Bill Haney: “We never set out for Franchise Champion”
It’s almost been a solid year since the WBC unveiled their latest creation, the ‘Franchise Champion, last June 2019. For the better part of it, the entire notion of a ‘Franchise Champion’ was rejected by the boxing public.
The detractors felt that the roughly explained pseudo-belt only created confusion without providing any real overall benefit to the sport. Furthermore, the new Franchise Champion only made it that much more difficult to determine one undisputed champion in any given division.
Clearly Bill Haney, the father and head coach of Devin “The Dream” Haney (24-0, 15 KO’s), shares in this same mindset. For the elder Haney, the Franchise belt only clouds the landscape rather than provide any manner of meaningful clarity.
This is the main why he explained to Fight Hub TV that neither he nor Devin held any desire to possess the newly created title. Going a step further, despite its misleading title, the talented chief second does not even recognize it as a legitimate title.
“As far as the Franchise Champion, it was never something that we set out to do. It’s so new of a status, and I wouldn’t say it’s an actual championship. It’s not a belt because you can’t set out to win it and anything that you can’t win or defend I wouldn’t say it’s a belt. I would say that it’s a status.”
HI-TECH SLIPPERY IN AND OUTSIDE OF THE RING
Even though Team Haney has no motivation to chase the Franchise Champion belt, they have already been greatly affected by its creation. After having worked himself up the rankings, the Dream had successfully secured the mandatory position to face then-WBC world lightweight champion Vasiliy “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KO’s).
However, before the bout ever had a chance to get made, Team Lomachenko petitioned for and was granted Franchise Champion status. And as a perk of the belt, the Franchise champion is not required to face any mandatory challenger ever.
Once obtaining the new status, there has been no effort on the part of Team Lomachenko to make a fight with Haney. This is why many in the boxing community view Hi-Tech’s actions as a duck move. While it would be easy for Bill Haney to follow in this line of thinking, he ardently maintains that he doesn’t believe that Loma is running from his son.
“I mean styles make fights, and like I said, not thinking for their team or what their strategy was they choose not to fight Devin for whatever reason that it was, and it was no sleight or spite towards us I believe. I believe Devin has a style that would pose a threat to anyone.”
NO UNDISPUTED CHAMP WITHOUT THE DREAM
In the end however, no matter what Hi-Tech’s reasoning or rationale may be, Bill Haney is one of the folks that believe that there can be no talks of an undisputed champion within the lightweight division without involving Devin “The Dream” Haney.
“But actually undisputed to me is a word that’s left to interpretation. Of course, with the four belts up until thus far, we considered undisputed as having all four belts. When you brought in the Franchise status, it kind of murked up the water a little bit in terms of just being undisputed. So when things are left [unclarified], they are disputed!
When they have dispute with them and they’re no longer undisputed, they are disputed. And I think Devin’s belt, the WBC lightweight world title definitely solidifies a dispute and the undisputed argument.”
By: Bakari Simpson