LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 04: WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney (R) connects with a punch on Joseph Diaz Jr. during a title fight at MGM Grand Garden Arena on December 04, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Haney retained his title by unanimous decision. (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)

Back in 2019, I had an opportunity to get to a fight at the National Harbor in Maryland, and the headliner was a kid I had not really heard of that time. My date canceled, but I decided to watch the bouts at home on DAZN anyway because I love boxing.  The fight was Devin Haney vs Antonio Moran. The fight ended in a tremendous highlight reel knockout by Devin the Dream Haney. From that point forward he had my attention anytime he got into the ring.

 Since that night, Haney has fought five times and won all five fights. Haney’s name has become part of a boxing quartet of young fighters that were expected to be the future of boxing and to make fights between each other for years to come. The other names of the “Four kings” are Teofimo Lopez who just lost all of his lightweight 135 pound belts last week to George Kambosos.  Ryan Garcia who has not fought since January, and does not have a fight scheduled, battled with depression this year and has been accused by his training gym mate Canelo of not taking boxing serious enough.  Tank Davis the final member of that group has been relegated to fighting B and C level fighters that are connected to the Mayweather Promotions brand.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 03: WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney poses on the scale during an official weigh-in at MGM Grand Garden Arena on December 03, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Haney will defend his title against Diaz at the arena on December 4. (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)

  Ryan Garcia had a fight scheduled with Joseph JoJo Diaz a former Olympian and a very tough fighter that only has one loss to Gary Russell Jr.  Garcia dropped out with an injury, and Devin Haney demanded to take Garcia’s spot and to fight Diaz. Haney is the WBC champion at 135 pounds and it is very unusual for champions to demand fights against tough opponents without a belt that are not known to be a huge draw.  But Haney went out and chased the challenge.  In front of a hostile crowd that ended up being a very pro Diaz crowd, Haney went out and out  boxed Diaz, in a tough and exciting fight. Haney successfully defended title earning a fairly wide decision getting the nod 117-111 on two of the judges’ scorecards, and 116-112 on the other card.  George Kambosos who was in attendance in Las Vegas, is now the intended target for Haney in order to fully unify the 135 pound division and to have an undisputed champion with the fight to happen in Australia in front of a huge crowd.  Haney and his camp have expressed willingness to travel to Australia to win the belts. 

Chasing challenges and being willing to travel into hostile territory is how a champion should behave.  Being willing to fight the best, and not hiding behind your “0”, is the way a tough young fighter should act.  Devin Haney is a young champion that can box, that has a tough chin, and a willingness to fight toe to toe even when he should not do so, yet the boxing community always has harsh words for him.  There are complaints about his lack of punching power because he hasn’t knocked out an opponent in his last five fights. 

There are complaints that say his fights are boring.  His last two fights against Jorge Linares and Diaz were action packed and exciting fights that went back and forth. But because Haney has taken some tough shots and “reacted” a certain way, fans and pundits love to criticize him. There was some other guy that called Las Vegas home. But he did not have a ton of punching power that folks accused him of having boring fights. Seemingly, he was able to sell pay per view and gather large crowds- named Floyd Money Mayweather.  If Haney can go to Australia and win the undisputed title at 135 maybe he will finally get the respect he deserves.  I respect him and appreciate him now and so should you.

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