Devin Haney Earns Clean Decision Over Diaz; Wants Undisputed Next!

Devin Haney Ready For George Kambosos

WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney flexing at weigh-in ahead of title defense against Joseph Diaz
Devin Haney | Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom

Devin Haney Stages Successful Fourth Defense of his WBC Title


Following twelve rounds of elegant boxing craftsmanship, WBC lightweight champion Devin “The Dream” Haney (27-0, 15 KO’s) defended his title by way of one wide unanimous decision, for the fourth time. With the win, Haney served Joseph “Jo Jo” Diaz (32-2-1, 15 KO’s) his second professional defeat. Of course there will be a number of folks who will say this is precisely why Diaz was in no hurry to dance with Haney in the first place.

With the spoils of victory from his last bout versus Javier Fortuna, his first in the division, Jo Jo was named Haney’s WBC mandatory contender. Quizzically, rather than take the title shot, the former super featherweight champion sought a dustup with Ryan Garcia. Regrettably for Team Diaz, Garcia abruptly pulled out of the fight. This rather shifty move was given a bit of farcical legitimacy when the WBC ordered Diaz versus Garcia.

Ultimately, the way that it unfolded made Jo Jo appear something of a reluctant warrior having to then double-back to Haney in the end. Now that the Dream has taken care of his business in the ring, he can put his full mind and attention on securing the undisputed bout with WBA super, WBO and IBF 135-pound champion George Kambosos.

Kambosos recently toppled Teofimo Lopez Jr from his lofty position in the division in one of the biggest upsets of the year. Naturally, the Dream’s antennas are sticking straight up and aimed at the Australian with every intention of snatching those belts. No matter how badly he called for the bout for undisputed versus Teofimo Lopez Jr, the call went unheeded. Thus far, Kambosos has been far more receptive to the idea of testing his might with the Dream. So it will be interesting to see where this situation goes from here.

CONTROL AND DOMINATION

For nearly the first thirty seconds of the first period, the two fighters circled the ring, while Haney probed with his jab. By the halfway mark of the first, the Dream was sharpshooting Diaz with pinpoint straight rights, hooks and sharp hooks to the body. Other than shell up and eat blows, Jo Jo accomplished remarkably little in the opening round. The second was largely a copy of the first, although in the final minute Diaz finally began thawing out. Once he began dropping his ear muffs, he scored with a number of punches.

There was a clear shift in the fourth when Jo Jo made the obvious decision to take charge of the bout. His confidence initially began growing after landing a nasty pair of right and left hooks on Haney’s rib cage. The left hook had actually been one of his better shots all night. Diaz followed that up by bulling The Dream in the corner and literally lifting him up off his feet. Evidently, whatever Diaz saw in the fourth was gone by the fifth because Jo Jo slipped his ear muffs right back on. Performing largely stationed behind his high guard allowed Haney the opportunity to comfortably resume sharpshooting.

The sixth round began in nip and tuck fashion but by the second half Haney was in firm control. The Dream attempted and connected with a high arcing overhand right a couple of times. He was also consistently splitting Diaz’s guard with his straight right. During the middle portion of the seventh, Diaz attempted to flurry, which he did. However, it seemed to be more the case of Haney letting him burn himself out. By the end of the round, Haney had resumed control.

GETTING THE JOB DONE

After a slower eighth round, referee Russell Mora halted the action to give Haney a hard warning about low blows. He had been chiming in about the perceived infraction throughout the evening. Despite his persistence, few, if any, of his body shots looked illegal to that point. Late in the period, Diaz caught The Dream with a pair of right hooks that got his attention. Outside of this, the champion controlled the majority of the period. Down the stretch, Diaz was unable to significantly alter anything about the bout.

Jo Jo continued scoring with stiff shots here and there but it was Haney landing far more, as well as controlling the ring and distance. Heading into the twelfth and final round, Jo Jo needed a knockout and he came off his stool fighting like it. For the first half of the period, Diaz arguably enjoyed his best moments of the fight. He was able to blast Haney with several hard hooks to the head, a straight right down the pipe and a handful of other quality shots.

Yet, like in most of the previous rounds, Haney weathered the storm and finished the period controlling the action. When the score cards were read The Dream won by unanimous decision: 117-111 twice and 116-112. Now it looks like Haney is heading to the land down under.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

By: Bakari Simpson

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About Bakari S.2982 Articles
Bakari is a Senior Writer for 3kingsboxing.com. Visit cheetahhead.com to view more of his literary work.