Lingering Hope for Haney v Russell Bout
For a number of weeks, WBC world lightweight champion Devin “The Dream” Haney (24-0, 15 KO’s) and WBC world featherweight champion “Mr.” Gary Russell Jr (31-1, 18 KO’s) have been warring on social media. The two pugilists were attempting to put together a prizefight but had run into a number of hurdles.
The DC native first had a problem with the money. Then he was miffed over certain wording in the term sheet regarding DAZN’s involvement. Each time that Russell came across something that he did not care for, he was quick to go to social media to air his dislike publicly. It got to the point that it did appear as if Team Haney was not handling their side of the business as well as possible.
As the impression that the negotiations were falling apart increased, Russell went into a week-long media blackout. Even worse for those who wanted to see this intriguing bout, Team Haney appeared to be looking to stage a fight with former world champion Yuriorkis Gamboa (30-3, 18 KO’s). The Dream had publicly stated he had his eyes on this fight well before the back and forth with Russell took center stage.
Now, Russell has broken his silence. Once again, on his Instagram live, the WBC featherweight champion explained how he was still trying to make the Haney fight a reality. In this most recent post though, Russell revealed that DAZN was, and always had been, on board with green lighting the fight. This was a complete reversal of his original message.
Initially, the DC native insinuated that DAZN was not behind the fight at all. Yet, to clarify, Russell explained that they were only backing the specific November 7 fight date. DAZN was also not going to put up the money for the bout. Team Haney however, raised the money on their own.
Now, in his latest social media post, Mr. Gary Russell stated that he had a problem with that date and this was now part of his hold up. According to him, he wanted a full eight weeks to stage a proper training camp.
“We definitely trying to make this mothafucking fight happen! They are talking about fighting on November 7, this that and the third. The reason why this November 7 date is even a date that they put out there is because that was the date that they were already obligated to.
Devin Haney was already in camp, he was already training. Even if me and Devin Haney would not have had this conversation and got to talking, he would have been competing, fighting someone on November 7 because that was the date that Matchroom and DAZN had available for him.
I’m definitely in the gym, I always stay in the gym. It’s a way of life for me…but I am not training as if I’m getting ready for a fight as of yet. A proper camp is eight weeks…this fight is much bigger than what everybody saying, so let’s make something happen!”
It’s somewhat odd that Russell is now using this as his rationale for holding up the negotiations. It is odd because in virtually every social media post he has presented, he is in the gym and continuously harps on how hard he is working in training. In his latest post though, he insists that this is not actual training for a fight but just working to stay in shape.
At this point, both teams at different junctures have come across as looking less than serious about getting the bout done. And honestly the back and forth has become very tiresome. If the two teams are serious, it would be very ideal if they would stop airing small sections of their gripes publicly and just do what needs to be done behind the scenes.
If forced to bet on the matter, the smart money would suggest that we’re going to see Haney versus Gamboa next. However, let him tell it, Russell believes that the Haney bout can be salvaged and that is the fight that he actually wants. So in the meantime we’ll have to wait and see how this drawn out saga concludes itself.
By: Bakari Simpson