WBC lightweight titleholder Devin Haney is in a strange position considering he’s an unbeaten young headline-grabber who has a belt and good promotional and broadcast positions, as it seems like he’s the man outside looking in at 135 pounds.
With Teofimo Lopez — who holds the WBA, IBF, and WBO belts — and Ryan Garcia getting the most publicity, plus Gervonta “Tank” Davis right there floating between 130 and 135 with a lot of name value, Haney (25-0, 15 KO) in some ways seems to be the guy nobody much wants to fight. Even with Garcia recently beating Luke Campbell for the interim WBC belt, setting up an ordered fight with Haney, Garcia seems more interested in Davis, and Lopez and Haney don’t seem to be quite on the same page for what would be a true undisputed fight, however you feel about the WBC’s purposely bullshit confusing claims about their “franchise” and “world” titles.
Haney spoke with Ak & Barak of DAZN recently, and discussed the exciting lightweight division, potential fights, and that WBC situation that seems to annoy just about everyone connected and most fans.
On whether or not he was upset about Ryan Garcia calling out Gervonta Davis instead of him in Dallas
“I was upset about it, because they made it to where basically they finagled the fans into thinking that he could fight whoever and it didn’t matter who he fought. In reality, that fight was an eliminator to fight for (my) world title. And it sounds crazy because I’m the champion who wanted to fight the challenger, when the challenger should be wanting to fight the champion. But that’s just how hungry I am.
“I could just sit back and relax and keep taking easy fights, I could fight whoever falls in line, I’m making great money. These guys clearly don’t want to fight me. I could keep saying, ‘It’s whatever, I’m gonna just fight whoever they put in front of me.’ But in reality, I want to fight the top guys, I want to make the biggest fights happen.”
On why Garcia wants to fight Davis instead of him
“I feel like he thinks that Tank is the easier fight, and he’s said this before, I’m going off what he said. I’m not making this up. He thinks Tank is the easier fight, so he’s willing to fight Tank because he feels like it’s a higher reward and an easy fight. Why not fight him?”
On the WBC creating a confusing situation at lightweight
“(WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman) says one thing to one interviewer, another thing to another interviewer. He says one thing to me, he says one thing to Teofimo. He says one thing in this interview, he says another thing in that interview, he says another thing in that interview, just to get out of it.”
On whether or not he’s considered vacating his WBC belt
“I haven’t gotten to that point. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m just saying, let’s just make the fight (with Teofimo) happen to where it won’t be no confusion. If us two fight, I promise you, after the fight, there will be no type of confusion. Everybody would know who the real undisputed king as there would be nothing else. I understand that, does Teofimo understand that?”
On Ryan Garcia vs Gervonta Davis
“I think it’s a good fight. It’s a much better fight than what a lot of people think it will be. Ryan is much bigger than Tank. We saw Tank at 130, but have we saw him at 135? Has he really showed up at 135?”
On whether he was impressed by Garcia against Luke Campbell
“I was impressed at how he got up. He showed hunger, he showed grit. I was surprised with that. And that was the main thing he showed in the fight. He showed that he was hungry, that you have to knock him out because he’s still in the fight even if you knock him down. But skill-wise, I didn’t see too much there.”
On what current fighters impress him
“I like (Terence) Crawford, he impresses me. Errol (Spence Jr), the Charlo brothers, (Anthony) Joshua just impressed me against Pulev. There’s a lot of good fighters out there. And definitely Canelo, I think he’s No. 1 (pound-for-pound), and then Crawford for No. 2. But I still think Crawford is still knocking on No. 1.”
On options if Ryan Garcia isn’t his next fight
“If Ryan’s not the guy, then I want to go towards Teofimo. If Teofimo ducks me and goes another direction, then I’m looking to fight Javier Fortuna or Jorge Linares.”
On his indifference to fighting Vasiliy Lomachenko
“I don’t know why (people still have him on the pound-for-pound list). ... I remember a time when Loma wouldn’t even say my name. I was his mandatory, he wouldn’t even say my name, he wouldn’t act like I even existed. So it’s, like, do I even want to give you a shot? Do you even deserve a shot right now? Or do I want to fight one of these young guys who are speaking my name and are throwing me in the hat? At one point, Loma wouldn’t even throw me in the hat (of possible opponents), he would act like I didn’t even exist. Do I really want to give you a shot?”
On possibly moving up to 140
“I’m interested in going up to 140, but there’s so many big fights at 135, it’s hard to go up to 140. ... If I can’t get these big fights (at 135), if it just doesn’t work, then I’m gonna go up to 140. But right now there’s really no big names at 140.”
On who he thinks is the hardest fight for him
“I think all of them are tough. But I’ll make it look easy.”