Devin Haney has learned an invaluable lesson from the controversial comments he made last month.
The unbeaten WBC lightweight champion acknowledged during Chris Mannix’s most recent Sports Illustrated boxing podcast that he shouldn’t have stated he “will never lose to a white boy in my life” as part of a live YouTube chat with fans.
“The correct thing was to say that, you know, I wouldn’t lose to anybody,” Haney said. “You know, and you live and you learn. You know, I’m young and, you know, I understand what I said wasn’t the correct thing to say. But other than that, I feel like I won’t lose to anyone, any fighter.”
The 21-year-old Haney’s comments created a firestorm on social media, message boards and elsewhere. Haney, who is black, was taken aback by how some fans responded to his inflammatory comments.
“I was surprised [by] how the world was trying to – well, some of the fans were trying to portray me as someone that was racist, which is not the case at all,” Haney said. “You know, my siblings are half white, half black. You know, come on now, like my younger brother and sister. My stepmom is white. Like, come on now. So, it was crazy, too. My whole team is diverse. You know, I don’t discriminate. I’m not racist at all. So, that was definitely, you know, surprising. I didn’t expect that at all. But what can you do about it?”
Las Vegas’ Haney promptly apologized for his comments last month and realized he shouldn’t have said what he said.
Haney made those statements in response to a comment made about Vasiliy Lomachenko by someone identified as MehariNation Sports Podcast during a live chat on the 78SPORTSTV YouTube channel. Ukraine’s Lomachenko, the WBA/WBO lightweight champ, is white.
“I can tell you this – I will never lose to a white boy in my life,” Haney said. “I don’t care what nobody got to say. Listen, can’t no white boy beat me, I don’t care, on any day of the week. I fight a white boy like 10 times, I’m gonna beat him 10 times.”
The WBC recently reinstated Haney as its 135-pound champion. He was relegated to the WBC’s champion in recess after having shoulder surgery in December.
Haney (24-0, 15 KOs) will be allowed to make an optional title defense once the COVID-19 pandemic ends. If he wins that bout, Haney will have to defend his title against the winner of a bout between the Dominican Republic’s Javier Fortuna (35-2-1, 24 KOs, 1 NC), the WBC’s number one lightweight contender, and England’s Luke Campbell (20-3, 16 KOs), its second-ranked challenger.
Fortuna and Campbell were supposed to fight for the then-vacant WBC lightweight title April 17 at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland, because Haney was recovering from surgery. Fortuna-Campbell was postponed indefinitely due to coronavirus restrictions.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.