There is no denying Devin Haney’s boxing quality. It’s just that sometimes there are questions about his killer instinct.
After widely outpointing Yuriorkis Gamboa, many thought Haney should have got him out of there, as Essentially Sports commented, ‘Even though he could not put Yuriorkis Gamboa away in 12 rounds, Devin Haney managed to completely outclass his opponent that night’.’
This was going to be a different fight. A much tougher fight.
Let’s Stop Ragging On DAZN
DAZN produces cards. OK, sometimes they aren’t exactly close-run things, like the sometimes painful to watch Lejerraga v Flatley last night, it was a card last night. And then another the following night. And this was in Las Vegas, the home of Big Fighting, with an eagerly anticipated main event. Did you hear lots of people talking about the Gervonta Davis fight? No, because this is the one people wanted to see.
Let’s have none of this curled lip stuff because some cards come from some countries which are in Europe and aren’t the UK. Yes, there can be a discussion about matchmaking sometimes, but DAZN is producing products people want to see. And lots of it.
Why Was This Fight Tasty?
Jojo Diaz had the skills to make it so. He could match Haney for speed, had a wiliness and a willingness to take one to make one.
He had said to BBC:
I’ve been in there with really tough, undefeated fighters who thought they were going to win until I beat them.’
There was talk that he would cut the gap and get in close to make Haney pay.
Diaz also raised the specter of Haney not being in with fighters who can really take it to him and Eddie Hearn’s pushing of Haney as a real King in the Lightweight division has upset some. Let’s be clear, he’s a promoter, he’s supposed to do that. I’ve heard some concern about the companion between Haney and Floyd Mayweather ahead of the fight yesterday; again, promoters.
How Did It Look?
Looked Big Time. Seemed pretty full for the main event. The atmosphere was febrile. The crowd was pro-Diaz, boos for Haney. Make it feel like a really special event. DAZN don’t do frills and furbelows, they make fights.
It started with Haney letting his hands go a little as if to tell Diaz if he tried to cut the gap, this was what he would get.
Nevertheless, Diaz tried to get closer in the 2nd round, with Haney getting around the peek a boo guard and using his footwork well, as commentary pointed out, he had his left foot outside Diaz’s foot, giving him more space and stability.
Round 3 was a round to regard each other, until Diaz got in and out well, smacking Haney with an uppercut and jab, then sent in an undefended body shot in the next round. He roughed his opponent up a little, raising the speed a little and pressuring him. If Haney got the jab working right at the end of the round, his jawing at Diaz showed how troubled he was.
Haney started the next with intention, some real spite in the punches and that made Diaz think a little, stopping his progress. The next round was a peach as both had great movement and by the 7th, Haney seemed to have composure, he was looking for a way forward with real patience.
He even pushed him back to show that he could do it too. Until Diaz got back with a flurry of punches and a left hook – Haney smiled, so we knew he was bothered by it. But Haney reasserted his confidence and that brought boos from the crowd, so it was their time to be bothered. By round 9, Diaz wasn’t really doing as much, concerned about the counter perhaps, but the way it worked out was get tagged, walk forward, not do anything, get tagged – you can’t do that for long.
Suddenly, after a Haney uppercut, Diaz came to life and hurt Haney with 2 hooks. The crowd cheered, but Haney had won the round. And although Jojo came out throwing in the 12th, clearly understanding he needed a knockout and hurt Haney who looked a little woozy, it was far too late.
Haney Won Then?
By quite a wide margin, unanimous, 2 judges 117-111, one 116-112. It was never in any question, Haney was too good. And Diaz just didn’t do enough.
Sky Sports summed it up beautifully:
Devin Haney delivered his best performance so far to slickly outclass Joseph Diaz Jr on Saturday’.
How Does This Leave Them?
Well, for someone who said he would ‘expose’ Haney, Diaz didn’t get anywhere near, but he wasn’t knocked out, stopped, or humbled. Haney was just too good. Diaz is durable though, asks questions, and isn’t so good that he’ll be ignored. This fight burnished that reputation, but as for another title shot, I wouldn’t hold your breath.
Haney is the WBC Lightweight Champion. Now he wants more belts. All the belts that George Kambosos has – he was there, scouting.
It promises to be a good boxing matchup, with similarities to Diaz; he keeps coming forward, he won’t give up, but unlike Diaz, he actually throws stuff. That’s a bit of a disservice to Jojo, as he tried to be strong, tried to take control, but Haney just had too much speed, too much poise, too many angles.
It was just what Haney needed, a test which he passed with flying colors. In such a period of boxing reverse, I bet there were a few sighs of relief.
DAZN told us,
Devin Haney passed his toughest test with flying colors.”