Teofimo Lopez completely disagrees with Devin Haney on whether Lopez is boxing’s undisputed lightweight champion.
Lopez obviously believes his victory over Vasiliy Lomachenko validated him as the true WBC 135-pound champion. Haney contends that he is the legitimate WBC lightweight champ because Lopez captured the WBC’s “franchise” championship from Lomachenko, a distinction that was not supposed to be transferable when the WBC introduced it in June 2019.
Haney has thus accused Lopez and his promoter, Top Rank Inc., of attempting to “brainwash” boxing fans into recognizing Lopez as the sport’s undisputed lightweight champion (https://www.boxingscene.com/haney-lopez-top-rank-trying-brainwash-fans-into-thinking-hes-undisputed-champ--153021). Lopez laughed off Haney’s hyperbole and pointed out that Haney hasn’t fought anyone nearly as good or as accomplished as Lomachenko.
“I think that Devin hasn’t even gotten to the point yet where he’s fighting C-class fighters,” Lopez stated during an appearance Wednesday on “The Ak & Barak Show,” which streams from Monday through Friday on DAZN and SiriusXM. “He’s fighting Gamboa, who I think is a ‘D’ fighter.”
The 21-year-old Haney (24-0, 15 KOs) is a 33-1 favorite to beat the 38-year-old Gamboa (30-3, 18 KOs) on Saturday night in Hollywood, Florida. Their 12-round fight for Haney’s WBC world championship will headline DAZN’s stream from Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (8 p.m. ET; 5 p.m. PT).
To Lopez’s point, Ukraine’s Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KOs) is a two-time Olympic gold medalist who won world titles in three weight classes. The 32-year-old southpaw also was recognized as the one of the top three boxers, pound-for-pound, in the sport prior to his 12-round, unanimous-decision defeat to the 23-year-old Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) on October 17 at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.
Haney defeated Russia’s Zaur Abdullaev (12-1, 8 KOs) by technical knockout to win the WBC’s interim lightweight championship in September 2019 at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater in New York. The WBC elevated Haney from interim champ to world champ once it designated Lomachenko as its franchise champ at lightweight.
Haney has made one title defense – a 12-round, unanimous-decision victory versus the Dominican Republic’s Alberto Santiago (12-1, 4 KOs) last November 9 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Gamboa, who’ll turn 39 next month, was knocked down three times in his last bout by Baltimore’s Gervonta Davis (24-0, 23 KOs), who stopped Gamboa (30-3, 18 KOs) in the 12th round last December 28 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta.
Brooklyn’s Lopez doesn’t think Haney has earned a shot at his IBF, WBA “super,” WBC “franchise” and WBO belts. He does think he will win convincingly if they ever settle their dispute in the ring.
“Look, if that fight tends to ever come about, that’s just for bragging rights, honestly,” Lopez said. “Like I said before, even [in] the press conference … if we fight, it’s just for bragging rights for myself, just so I could even put a little more icing on the cake. And then, you know, with this loss, me beating him the way I know I would beat him, a lot of people would forget about Devin Haney. It’s on him, man, if he wants his career to be short.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.