Bill Haney doesn’t mind being questioned why his son, unbeaten Devin Haney didn’t sign a deal with Top Rank if their ultimate goal was a crack at unified titlist Vasiliy Lomachenko.
The father and head trainer of the rising lightweight start also doesn’t mind explaining—unfiltered and in full detail—his reasons for not going that route, instead signing with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing USA and DAZN for his current career path.
“It seems like the people are money washed by Bob Arum,” the elder Haney insisted during a recent edition of Trill Boxing Talk podcast. “It seemed like 400 years ago we woke up, but now it seems like we’re still asleep behind this magic that Arum is putting down.”
Haney (23-0, 15KOs) became the mandatory challenger to the World Boxing Council (WBC) lightweight title after stopping previously unbeaten Zaur Abdullaev after four rounds this past September in New York City.
The win netted him the WBC interim title, coming two weeks after Lomachenko (14-1, 10KOs) outpointed England’s Luke Campbell to become a three-belt lightweight titlist. The bout was co-promoted by Hearn and Arum, the two reaching an agreement to avoid a purse bid hearing, as was the case when Lomachenko made a mandatory title defense versus England’s Anthony Crolla earlier this year in Los Angeles.
Top Rank was among the companies whom Haney gave a long hard look in looking to partner up with his own company, Devin Haney Promotions, which would’ve placed him exclusively on ESPN platforms. Ultimately, the 20-year old lightweight and his team settled on Hearn and DAZN, believing it was the best fit in terms of brand integrity—and also of the belief that there would be a clear path to the lightweight title.
“Listen, we chose to be on this side of the street. The man called me out said. “You shouldn’t have…” Muthaf****a, I am on this side of the street. You just did a deal for the last (few) fighters came from this guy over here. What about that?
“Now if I had did a deal, respectfully... with Al Haymon, then y’all would’ve told me that Al’s not making the deal.”
Haney has fought twice so far under the DAZN banner, of the hope his first fight would have been versus Campbell for the WBC lightweight title. The opportunity instead went to Lomachenko, who—despite being a unified titlist—was able to successfully petition the sanctioning body in jumping the line to fight for the vacant title.
Haney’s bout with Abdullaev was supposed to ensure the winner first dibs at the full titlist, although it seems that both will instead take interim bouts. Haney will appear on the undercard of a Nov. 9 DAZN show headlined by a celebrity boxing match between YouTube personalities KSI and Logan Paul.
Meanwhile, it seems as if Lomachenko will wait out the Dec. 14 showdown between the division’s lone other titlist, Richard Commey and unbeaten mandatory challenger Teofimo Lopez, as Arum has been vocal in wanting to match the winner with his star client in the first quarter of 2020.
“We made a deal so this fight could happen,” notes Haney. “Unfortunately, I got to speak with Eddie about it because that’s the fight we did the deal to make happen. We thought that this would’ve been a no-brainer. We want to go in as the B-side with Lomachenko.
“We didn’t want to deal with Top Rank (instead, forcing the fight as the mandatory). We want to go in as a co-promotion, go in as the B-side, shock the world and run off with the money, man. Period. We don’t need to be the A-side. We don’t need to be protected. We don’t do the witness protection plan. We’re not protecting, man. We don’t need Arum. We’re blocking a whole lot of money.”
In the event that Lomachenko gets to face the winner of Commey vs. Lopez straight away, the question then becomes how long does Haney wait in line for a title shot that—by WBC’s own rules—should have already been enforced by that point.
“Even if he becomes undisputed, are you going to fight Devin Haney then?” Bill Haney questions in a tone that suggests he already knows the answer.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox