Devin Haney hopes he has inspired his contemporaries to walk it like they talk it.
By switching promoters and network/streaming affiliations, and agreeing to fight George Kambosos Jr. twice in Australia, if necessary, Haney has proven that he is willing to do whatever it takes to make the fights that he wants. If only other boxers, both in and out of the lightweight division, were willing to do the same thing, Haney feels as though the boxing business would be in a better place because this sport’s passionate fans would see more of the fights they want with regularity.
The 23-year-old Haney’s legitimate ambition led to him signing contracts for what could be back-to-back fights against Australia’s Kambosos in his home country.
Las Vegas’ Haney (27-0, 15 KOs), the WBC world lightweight champion, will travel to Australia late next month for his June 5 showdown with Sydney’s Kambosos (20-0, 10 KOs) at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne. If Haney wins, he is contractually obligated to an immediate rematch in Australia, presumably sometime late this year.
“I definitely did what a lot of guys in my position wouldn’t have did,” Haney told BoxingScene.com. “But that’s all it is. If I have to be the first guy to do it and set the tone, then so be it. I’m happy to be that guy to show you all of that ‘other side of the street’ or the traveling overseas, that they don’t wanna fight in their backyard, whatever it is, that if you truly believe in yourself and you truly believe in your skills, then all that stuff shouldn’t matter.
“Because when you get in that ring, it’s just mano e mano, you and him. So, I definitely set the tone and I should inspire the young guys coming up, and even the older guys before me – all that ‘other side of the street’ stuff is out the window. If you truly believe you’re a better fighter, you do what you gotta do to make the fights happen. And that’s what I did.”
ESPN will air Kambosos-Haney live the night of June 4 in the United States. Kambosos and the slightly favored Haney will headline a FOXtel Main Event pay-per-view show in Australia.
The winner, short of a draw or no-contest, will become boxing’s first fully unified lightweight champion of the four-belt era. In addition to Haney’s WBC world title, they’ll fight for Kambosos’ IBF, WBA and WBO belts.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.