Devin Haney lives and trains in Las Vegas, but he hasn’t fought in his adopted hometown in almost five years.
That’s about to change. BoxingScene.com has learned that the 22-year-old Haney’s WBC world lightweight title defense against Jorge Linares has been scheduled for May 29 at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
The unbeaten Haney’s bout with Linares will mark the emerging 135-pound champion’s first fight in Las Vegas since May 2016, when he was just 17. DAZN will stream Haney-Linares worldwide as a main event on the Saturday night of Memorial Day weekend in the United States.
In accordance with the state of Nevada’s COVID-19 restrictions, Mandalay Bay's Michelob ULTRA Arena—formerly known as Mandalay Bay Events Center—will be limited to 50 percent of its full capacity of approximately 12,000 for the Haney-Linares card.
Haney-Linares will be the second boxing event in Las Vegas for which capacity limits will be increased to 50 percent during the COVID-19 pandemic. Jose Ramirez-Josh Taylor, a 140-pound title unification fight for Ramirez’s WBC and WBO and Taylor’s IBF and WBA belts, will be held May 22 either at Mandalay Bay Events Center or MGM Grand Garden Arena.
The Haney-Linares fight initially was targeted for May 15, but it’ll take place nearly two weeks later.
The 35-year-old Linares (47-5, 29 KOs) has lost by technical knockout five times, including a first-round TKO loss to Mexico’s Pablo Cesar Cano (33-7-1, 23 KOs, 1 NC) in a 140-pound bout two years ago at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater in New York. Cano knocked Linares to the canvas three times before their scheduled 12-rounder was stopped 2:48 into it.
Venezuela’s Linares, a former WBA and WBC lightweight champion, is still considered a step up in competition for Haney (25-0, 15 KOs). Haney, an Oakland, California, native, has beaten Russia’s Zaur Abdullaev (12-1, 8 KOs), the Dominican Republic’s Alfredo Santiago (13-1, 5 KOs) and Cuba’s Yuriorkis Gamboa (30-4, 18 KOs) in his three lightweight title bouts.
Gamboa has won world titles in three weight classes, but he was 38 when Haney easily beat him by unanimous decision in their 12-rounder November 7 at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.