Devin Haney, Teofimo Lopez Jr., Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia should all be facing off against one another in some form, order or fashion, but boxing frequently fails to deliver much-desired fights in a timely manner.
The WBC lightweight champion Haney (25-0, 15 KOs) has a pair of mandatory defenses of his title waiting in Garcia and Javier Fortuna, and all signs are pointing for the 22-year-old to take the latter.
“It’s going to be a great fight [against Fortuna], but I see myself being victorious. I see myself winning an easy fight, but I feel it would be good for boxing if it happens,” Haney told Behind The Gloves. “Of course, I want the top guys, but if I can’t get them, then I need to go next in line to see whoever is next in line. If I can’t get him, then I need to go next in line like I’ve been doing.”
Haney is coming off a unanimous decision win over 2004 Olympics gold medalist Yuriorkis Gamboa in November. The popular consensus was that more was desired from the upstart 135-pounder against the fading 39-year-old Cuban who was coming off a KO loss to “Tank” Davis and a torn Achilles to boot.
“I showed that I’m a master boxer and have a crazy ring IQ to go in there and not take any punishment against Gamboa,” said Haney. “The top guys haven’t been able to do that.”
Haney then added that he wants to mold himself in the same way Floyd Mayweather Jr. once did during his “Pretty Boy” phase when he was starting out in what eventually would become a Hall of Fame-bound career.
“I want to pattern myself to when Floyd didn’t get the millions, millions and millions of dollars yet,” said Haney. “Floyd was still on the come up like me. Floyd was more defensive-minded when he got older. When he was younger, he was more offensive-minded. He threw a lot more punches and he would try and hurt his opponents more.”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com