Devin Haney remains open to staying at 135lbs, even though his promoter Bob Arum believes that “win or lose” he will move to super lightweight.
Saturday’s fight against Vasyl Lomachenko at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand is widely expected to be the 24-year-old Haney’s last at lightweight – where he is established as the undisputed champion.
On account of his struggles to make the 135lbs limit for last October’s rematch with George Kambosos Jr the expectation was that he was destined to move up after fighting Lomachenko on an occasion for which he is the favourite – partly because of the perception that they belong at different weights.
His preparations have been enhanced by him employing nutritionist James Lockwood – who also works with Gennady Golovkin – throughout his fight preparations instead of for just half of them, as he did before fighting Kambosos Jr, and having looked healthy at Tuesday’s grand arrivals in Vegas, around 72 hours before he is due to weigh in, he revealed that the exciting lightweight division could be where he remains
“My weight is good,” he said. “I did everything right. I had a nutritionist for eight weeks this camp – the last camp I had four weeks – and the first Kambosos fight I had six weeks. This camp I’ve had him for eight weeks. I feel great; feel strong. Man, I’m ready.
“My last camp he was working with Triple G so I couldn’t use him the last camp. That’s why I only had him for four weeks. But for my whole career – early fights I obviously couldn’t afford it, but once I started earning big money I wish I’d had a nutritionist. This is so much healthier – I feel so much stronger, and just better.
“It encouraged me a lot. My main focus is going in there, looking good and being victorious, and then we’ll see. I’ve got to see how I feel under those lights. Right now I feel great in the gym; I feel great working out. I feel strong just chilling – I don’t have to do too much training, too much other work, but I’ve got to see how I feel in the ring.
“This is definitely the wrong time for him. The perfect time for me. This is as strong as I’ve been. The most mature I’ve been through training camp. My mind is clear; I’m in great spirits. This is a bad time for this fight for him. I will show it in the ring; I will show how much better I got since the last performance. How much better I am; how much better I feel. Everything will show on May 20th.
“My body has had more time to make adjustments. If you’ve got a nutritionist for one month or two months – the benefits [double].”
At 35 Lomachenko, regardless of everything he has achieved, is widely considered a fighter in decline. A victory over him would still represent the most impressive of Haney’s career, and come in the last fight of his contract with Top Rank – after which he would likely become the world’s most valuable free agent.
Even were Haney to lose, the certainty that he has an exciting future and the near-inevitability of him being seen as having struggled to make weight means that he will receive lucrative offers from Top Rank and other promoters. The extent to which he and his father, trainer and manager Bill have followed so atypical a path to the top of his sport has also contributed to Arum’s plans for him being focused on 140lbs.
“It depends on the fight,” Arum told ProBox TV. “It depends on what anybody has to offer him, and if it makes sense for us.
“I think he has trouble making 135lbs. It’s not going to be easy [for him to stay there].”