LAS VEGAS - Devin Haney refuses to lend any energy to the claim that his title doesn’t factor into the discussion of recognizing an undisputed lightweight champion.
The conversation has picked up steam in the wake of George Kambosos defeating previously unbeaten lineal/WBA “Super”/IBF/WBO/WBC “Franchise” champion Teofimo Lopez (16-1, 12KOs) last Saturday at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater in New York City. Sydney’s Kambosos (20-0, 10KOs) collected all of those belts in the process, including the WBC “Franchise” title which is supposed to be a designation and non-transferable yet has changed hands in back-to-back fights.
The WBC repeatedly referenced Lopez as the undisputed champion and claims the same of Kambosos, all while simultaneously recognizing Las Vegas’ Haney (26-0, 15KOs) as its “World” lightweight champion. It not only adds confusion but is also a slight towards its recognized titlist who has followed the rules and who continues to simply focus on what’s in his control.
What’s not an option is relinquishing the belt, no matter the disrespect shown by the sanctioning body.
“It’s been a long journey to get here and I’m not ready to give it up that easy,” Haney told BoxingScene.com and other reporters following the final post-fight press conference for his title defense versus Joseph ‘JoJo’ Diaz this Saturday at MGM Grand Garden Arena in his Las Vegas hometown. “They can say what they want to say. At the end of the day, it’s still disputed. How can you say there’s an undisputed champion when the world is disputing it? They can say what they say.”
Haney intends to have his say this weekend. The fight with Diaz (32-1-1, 15KOs) comes one week after Kambosos-Lopez, with both bouts airing live on DAZN. Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis (25-0, 24KOs) defends his secondary WBA lightweight title versus streaking contender Isaac ‘Pitbull’ Cruz (22-1-1, 15KOs) this Sunday on Showtime Pay-Per-View from Staples Center in Los Angeles. One week later, former titlists Vasiliy Lomachenko (15-2, 11KOs) and Richard Commey (30-3, 27KOs) collide atop a December 11 ESPN card from Madison Square Garden.
Kambosos will be ringside for at least Haney-Diaz, if not all three shows. At some point, the newly crowned unified champ will head home to celebrate. Chances are, there will remain conflicting takes on the lightweight title picture—to which, Haney has the ultimate solution.
“Let’s just go in there and do it for all the belts,” insists Haney. “After that, there won’t be no disputing it. The winner will be the winner and there won’t be no more dispute.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox