Haney denies Prograis' claims he is promoter's pet

Devin Haney has dismissed Regis Prograis’ suggestions that their promoter Eddie Hearn wants Haney to win Saturday’s WBC super lightweight title fight.

Haney, having previously worked with Matchroom, signed for them again after his victory in May over Vasyl Lomachenko because of the opportunity to challenge Prograis.

Shortly after that fight in May, Prograis fought for the first time under the promoter, when he was unconvincing in outpointing Danielito Zorrilla. 

Aged 34 Prograis perhaps detects that at nine years his junior and having been the undisputed lightweight champion, Matchrooom and Hearn – who have made little secret of their admiration for Haney – are more invested in Haney’s future success, but ahead of the fight at the Chase Center in San Francisco, the city of his birth, Haney said: “Eddie can want whoever he wants to win. Eddie cannot fight for me. Eddie cannot fight for [Prograis]. 

“His coach [Bobby Benton] can’t fight for him. My coach [father Bill] can’t fight for me. My dad can’t fight for me; his dad can’t fight for him. So anybody can have their own opinion or how they feel. When we get in that square circle, then we’ll battle out, and the better man will win on that night.

“I don’t think about [which of us Matchroom might favour]. At the end of the day, this is business. I’m going in there to win another world title in another division. I’m not thinking about who Eddie [Hearn] likes more – that’s immature and that’s childish. I’m going there to win and show who’s the best.”

Haney was also asked about comments made by Hearn, before his victory over Lomachenko and when he was still associated with Top Rank, that Cuba’s Andy Cruz – then his latest signing – was already ready to beat any of the world’s leading lightweights, and he responded: “I didn’t know that. 

“I guess my main focus is Regis Prograis – beating Regis Prograis. Andy Cruz is on the undercard. That’s where he’s at, and I’m at where I’m at right now. You know – former undisputed champion. We’re talking about a guy with two fights, or if that – maybe three, I’m not even sure [Cruz has fought only once as a professional, when outpointing Juan Carlos Burgos in July]. I like Andy – I respect him – but, you know, I’m where I’m at for a reason.”