Devin Haney stages impressive defense of his WBC Lightweight title over Jorge Linares
WBC World Lightweight champion Devin “The Dream” Haney (26-0, 15 KO’s) handled himself well in his first official step-up fight. He did so by claiming an unanimous decision win over 3-division champion Jorge “Golden Boy” Linares (47-6, 29 KO’s). The prizefight stood as Haney’s third defense of his WBC belt.
The Dream has consistently called out all the major names in the 135-pound division searching for his first huge prizefight. Unfortunately for him, that marquee fight has remained unattained. Above all, Haney would love to test his might against unified world lightweight champion Teofimo “Take Over” Lopez. A great controversy has raged between the two due to Lopez fraudulently claiming to be the undisputed champion of the division. Yet, rather than face Haney to clear up any discrepancy, the Take Over has largely just offered excuses for why he will not fight him.
Ahead of the bout, Linares was looking to become a two-time lightweight world champion, yet The Dream thwarted those plans. This most recent loss snapped a two-fight win streak that the Golden Boy was riding following his January 18, 2019 stoppage loss to Pablo Cesar Cano. For what it is worth, the Venezuelan handled himself well against the young gun but was overall outclassed.
A STELLAR START
Haney began the bout looking very good by controlling with his jab and consistently stabbing the body. While Linares did very little in the period, he was able to catch Haney with the same left hook on three separate occasions. The Dream continued to dominate the fight over the next two rounds, only now he added thumping hooks and an occasional crunching uppercut to the diet of punches he was force-feeding Linares. Even worse for the Golden Boy, Haney was consistently slipping the left hook that Linares had such success with in the first.
After Linares enjoyed his best success in the fourth round, Haney took back over in the fifth by stepping on the gas. The Dream was pressing the pace, kept a jab in the Golden Boy’s face and consistently pounded his body with a hard right hook. When in close, Haney regularly broke the action by strategically tying up. The Dream maintained his dominance over the next several rounds and opened the eighth with a head-swiveling left hook. Throughout the period, Haney kept Linares in retreat mode and unrelentingly attacked his body.
DRAMA DOWN THE STRETCH
Following a dominant tenth round, in the closing seconds, Jorge Linares clipped and hurt Haney with his signature short right hand. Going to the corner, The Dream took a couple of odd-looking steps. Throughout the first two minutes of the eleventh, Haney did little outside of grab and hold while looking still a bit buzzed. To his credit, he did open up with some shots and finish the period with a bit of scoring offense.
Further to his credit, Haney re-established his dominance over the course of the first two minutes of the twelfth. Despite beginning well, something apparently got through to bother him again. This was because The Dream would finish the bout doing absolutely nothing but trying to grab and hold Linares. The tactic drew a loud chorus of boos from the audience. In the end, it was all academic as Devin Haney walked away with a closer than expected unanimous points win.
By: Bakari Simpson