Devin Haney would ideally want to fight the toughest opponent of his career before the start of the Ramadan holiday.
The undisputed lightweight champion and practicing Muslim is headed toward a showdown with former lightweight kingpin and three-division titlist Vasiliy Lomachenko next spring, but there is apparently some friction between Haney and the promoter of their event, Top Rank.
In a series of incensed tweets on Monday night, Haney said he has made it clear to Top Rank that he wants the fight with the Ukrainian southpaw to take place in March, so that it does not conflict with Ramadan, a month-long period of observance in the Islamic calendar that consists of prayer and, most crucially in Haney's case, fasting. Fighting before Ramadan, which takes place March 22 and ends April 21, would obviously benefit Haney.
But Haney, 24, indicated that despite making his preference known to Top Rank, the promotional company is aiming to stage the fight in May, which would theoretically deprive Haney a chance to have a proper training camp and make it harder for him to boil down to the lightweight limit of 135 pounds; Haney has been open about his weight struggles at 135 in the past and has considered moving up to 140.
In his tweets, Haney also suggested multiple times that Top Rank was favoring Lomachenko. The Ukrainian has been with Top Rank his entire professional career, while Haney linked up with the established Las Vegas firm earlier this year as part of a package deal to get the right to fight George Kambosos Jr. for the undisputed lightweight championship.
“These people want try to push my next fight with Loma to May… knowing the longer I stay at the weight the harder it is to make! Let’s do this sh!t in March!” Haney wrote.
“I literally told Top Rank I wanted to fight before Ramadan,” Haney wrote in another tweet.
Top Rank declined to comment.
In response to a Twitter user’s suggestion that he “fight someone else”, Haney suggested the issue at hand is the date, not the opponent, while hinting, once more, that Top Rank is trying to give Lomachenko a helping hand at his expense.
“It’s not about the someone else… it’s about giving me a date to fight! You know they want they boy Loma to have another shot!” Haney wrote.
Haney (29-0, 15 KOs) is coming off two consecutive dominant points win over Australia’s Kambosos. Haney won the rematch, held at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne in October, more decisively than the first encounter.
The 34-year-old Lomachenko (17-2, 11 KOs) is coming off a harder-than-expected points win over Jamaine Ortiz in October at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
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