Devin Haney is keeping his focus solely on Jorge Linares for now
Devin Haney has it all down. The 22-year-old who holds a version of the WBC lightweight title says the right things, does the right things, and is not going to venture too far out of his comfort lane.
Haney (25-0, 15 knockouts) will be defending the edition of the WBC title he holds this Saturday when he faces 35-year-old Jorge Linares (47-5, 29 KOs) in the main from Mandalay Bay’s Michelob Ultra Arena on DAZN (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT).
Haney knows what’s looming, if he wins, a unifying title shot at Ring Magazine, IBF/WBA/WBO/WBC franchise champion Teofimo Lopez.
But Haney, The Ring’s No. 3 lightweight, would rather keep his attention on what’s directly in front of him and that’s Linares, The Ring’s No. 7 lightweight.
So, he’s in safe-speak mode.
“I’m very excited and this is something that I’ve been waiting for my whole career,” Haney said. “I’m mentally on a whole other level. Linares has brought something out in me and nothing will stop me. I worked my butt in this camp and I feel like I can’t be stopped.
“I would say I’m always getting better, but physically I’m an overall better fighter. If you keep doing your job every day, it’s proven that you’ll get better. I know I’m going to beat whoever is front of me and the time will come.”
That’s what everyone seems to forget about Haney—that he is just 22.
“If anyone has time, it is me, because of all of the top guys, I am the youngest,” Haney said. “I don’t watch film of my opponents, because I prepare for everything. I would rather learn in the ring and adjust. You never know what you’re going to see. I have seen film of Linares though.
“I can watch film on Linares all day, I just have to wait and see what he does. He is a veteran and it will be interesting to see.”
Haney had one fight last year, after fighting four times in 2019. Haney likes activity. He’ll fight anyone, even if it’s a wet mop. He eats, breathes and sleeps boxing.
“You don’t have a long career in boxing, it comes and goes, and with the pandemic in 2020, I just stayed in the gym and built a gym inside my house,” said Haney, who’s had a new gym built in his new home in Las Vegas. “It’s not strange for me to work out at 3 or 4 in the morning when I have a big fight coming up.
“When I feel like working out, I’ll just go and work out. After this fight, the goal this year is to get in the ring at least one more time after this. It all depends on how this fight goes. I went to go in there and I want to be dominant.”
Haney did not want to discus the possibility of fighting Lopez next, if he gets by Linares.
“I’ve always had a sharp focus,” Haney said. “It’s why I have to keep it on Linares. The list of who is next is the list. I know it, everyone knows it. But I don’t get there if I don’t put on an A-plus performance. I’m a perfectionist and I expect the best.”
Haney ran over Yuriorkis Gamboa in his last fight in November 2020. It marked the first time Haney fought since undergoing shoulder surgery in December 2019 to repair a microscopic tear in his right labrum.
Haney says the shoulder feels great.
“I trust the shoulder and I trust it by now just by using it,” Haney said. “This is the healthiest I’ve been in two years and I want to showcase everything I do, from ring generalship, to my power and speed, my ring IQ. I want to show everything.”
That will be good, considering someone who may be watching this Saturday is someone Haney may see soon—Teofimo Lopez.
Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/RingTV.com since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on twitter @JSantoliquito.