LAS VEGAS – Nothing that transpired during his win over Jorge Linares altered Devin Haney’s plans.
The WBC world lightweight champion still wants to fight Teofimo Lopez next. Now that Haney has beaten Linares, Lopez must win his June 19 fight against Australia’s George Kambosos Jr. to remain in position to face the unbeaten Haney in his subsequent bout.
Las Vegas’ Haney expects Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) to beat Kambosos (19-0, 10 KOs) in their Triller Fight Club pay-per-view main event next Saturday night at loanDepot park in Miami. Assuming the heavily favored Lopez wins, Haney wants to settle their WBC lightweight championship beef before either fighter moves up to the junior welterweight division.
“Of course. Why wouldn’t I want that fight next?,” Haney recently said. “I wanna become the real undisputed king of the lightweight division. I wanna make the biggest fights happen. This is the first of many, so let’s do it next.”
When asked if he had a message for Lopez, Haney simply repeated, “Let’s do it next.”
Eddie Hearn, Haney’s promoter, plans to make a “massive offer” to Lopez to fight Haney on DAZN if he conquers Kambosos, the mandatory challenger for Lopez’s IBF belt. Hearn also stated that he and DAZN executives would be open to Haney opposing Lopez in an ESPN Pay-Per-View event, if that’s the platform Lopez prefers.
Brooklyn’s Lopez is promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc., which has an exclusive content agreement with ESPN. Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing is partnered with DAZN.
Lopez informed BoxingScene.com that, after boxing Kambosos, he intends to demand that the WBC order a bout between him and Haney next. The 23-year-old Lopez owns the WBC franchise championship, which he won from former three-division champion Vasiliy Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KOs) on October 17 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The 22-year-old Haney (26-0, 15 KOs) survived getting hurt late in the 10th round by Linares and won a 12-round unanimous decision at Mandalay Bay’s Michelob Ultra Arena. The Oakland native reiterated after beating Linares (47-6, 29 KOs) that he still wants lightweight showdowns with rivals Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia, but the Lopez fight interests him the most because the winner would be considered the fully unified champion in the 135-pound division.
“All those guys are good,” Haney said. “I can’t just sit here and just lie to the media and lie to the fans and say all those guys aren’t good. Honestly, I think all those guys are good and all of them will be a huge fight [for me]. But I really want belts right now. I wanna become the undisputed lightweight champion of the world. So, the one that I would want the most is Teo.”
Lopez relentlessly refers to Haney as “the email champion,” a demeaning criticism of the WBC elevating Haney from interim champion to world champion once it declared Lomachenko its franchise champion in the lightweight division. In addition to the WBC franchise championship, Lopez won the WBA and WBO belts from Lomachenko.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.