SAN FRANCISCO – Devin Haney is convinced that his superb performance Saturday night should solidify his place as “Fighter of the Year.”

Haney has produced two career-changing victories in 2023 – a pair of 12-round, unanimous-decision defeats of highly regarded southpaws who’ve won multiple world titles. His 12-round domination of Regis Prograis on Saturday night at Chase Center was much more definitive than his debatable victory over Vasiliy Lomachenko on May 20 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

The unbeaten Haney nonetheless has produced two high-profile wins during a 6½-month span. The Oakland native started the year as boxing’s undisputed lightweight champion and finished it by becoming a world champ in a second weight class.

Haney (31-0, 15 KOs) was consistently listed as a 4-1 favorite to beat Prograis (29-2, 24 KOs), but the newly crowned WBC super lightweight champion was masterful while dropping Prograis in the third round and shutting him out by the same score, 120-107, on the cards of judges Rey Danesco, Mike Ross and Fernando Villarreal. Judges Tim Cheatham (115-113), Dave Moretti (116-112) and David Sutherland (115-113) had Haney-Lomachenko much closer.

The 25-year-old Haney stated his case and also lobbied for his father, Bill Haney, to win “Trainer of the Year” awards during his post-fight press conference. Bill Haney also works with promising prospects, including middleweight Amari Jones (11-0, 10 KOs), who knocked out Quilisto Madera (14-5, 9 KOs) in the fifth round on the Haney-Prograis undercard.

“I feel like I’m, you know, at this point that I should be ‘Fighter of the Year,’ ” Devin Haney said. “But also, not only that, but not only that, you know, they don’t wanna give my dad credit. But I think my dad deserve credit, ‘Trainer of the Year.’ You know, when they mention the best trainers in boxing, I don’t understand because they never mention my dad.

“But he is the best trainer in boxing, and it showed. Look at – we just went in there, went up in weight, you know, fought arguably the best at 140 and pitched a shutout, didn’t even get hit with nothing, handicapped him. Come on, now, my dad deserve ‘Trainer of the Year’ and I deserve ‘Fighter of the Year.’ ”

Devin Haney’s competition for subjective annual awards figures to come primarily from David Benavidez, Terence Crawford and Naoya Inoue.

Benavidez (28-0, 24 KOs) defeated former IBF super middleweight champ Caleb Plant (22-2, 13 KOs) by unanimous decision March 25 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. In his second fight of 2023, Phoenix’s Benavidez stopped previously undefeated two-division champ Demetrius Andrade (32-1, 19 KOs) after the sixth round November 25 at Mandalay Bay’s Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas.

Crawford (40-0, 31 KOs), of Omaha, Nebraska, was dominant when he dropped then-unbeaten rival Errol Spence Jr. (28-1, 22 KOs) three times en route to a legacy-enhancing, ninth-round technical knockout July 29 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Unlike Benavidez and Haney, however, Crawford fought only once this calendar year.

Japan’s Inoue (25-0, 22 KOs) became a champion in a fourth weight class by beating Stephen Fulton (21-1, 8 KOs) by eighth-round technical knockout July 25 at Ariake Arena in Tokyo.

Inoue won the WBC and WBO 122-pound titles from Fulton and can become a fully unified champion in a second division if he defeats Filipino southpaw Marlon Tapales (37-3, 19 KOs) on December 26 at Ariake Arena. Tapales owns the IBF and WBA belts.

Teofimo Lopez (19-1, 13 KOs) also produced an impressive victory at the top level in 2023, when the former IBF/WBA/WBO lightweight champ out-classed previously unbeaten Scottish southpaw Josh Taylor (19-1, 13 KOs) to win the WBO junior welterweight title June 10 in The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York. Like Crawford, however, Brooklyn’s Lopez fought only once this calendar year.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.