Devin Haney and Co. understands the magnitude of his next fight.
The WBC lightweight titlist will fly to Melbourne, Australia on June 5 to face George Kambosos, holder of the WBO, WBA, and IBF belts, at Marvel Stadium for a full unification clash. The winner will become the undisputed champion of the 135-pound division, a first in the four-belt era, bringing the sort of clarity and coherence boxing is seldom known for. The 12-rounder will be televised on ESPN.
Although the fight has not yet been announced, Bill Haney, the father and manager of the highly regarded 23-year-old, recently reflected on the anticipated match-up.
“Let me let you know, by all means, we’ve already done our celebration,” the elder Haney told Tha Boxing Voice. “We’re in the big dance. We’re in the Super Bowl. We knew that along this whole process we were always willing to do anything and everything to make this thing happen.”
Talks between Team Haney and Team Kambosos went through a long period of peaks and valleys and at one point did not seem likely to happen. Ukraine’s Vasiliy Lomachenko, indeed, was the frontrunner to face Kambosos, and a deal was set in place, but the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine has compelled Lomachenko to put his boxing career on hold in order to help out in his homeland.
To get the Kambosos fight, Haney had to accept an immediate rematch to fight Kambosos in Australia in the event that Haney won and remained at lightweight, per terms laid out by Kambosos' promoter Lou DiBella and Top Rank Inc., which is the exclusive boxing content provider for ESPN. If Haney (27-0, 15 KOs) were to beat Kambosos (20-0, 10 KOs) a second consecutive time, he could be in line to face Vasiliy Lomachenko on ESPN Pay-Per-View.
Had Haney not been independent, this fight may not have happened. Haney had been promoted by Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing for the past several years, but he decided to become a promotional and network free agent last summer. After DiBella and DAZN, the platform with which Hearn has an exclusive output deal, were unable to come to terms, DiBella was able to strike up a deal with Top Rank.
“We did have to go through fire to make this thing happen,” Bill Haney said of negotiations, while adding that he appreciated that the Australian government chipped in to make this fight financially viable.
Bill Haney noted that given what was at stake for his son, they were never going to allow this opportunity to pass them by, no matter how heated the talks between the various parties went.
“From Newark to Oakland, we get it in baby,” Bill Haney, an Oakland native, said. “We don’t do no complaining. We just wanna be on the biggest stage at the biggest time, with the guy that you say is the man. The people have been consistent about Kambosos being the guy, Kambosos having the belts, Kambosos being who he is.”