Devin Haney is fighting two different battles on Saturday night.
On the one hand, the 22-year-old lightweight champion wants to defend his WBC belt against veteran former champion Jorge Linares, who still has great respect for the sport. on the other hand Haney needs to show why he deserves to compete with the other greats in the 135 pound.
Haney accomplished at least one of those things. He defeated Linares by unanimous decision to remain unbeaten and in the fight against other top names in the big divisions.
But is Haney’s performance enough to improve his long-term career path?
Let’s take a look at what’s next for Haney and Linares after the Las Vegas tournament.
Who will Honey fight next?
In a pre-fight interview, Haney lamented that other top fighters No need to line up to face him. Haney also said he shouldn’t have to be the one to convince everyone that he deserves to be fought with a famous opponent. As he holds the WBC belt and is ranked as one of the top 135 pound fighters.
As Haney said frankly, The controversial controversy in this fight is also interesting. Haney is extremely technically talented. But as a reward fighter One might argue that Haney is a high-risk, low-reward opponent for fighters such as Teofimo Lopez, Ryan Garcia or Vasiliy Lomachenko.
On Saturday, Haney fought like something had to be proven. He was willing to stand in front of Linares and punch a big punch – a noble tactic that ended in the loss of Haney when he was caught with a large right hand at the end of the 10th round.
At that moment, it was easy to sympathize with Honey. He spent the night doing what everyone wanted him to do by fighting directly with Linares and not just trying to defeat him. When Haney was faced with the risks that come with fighting like that. And get the game in the last two rounds He was punished for this.
Whatever the perception of Haney’s finishing when he survived the final two rounds He’s also doing more than enough to keep the belt on and prove he deserves a crack from the big names.
So why not Lopez? Lopez is facing George Kambosos Jr. in defense of his mandatory title on June 19. Lopez, who has three other major belts in the division. Able to face Haney and become the official champion with no problem, Lopez can then do whatever he wants.
It’s a huge fight that will generate interest in boxing and have the potential to be commercially successful. It’s the kind of competition that can tell us a lot about how Haney and Lopez are moving forward.
Can Haney beat one of the “big” lighters?
Other top names in the 135lbs are well known to most boxing fans, such as Lopez, Garcia, Lomachenko and Gervonta “Tank” Davis.
Haney’s biggest flaw is his lack of power to fight good opponents. He doesn’t appear to have hurt Linares significantly, nor did he knock down the faded Yuriorkis Gamboa in last year’s fight.
Yet, Haney is still so fast and technically good that it is impossible to cut him from the top fighters in the department. Aside from Lomachenko, Haney is the best of all lightweight boxers. Haney has shown that he can cling, move, and trade shots when he feels like it. And he almost easily won the round. The big question, as we’ve seen with Linares, is whether Haney can withstand the big punches and have the power needed to be effective at the highest level.
What should Linares do?
This is not an easy question to answer. It’s hard to say that Linares should have canceled after he collected the last 3 rounds with Haney. Linares was also identified and attacked by someone who was much faster and sharper.
So what does Linares have now? He is ESPN’s No. 7 lightweight player going into Saturday night. Which was fair after the battle of Haney. It is rare to see Linares, who will turn 36 in August. by defeating any current champion
But he is still good enough that he will be paid at least one more day against a quality opponent. A possible Lomachenko match is not a bad choice if Lomachenko defeats Masayoshi Nakatani, with Lomachenko looking for a man. another to win before fighting for world title again, or if Linares wants to go out and win. He may face one of the mid-tier light tier players Nakatani, Richard Commey and Javier Fortuna. Regardless of Linares’ career, that’s enough for an exciting battle.