Haney eyeing leverage with Lopez

Devin Haney is still targeting a fight with Teofimo Lopez.

The 25 year old on Saturday challenges the WBC super lightweight champion Regis Prograis at the Chase Center in San Francisco.

He does so having signed with Matchroom after the conclusion of his promotional agreement with Top Rank, the organisation under which Lopez most recently defeated Josh Taylor.

Taylor-Lopez took place shortly after Haney defended the undisputed lightweight title with victory over Vasyl Lomachenko, and ahead of Haney’s anticipated move to 140lbs, his father, trainer and manager Bill attended Taylor-Lopez and Prograis-Danielito Zorrilla on successive weekends.

At a time when they were in discussions with Matchroom, Top Rank, and Saudi Arabia’s Skills Challenge Entertainment regarding the latest chapter of his career, Haney identified Matchroom and a fight with the 34-year-old Prograis as their favoured next move.

Lopez’s status as the world’s leading super lightweight, as a consequence of the strength of his impressive victory over Taylor, regardless means that a fight between he and Haney – until recently the world’s leading lightweight – would have considerable appeal. "[Regis Prograis] was an easy fight to be made," Haney said. "Me and Eddie [Hearn] have a great relationship – great working relationship – and I was a free agent. 

“I did what I did with Top Rank – [I] take care of my business, and we were back to talking with Eddie Hearn. He has Regis Prograis, so it was easy.

“I wanted to get a title. That way I had leverage if a Teofimo [Lopez] fight was to be made – I wanted to go into the fight with the title, so when negotiating we’re coming in with a title. And, yeah – it’d be much more pie on our side.

“Matchroom had a fight that was easy to be made. They were interested in making the fight; Regis [Prograis] was clearly willing to make that fight happen, so that was how my decision was made.”

Haney’s impressive victory over Lomachenko remains the subject of controversy, owing to the numerous observers who believe that Lomachenko deserved the decision. Asked if he had considered giving the Ukrainian a rematch, Haney then responded: “It definitely crossed my mind – multiple times. I had a talk with my dad and Top Rank about what a rematch would look like, what would the figures be, and it didn’t add up. 

“It didn’t make sense, you know? I know that it will be a big fight – much bigger than the first one. It was controversy – of course, the second one was going to be bigger, but the the numbers didn’t seem to be that much bigger

“I knew it was a close fight. But, you know, it’s just boxing – what can you do? That was the guy that they wanted to win – that they picked to win. They booed me the whole time, you know? They – the crowd – went crazy for everything that he did, and I barely got cheers for what I did. It wasn’t a surprise for me [that it led to such controversy].”