Despite recent talk of Vasiliy Lomachenko, it looks as though Devin Haney’s next title defense will indeed see him take on multi-division champion Jorge Linares. Multiple sources report that the WBC has approved the May 21st matchup with the caveat that the winner then face mandatory challenger Javier Fortuna within 90 days.
Haney (25-0, 15 KO) went from interim lightweight champ to world lightweight champ to lightweight champion in recess to world lightweight champ again, all while fighting just once in that span. He ended a yearlong injury layoff last November with a one-sided, if not terribly thrilling, decision over Yuriorkis Gamboa.
The aforementioned title shenanigans actually left him with two simultaneous mandatory challengers: Fortuna and interim champion Ryan Garcia. That said, Garcia’s attention seems to be elsewhere at the moment and “El Abejon” was technically there first, so this makes as much sense as anything in this profoundly stupid sequence of events.
That said, Linares (47-5, 29 KO) is Haney’s toughest test by a huge margin. Though heartbreakingly fragile, he remains among the sport’s finest technicians and could pose a genuine roadblock to Haney’s ambitions. It’s a good fight, is what I’m saying.