The trash talk isn’t getting to Devin Haney more so than what he believes is a fake persona put on by his divisional rival.
Plenty of words have been exchanged between the unbeaten WBC lightweight titlist and Sydney’s George Kambosos Jr. (20-0, 10KOs)—the reigning lineal/WBA/IBF/WBO champ—ahead of their undisputed lightweight championship this Sunday (local time) at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia.
USA Junior National Championships Silver medalist in Mobile 2013
Devin Miles Haney (born November 17, 1998) is an American professional boxer who has held the WBC lightweight title since 2019. As of May 2022, he is ranked as the world’s fourth-best active lightweight by The Ring magazine, Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, BoxRec and ESPN.
As an amateur, Haney won seven National titles. In January 2015, aged 17, he became the youngest boxer to win the Youth World Championships in Reno. He had an amateur record of 138–8 bouts before turning professional in 2015 at the age of 17. Out of those eight losses, two are from his now rival Ryan Garcia in the amateurs the two have fought four times, both having won twice.
Las Vegas’ Haney has fielded a litany of insults hurled by his foe, including outrageous claims of his being “an informant, a rat” while on stage for Monday’s fight week kickoff press conference. The comments were shrugged off by the 23-year-old American, who—in his mind—is still waiting for the real Kambosos to surface.
“This is the same George that I’ve always seen. He’s nothing but an actor,” Haney insisted when asked on stage of his thoughts on the undefeated Aussie. “He’s putting on an act. He’s putting on a facade.”
“Just like I acted with Lopez,” Kambosos immediately replied, talking over Haney as has been the case whenever the two have been in the same setting.
Haney (27-0, 15KOs) has endured far more obstacles than most fighters in his position would accept to pursue greatness. The ESPN televised main event (Saturday, 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT/Sunday, 11:00 a.m. AEST) marks the fifth title defence for Haney, who had to commit to a multi-fight co-promotional pact with DiBella Entertainment (Kambosos’ promoter) and Top Rank to land the fight.
The biggest moment of his career to date without anyone from the training team who has manned the corner for his past several fights. Bill Haney—Haney’s father—and Ben Davison were unable to travel due to visa issues for vastly different reasons. Former IBF lightweight titlist and past Kambosos foe Mickey Bey was not part of this training camp, in part due to his own planned comeback fight versus Tevin Farmer which was since postponed.
Haney turned pro at the age of 17 but could not compete in the United States due to the minimum age regulation, so his first four fights were in Mexico. At regional level he won the WBC Youth, IBF-USBA, IBF North American, WBC International, WBO Inter-Continental and WBA International lightweight titles as a professional.
On February 2, 2018 Haney was scheduled to fight Filipino Harmonito Dela Torre in an eight-round opening bout. Dela Torre had problems obtaining a visa and subsequently withdrew from the fight. Unable to find an opponent, the date was scrapped.
On January 11, 2019, Haney dominated a very tough opponent in Xolisani Ndongeni on the way to a 10-round unanimous decision win.
In April 2019, Haney signed a co-promotional deal between his own company, Devin Haney Promotions, and British promoter Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing.
On May 25, 2019, Haney defeated Antonio Moran via a vicious seventh-round knockout, in his first match under the Matchroom banner.
On September 13, 2019, Haney defeated Zaur Abdullaev (11–0) to win the vacant WBC interim lightweight title
Still, Haney has looked past everything standing in the way of his becoming undisputed champion, tuning out all the noise in the process and focusing simply on winning this weekend.
“At the end of the day, I take nothing away from him,” Haney said of Kambosos. “I have respect for him and I look forward to putting on a show for the fans.”