Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Devin Haney have built a deeper and much closer relationship of late.
The BWAA Fighter of the Decade has taken Haney under his wing in recent weeks, training with the Las Vegas resident at the Mayweather Boxing Club, flying together in his private jet and inviting him over to his house and giving him a first hand look at his spoils in and out of the ring.
Haney (24-0, 15 KOs), the 21-year-old WBC lightweight champion, is promoted by Matchroom Boxing. Mayweather is the head of Mayweather Promotions who promotes the star of his stable and perhaps a future Haney opponent in WBA lightweight titlist Gervonta Davis (23-0, 22 KOs).
Mayweather has discovered newfound love and zeal for training fighters after his coach and uncle Roger Mayweather passed away in March. Floyd Jr. addressed what some are thinking may be a murky situation in helping develop a potential future Davis rival in Haney.
“Listen, it’s obvious, I’m giving back to the sport. At the end of the day, [Haney is] a black kid that asked for my advice and asked for my help,” Mayweather told Fight Hype. “All I’m doing is helping a young black kid become successful. I’m going to continue to help young black fighters grow. I want the best for all these fighters. And I want the best for Tank, and I want the best for Devin.
“It’s no different from anyone supporting their own first. Mexicans support Mexicans, Dominicans support Dominicans, Chinese support Chinese, Puerto Ricans support Puerto Ricans. I’m a black American supporting my people first … “[Haney] and Tank aren’t fighting. Devin Haney is fighting only one more fight at 135. He’s going to 140. Gervonta Davis fights at 130.”
Shortly after Haney’s training clips hit social media, Davis tweeted on May 19: “I was gonna do camp in Vegas but now that’s over wit!” without any further context.
According to a May 21 story published on Metro, the United Kingdom's highest-circulation print newspaper, Davis wrote on Instagram: ‘I’ve been doing well by my lonely… both of their ass the opps anyway. I’m ready to fight whoever… including Floyd. That’s not trolling, them facts.”
Haney has been documenting his days with Mayweather on social media and has labeled the meetings as a “passing of the torch.”
Last December, Haney tweeted “Haney vs Davis 2020” immediately after Davis knocked out out Yuriorkis Gamboa in Atlanta.
The challenge was brought to Davis’ attention in the locker room by ESNews.
Davis responded, “He just called me out? … They want to do that [to get their numbers up] … His dad told him to do that. He doesn't make decisions on his own. I'd knock that young n---- out. He better relax."
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist and member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011. He has written for the likes of the LA Times, Guardian, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Men’s Health and NFL.com. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com.