Devin Haney gunning for showdown with Joseph Diaz
Over the past several days, WBC lightweight champion Devin “The Dream” Haney (26-0, 15 KO’s) has been dropping cryptic messages on his Twitter account. In these notes, the Californian bruiser has teased that he has an appealing opponent in the works. So it’s good to hear that the intended target in mind is none other than former super featherweight world champion Joseph “Jo Jo” Diaz (32-1-1, 15 KO’s).
Since being awarded the belt that Vasiliy Lomachenko vacated, Haney has remained the Wiley E. Coyote of the division. No matter what his scheme, or who he attempts to fight, all the top opposition seem to keep a fresh alibi for why they won’t fight him. So, time after time, they vanish in a puff of dust. In fact, Diaz was actually one of the professional knuckle-chuckers accused of side-stepping a bout with The Dream. In his last outing, Diaz moved up and contested his first fight at lightweight against Javier Fortuna for the vacant interim WBC 135-pound title.
After twelve rounds, Jo Jo was accredited with a unanimous decision victory and named the mandatory challenger for Haney’s WBC strap. Rather than doggedly pursue his title shot however, Diaz poured more earnest interest in dancing with Ryan Garcia.
YOU FOR REAL THIS TIME?
At the time, Haney did not fail to notice the evasion nor did he miss the opportunity to call him out on it. Despite his goading, nothing of significant note transpired, and talks of the fight blew away like cigar smoke in a strong breeze. Now, however, it would appear that there have been meaningful actions being taken behind the scenes. If a Haney versus Diaz fight was to come to fruition, this would be a good look for both teams.
Obviously though, Diaz has far more to win than does Haney. First and foremost, he can engage in legal larceny and strong-arm The Dream for his title. Even with a belt, Haney has had an unmerciful time securing big time fights. Needless to say, without the title, his predicament would increase many times over. Derailing The Dream’s immediate future would be a tremendous feather in Jo Jo’s cap.
At the same time, while Diaz is a great name and bona fide talent, he did still just move up in weight. Bearing this in mind, it’s easy to see a Haney win being written off as an instance of “weight bullying.” Regardless, if The Dream can’t make a premium fight with 135-pound champions Teofimo Lopez (WBA super, WBO and IBF), Gervonta Davis (regular WBA) or Ryan Garcia, then Diaz is certainly not a sour consolation prize. Yet, as it is in boxing, you shouldn’t get too excited about talk until there is ink drying on a contract. Sometimes not even then, just ask Errol Spence Jr! So let’s just wait and see where the talks go next.
By: Bakari Simpson