Devin Haney has had various interactions on social media with his young lightweight rivals since the COVID-19 pandemic began in the middle of March.
The 21-year-old Haney is confident he would beat each of them, yet there’s a legacy-defining fight Haney wants more at the moment than showdowns with Gervonta Davis, Teofimo Lopez or Ryan Garcia. If the WBC lightweight champion could pick a prominent opponent, he’d choose Vasiliy Lomachenko, the most accomplished fighter within the 135-pound division.
“My dream fight would be with Loma,” Haney said during a live chat on the WBC’s Facebook page. “That is a fight for my legacy. That is a fight that will define who Devin Haney really is, and how much skills and, you know, IQ I really have, you know, when I show the world, you know, how I beat Loma. But all those fights are big fights for me. … But [Lomachenko] is the dream fight for me.”
Las Vegas’ Haney had an Instagram exchange with Ukraine’s Lomachenko, too, in which Haney (24-0, 15 KOs) predicted he would knock out the three-division champion. Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) discussed it in an interview with Top Rank’s Crystina Poncher for the promotional company’s YouTube channel.
“DAZN posted something about Haney, and he said he would knock me out,” Lomachenko said. “So that is why I answered him, ‘Hey, listen, are you serious?’ He has not fought anybody and now he is saying he is going to knock me out? I said, ‘No problem. Let’s do it.’
“Then he answered me right away, saying, ‘Yes, we can do it.’ I said, ‘OK, I am ready.’ He knows I am ready. I think he is ready, and we can give the fight for the fans that everybody wants.”
Their trash talk aside, Lomachenko, the WBA and WBO lightweight champ, will oppose Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs), the IBF champ, in his first post-pandemic bout. Their promoter, Bob Arum, told BoxingScene.com recently that he hopes to arrange that fight for September, even if it means staging it without an audience.
As for Haney, he is expected to make a voluntary defense of his title against an undetermined opponent late in the summer. If he wins, Haney then must make a mandated defense versus the winner of a WBC elimination match between number-one rated Javier Fortuna (35-2-1, 24 KOs, 1 NC) and Luke Campbell (20-3, 16 KOs), who is ranked second.
“I’m very thankful to be champion, you know, during this time, when the weight class has so many great fighters,” Haney said. “I’m very blessed and I’m looking, you know, to defend my belt against some of these, you know, good fighters.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.