WBC lightweight titlist Devin Haney is adamant that his 25th career bout will be his hardest one to date against Yuriorkis Gamboa, a fighter who’s old enough to be his father.
The 21-year-old Haney will be taking on the 38-year old Gamboa on Nov. 7 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida on DAZN.
“Gamboa is the toughest test up to this date for me,” Haney told IFL. “Gamboa is a veteran; he was a unified world champion, so Gamboa is no slouch, and he’s the best name on my resume so far. I can’t underestimate his power. In his last fight, he went 12 rounds with Tank [Gervonta Davis], so he’s durable, hungry, and I can’t underestimate him. Gamboa is a tough opponent; he’s been in there with the best. He hurt [Terence] Crawford [in a 2014 TKO loss]. He landed a good shot and hurt Crawford … Gamboa, trains hard. I want to put on a great fight for the fans.
“My dad is excited about this fight. He knows that Gamboa is a tough test. He knows I can’t take him lightly. Gamboa isn’t coming to lay down. I’m very excited to be back. It’s almost been a year since I’ve been off. I’m very excited to make my return, and I’m looking forward to putting on a good show for the people watching on TV.”
Despite the age discrepancy, Haney (24-0, 15 KOs) has just nine fewer professional fights than Gamboa (30-3, 18 KOs), a 2004 Olympics gold medalist for Cuba with extensive amateur experience.
The last time Haney was in the ring, he scored a shutout unanimous decision victory over Alfredo Santiago in November. He injured his shoulder in the fight and was sidelined for a few months, right until COVID sidelined him even further after he’s already mended.
Gamboa suffered an injury in his last fight too, hurting his Achilles in the second round of a 12th round knockout loss to Davis last December
Haney is excited to get back into action, regardless if there will be fans in attendance or not.
“At first, I was a little shaky about it,” said Haney. “I didn’t know how it was going to be, but ever since I’ve seen other fighters do it, I’m excited about it. And I feel like I’m going to be able to relax more, and it’s going to be closer to a sparring match.
“I can promise a great performance. I want to go in there and showcase my full arsenal. If the knockout comes, hopefully, it does come, then I’ll be happy about that … I’ll go in there and display everything that I have. I think the fans will be pleased with that alone.
“I want the top guys, whether it’s Lomachenko, whether it’s Teofimo [Lopez] or whether it’s Gervonta Davis. Any of the top guys, I’m willing to fight.”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist and member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011. He has written for the likes of the LA Times, Guardian, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Men’s Health and NFL.com. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com.