A promise was kept in time for another top lightweight fight to make its way to the end-of-year schedule.
Multiple sources inform BoxingScene.com that all terms have been reached for a title consolidation clash between WBC lightweight titlist Devin Haney and interim beltholder Joseph ‘Jo Jo’ Diaz. The fight has been in discussion for weeks, with Haney already on board for the fight and Diaz’s side accepting final revisions and committing to the fight Tuesday according to sources.
The fight is due to take place December 4 on DAZN live from Haney’s hometown of Las Vegas, likely at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Matchroom Boxing was granted approval to stage a boxing event at the venue for a previously held December 3 date during the most recent Nevada State Athletic Commission monthly agenda hearing. An official announcement is expected as early as Wednesday.
ESPN.com boxing insider Mike Coppinger was the first to report the news.
Haney (26-0, 15KOs)—who turns just 23 on November 17—will attempt the fourth defense of the WBC title he has held for more than two years. The unbeaten lightweight—originally from California’s Bay Area—initially claimed the interim title in a one-sided fourth-round stoppage of Zaur Abdullaev in September 2019, and was granted an upgrade prior to his November 2019 unanimous decision victory over Alfredo Santiago in Los Angeles.
Post-pandemic wins over Yuriorkis Gamboa and Jorge Linares have followed. The win over Linares marked Haney’s first title defense in his adopted hometown of Las Vegas, where he will now appear for a second straight main event.
Diaz (32-1-1, 15KOs)—who turns 29 on November 23—emerged as the frontrunner to land the assignment once he saw other plans fall through. The 2012 U.S. Olympian and former IBF junior lightweight titlist was due to face unbeaten contender Ryan Garcia atop a November 27 show in the greater Los Angeles area. Garcia (21-0, 18KOs) withdrew from the fight, citing a hand and wrist injury which required surgery.
Negotiations went back and forth for weeks, with Diaz rejecting previous offers from Matchroom Boxing before getting them to commit to a financial package more in line with what he was due to make versus Garcia. Other lingering issues in the written agreement prompted the South El Monte, California native to further review before ultimately agreeing to terms in an effort to become a two-division titlist.
The fight lands in the heart of significant action within the division, all taking place in the span of three weekends.
The oft-postposed showdown between lineal/WBA/IBF/WBO lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez Jr. (16-0, 12KOs) and IBF mandatory challenger George Kambosos Jr. (19-0, 10KOs) is set for November 27 at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater in New York City. The following weekend will see Haney-Diaz on December 4, followed one night later by the divisional return of Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis (25-0, 24KOs) who defends his secondary version of the WBA lightweight title. The unbeaten southpaw will most likely faces Isaac ‘Pitbull’ Cruz (22-1-1, 15KOs), as a replacement is sought for Rolando ‘Rolly’ Romero who was removed from the Showtime Pay-Per-View event.
Anchoring the lightweight run, former three-division titlist Vasiliy Lomachenko (15-2, 11KOs) faces former IBF lightweight titlist Richard Commey (30-3, 27KOs) atop a recently announced December 11 show in the main room at Madison Square Garden.
Haney offered to step in and face Davis once Romero (14-0, 12KOs) was forced off the card due to an ongoing police investigation, though few in the industry took it as more than gaining leverage to convince Diaz to sign for the fight.
In the end, Diaz kept an earlier promise made to face the unbeaten titlist.
“If you guys don’t know by now, I want them all,” Diaz told BoxingScene,com in October, when the fight was still in negotiation. “I will continue to take on the best challenges for my career until it’s all said and done.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox