By: Hans Themistode
WBC lightweight titlist Devin Haney has watched his contemporaries take center stage over the last few weeks.
Last month the California native witnessed history as Teofimo Lopez outboxed Vasiliy Lomachenko to become the youngest undisputed champion of all time. Two weeks later, Haney (25-0, 15 KOs) jumped out of his seat as he watched Gervonta Davis score a one punch knockout over Leo Santa Cruz on Showtime Pay-Per-View.
With those two out of the way, the boxing world was fixated on his own lightweight contest against Yuriorkis Gamboa this past Saturday night. Haney may have won virtually every round according to the judge’s scorecards, but he left a box unchecked on the night.
“I wanted to knock him out,” said Haney to Fight Hype following his victory. “I knew that he was durable and that he would try to survive but that mother fucker is scrappy. The key was getting the knockout but it was a good experience for me.”
Haney, 21, issued threat after threat in the direction of Gamboa during much of their build up. The WBC lightweight titlist believed that his soon to be 39 year old opponent would either lose every round or succumb to a knockout loss. Although the latter never presented itself, Haney has quickly moved on from his performance.
He’ll take the win, but with other notable fights in his division, he never wanted to face Gamboa to begin with.
“I wanna make the big fights happen. Gamboa was someone to fill in the space but that’s not the fight that I want. I want to make the big fights happen.”
Throughout the 13 year career of Gamboa, the former Olympic gold medalist has fallen short on the biggest of stages. His failures however, haven’t come without clear resistance. In June of 2014, Gamboa picked up the first loss of his career against Terence Crawford but not before outboxing him during the first few rounds and rocking him several times throughout the night. Just last year, Gamboa pushed two division world titlist Gervonta Davis to the 12th round for the first time in his career before ultimately getting stopped in the final minute of their contest.
While many elite fighters have struggled with Gamboa over the years, Haney sent a message to anyone who wants to juxtapose his performance to his peers.
“The other guys fought him and look at their face and look at mines.”
In terms of what the immediate future holds for the 21 year old, that picture could become crystal clear next month. Multiple time title challenger Luke Campbell and undefeated contender Ryan Garcia meet on December 5th, with the WBC interim championship on the line. The winner of their contest promptly becomes the mandatory challenger to Haney’s title.
Regardless of those factors, Haney could care less who wins between them. At the moment, he’s turned his attention to one thing, and one thing only.
“I’m looking forward to the title holders, I want all the belts.”