed and I made the weight but not much longer can I make the weight." 

Perhaps boxing fans will see the Haney, Lopez and Garcia triumphant meet at 140lbs because they are all young and still maturing physically, but if that's the case then we need Lomachenko to move up as well because apart from facing one another they need a genuine superstar to compare themselves with if one or more of them is to become genuine American superstars in the mould of Sugar Ray Leonard, Oscar De La Hoya or Floyd Mayweather.

Eddie Hearn being Interviewed next to Devin Haney
Haney's partnership with Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Boxing USA is already paying dividends.

Ukrainian Lomachenko is a big favourite to take the vacant WBC title when he and Campbell meet later this summer. Campbell may be short of being able to test Loma but he might be a hard test for the young prospects in the division at present, but it is this sort of matchup that makes the division so exciting.

As far as Haney challenging the P4P king was concerned he said "Yeah, I definitely feel like I'm ready for Lomachenko now. My team wants me to slow down. They say I'm on the fast track."

Haney, Lopez and Garcia all look like superstars in the making and exciting times lay ahead for boxing fans as their boxing futures will be played out in front of us.