Devin Haney is finishing up camp as he prepares for his May 29 WBC lightweight title defense against Jorge Linares, and says he’s completely aware that he’s taking a step up against the veteran ex-champion, but that he’s fully prepared for the challenge.
“Linares is a great fighter that has a lot left in the tank. He has held multiple world championships in three weight classes and he’s by far the biggest step up in my career,” Haney said from camp.
“I give my dad Bill Haney, who is my trainer, a lot of credit. We know exactly what it takes to get this done. My skills are on another level and I will make the necessary adjustments, wear him down, and completely dominate this fight.”
Haney (25-0, 15 KO) has been criticized for his opposition, particularly recently. There was some leeway when he was a fighting working his way up, and though he’s still young at 22, he’s also had claim to the WBC title since 2019, making defenses against an over-matched Alfredo Santiago and an old, small, pretty shopworn Yuriorkis Gamboa.
The 35-year-old Linares (47-5, 29 KO) was last in the ring in Feb. 2020, wiping out a usually tricky Carlos Morales inside of four rounds. He was supposed to fight Ryan Garcia that spring, but COVID knocked that fight out, and then a summer date with Javier Fortuna also wound up scrapped.
There is some concern about rust with Linares, but at the same time he’s been there and done that. Haney sees Linares as an opponent who is credible and challenging, and with a win, Haney hopes to force a bigger fight from those he feels are avoiding him.
“This is the biggest fight of my career. A victory against Linares should gain me a lot of respect,” he said. “Everyone knows that Linares is a dangerous fighter and winning this fight gives more reasons to all of the writers, fans, and boxing insiders, to campaign the unification fight with Teofimo Lopez, or at the very least, a world title defense against Ryan Garcia. I’m putting the pressure on them.”