How Will Devin Haney Respond to the First True Test of His Legacy?
Prior to his encounter with Vasiliy “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko (17-3, 11 KO’s), undisputed lightweight champion Devin “The Dream” Haney (30-0, 15 KO’s) was itching to prove himself. Well back in 2019, the amateur standout worked his way into the mandatory position to challenge Lomachenko, who was then the 135-pound champion. Yet, before a fight could be negotiated, like one of And1’s finest showmen, Loma crossed-over and side-stepped The Dream. He pulled this off by vacating his recognized, historical regular WBC title and taking possession of the Cracker Jack WBC Franchise Champion designation.
As a result of Vasiliy Lomachenko, 35, vacating his title, Haney was elevated to full champion status and crowned the “Email Champion” all in swift motion. The Californian would then topple Yuriorkis Gamboa, Jorge Linares and Joseph Diaz before twice traveling to Australia. First to defeat George Kambosos to become the undisputed lightweight champion, and then again to defend his status. Yet, none of these victories got Haney, 24, the esteem that he craved. That is where Loma came in. The Ukrainian’s scalp was going to be his backstage pass to confirmed boxing royalty. Yet, Hi-Tech proved why he is a monster.
Ironically, Haney finds himself in a situation eerily similar to former lightweight rival Teofimo Lopez. Prior to dropping a split decision loss to George Kambosos, he delighted in calling himself an undisputed champion despite Haney owning the WBC title. In its place, Lopez possessed the WBC Franchise designation instead.
Of course, his die-hard fans, and shamefully some media outlets, cosigned Lopez’s false allegations. On the other hand however, countless individuals called Lopez out on his glaring nonsense. Minus the legitimate WBC title, Lopez was clearly not undisputed. Now, Haney legitimately has all the titles. Yet, identically to Teofimo Lopez, albeit for different reasons, The Dream’s declaration of “undisputed” is under more fire than a John Wick finale.
So, now the world watches for what Haney will do next. As he is very well known for being big for the division, he may logically go up in weight. And if his body sincerely can’t make weight, we can’t rationally be mad at him. If he remains at lightweight however, who The Dream tangles with next will be extremely telling. He most certainly has two sensational paydays waiting in the form of two-division champion Shakur Stevenson and Regular WBA lightweight champion Gervonta Davis.
Yet, up until now, one of Haney’s most repeated mantras is, ‘it’s not about money it’s about legacy.’ If this is true, then The Dream appears to have unfinished business with Lomachenko. For him to be a legend killer, you must kill the legend, or at least definitively prevail in battle. Haney accomplished neither. Floyd Mayweather Jr. doubled back to erase all doubt when he had a spotty initial performance versus Jose Luis Castillo, then wiping him out in the rematch. More recently, middleweight boxer Jermall Charlo lingered longer than wanted at 154-pounds just to knockout the hardnose Julian Williams.
Will Haney cut his losses and keep it pushing to the next foe? Or, will he go back to the drawing board and try to conquer Hi-Tech anew? Despite the claims of robbery, Devin Haney versus Vasiliy Lomachenko was an instant classic that put a high-intelligence, fast-paced and intense boxing stage front and center. Neither man ran away with it. This is why going back to silence any fan, hater or malcontents would be such an impressive move. Plus, assuming he did win minus controversy, what bigger gold star could Haney garner than by besting Loma in a voluntary rematch?
Only time will tell what unfolds next, but thankfully no matter where the cards land, 3Kings Boxing will be here to spell it all out.
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