Devin Haney is set to make his return to action on Nov. 9 as part of Matchroom’s novelty KSI vs Logan Paul event in Los Angeles, which will stream live on DAZN, but while the 20-year-old lightweight isn’t expected to face a serious contender on that date, he’s calling out the big dog of the lightweight division, Vasiliy Lomachenko.
Haney (23-0, 15 KO) signed with Matchroom USA earlier this year and has fought twice for them already, knocking out Antonio Moran in May and dominating Zaur Abdullaev in September, the latter win giving him the interim WBC lightweight title, which probably doesn’t need to exist, as Lomachenko had just won the previously vacant WBC lightweight title two weeks prior, beating Luke Campbell in London.
Lomachenko also has the WBA and WBO belts, but Haney is politically maneuvering and trying to attach his name to Lomachenko’s, which will give him more headlines.
“A lot of writers are saying I’m not ready to face Lomachenko, that’s ridiculous,” said Haney. “All the guys he beat, I would beat also. Let’s not forget Lomachenko lost to a man who has 14 loses, so to say I’m not on his level is crazy talk. Loma fought for a world title in his second professional fight. He was 1-0, I’m 23-0.
“Who wouldn’t want to watch me and Loma fight? The answer is everyone would want to watch that fight and that’s a fact. I hate to say it, but it must be said: it’s embarrassing for Lomachenko if he keeps ducking this 20-year-old, but in reality, there is no one that I can’t beat at 135 pounds!”
This is not to say that Haney doesn’t legitimately have confidence that he could beat Lomachenko — he’s a confident kid, and what’s more, he’s a natural lightweight, which Lomachenko readily admits he is not.
But there’s also no danger of him fighting Lomachenko any time soon, either. Haney, though, is wise enough to address that, too.
“Every promoter in boxing should put aside their egos and make the big fights,” he said. “I know the fans will appreciate the best fighting the best and they deserve to see these big fights. Right now, boxing is so fragmented. I’m a fan of the sport and it would be a travesty if some of these big fights don’t get made.
“(Bob) Arum said I signed with the wrong company, but he’s not making the big fights the people want to see. He’s serving the interest of his company and I knew that mentality could hold me back from becoming one of the greats in this sport, hence me signing with Matchroom. There are many more sensational matchups that are long overdue. It’s good business, and boxing will thrive, if the best are fighting the best.”
You have to respect Haney’s game here — again, I’m not saying it’s pure nonsense, but it’s absolutely a way to promote himself while he fights the likes of Moran, Abdullaev, and maybe Hector Tanajara in November, if the early rumor turns out right.
Haney is on the rise, has legitimate talent, and he’s playing the game, and he should, it’s smart. Calling out Loma and accusing the Ukrainian of “ducking” him gets his name into headlines and keeps him on the minds of boxing fans.
As for Loma-Haney happening in 2020, it’s very possible. Top Rank and Matchroom have worked together when the time was right, including on the Loma-Campbell show in August. Arum may trash Eddie Hearn now and again, but as Hearn has said himself repeatedly, Bob might dump on you all day, to the media, to your face, whatever, and then if the fight is right, he’ll make a deal.
If Lomachenko unifies at lightweight as he desires, and a Devin Haney fight makes the most sense, there’s really nothing impeding that from happening. It’d take negotiation and all that, sure, and Haney might have to go fight on Top Rank’s ESPN platform, but that shouldn’t be a problem for the guy who wants the big fight, the best against the best.