Devin Haney is running out of time.
BoxingScene.com has learned that if the unbeaten WBC world lightweight champion wants an opportunity to become boxing’s fully unified lightweight champion June 5, he’ll have to accept a deal as soon as possible from George Kambosos Jr.’s promoter, Lou DiBella. Executives for DAZN and DiBella have been unable to reach a deal for that streaming service to carry a Kambosos-Haney fight in two months from Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia.
Now that talks between DAZN, which has streamed Haney’s past six fights, and DiBella have ceased, it is likely that ESPN would air a Kambosos-Haney bout the night of June 4 in the United States if Haney accepts DiBella’s offer. Haney does not have an exclusive contract with DAZN, which would afford him the flexibility to battle Sydney's Kambosos on ESPN.
Whether it’s Haney or what would be Kambosos’ Plan C, DiBella told BoxingScene.com that the announcement of Kambosos’ next opponent is forthcoming. DiBella declined comment otherwise.
The Victorian government in Australia has committed to substantial financial support to bring Kambosos’ first defense of his lightweight titles to Melbourne. An announcement of Kambosos’ upcoming opponent is time sensitive for the purposes of officially announcing the event and putting tickets on sale.
Haney has been offered a financial package at least equivalent to the terms accepted by Vasiliy Lomachenko. Ukraine’s Lomachenko agreed to box Kambosos (20-0, 10 KOs) last month in a main event ESPN would’ve televised, but he withdrew from the fight last weekend to remain in his home country to assist in its war with Russia.
Las Vegas’ Haney (27-0, 15 KOs) then became Kambosos’ primary option. The 23-year-old Haney has said publicly that if he were offered the same deal as Lomachenko, he would accept it to battle Kambosos, who owns the IBF, WBA, WBC franchise and WBO lightweight titles.
Though Kambobos upset Teofimo Lopez by split decision in their 12-rounder November 27 to win four 135-pound championships, Haney has a legitimate claim to the WBC’s lightweight title. He beat Russia’s Zaur Abdullaev (15-1, 9 KOs) by technical knockout after four rounds to win the WBC interim title in September 2019 at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater in New York.
The WBC later elevated Haney to the status of world champion and named Lomachenko its franchise champion. Lopez (16-1, 12 KOs) upset Lomachenko (16-2, 11 KOs) by unanimous decision in October 2020 at MGM Grand Conference Center to win the IBF, WBA, WBC franchise and WBO belts.
Kambosos, 28, was the IBF’s mandatory challenger for one of Lopez’s championships when he beat Lopez almost four months ago at Hulu Theater.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.