Devin Haney and Vasyl Lomachenko are both confronting the “biggest tests” of their careers, according to the former’s father, trainer and manager Bill.
On Saturday at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand the 24-year-old Haney defends his undisputed lightweight title against the great Vasyl Lomachenko, whose career in the event of defeat could even be left in disrepair.
The 35-year-old Ukrainian succeeded the retired Floyd Mayweather – who Haney has in many ways modelled himself on – as the world’s leading fighter. but since his unexpected defeat by Teofimo Lopez in 2020 has been widely regarded as in decline.
He regardless represents the toughest fight of Haney’s career – the American last year twice travelled to Australia to defeat George Kambosos Jr, who had beaten Lopez and was a fighter in his prime – little over a month after Gervonta Davis, another of their rivals, stopped Ryan Garcia to record his biggest win.
Confidence in Haney from those around him is such that they are content for his promotional agreement with Top Rank to expire at the conclusion of Saturday’s fight in the belief that he will become the world’s most valuable free agent, but Bill Haney told ProBox TV: “This is the biggest test of Devin’s career. This is Loma’s biggest test.
“[Lomachenko] was talking about Tank. He wanted to fight Tank. He wasn’t talking about Devin. Devin was talking about him. There’s only been two guys who have asked for the fight with Lomachenko.
“That’s Teofimo Lopez, and Devin Haney. Unfortunately for Teofimo, he was not able to get full credit for the victory because Lomachenko said that he was hurt.”
Asked of the recent statements made by fellow leading lightweights Shakur Stevenson, 25 and who last month stopped Shuichiro Yoshino, and the 28-year-old Davis, Haney responded: “[Stevenson is] a great young talent. He’s definitely part of this generation, and I respect what that team is doing. J. Prince; Antonio Leonard; Shakur Stevenson.
“I respect what they’re doing and look forward to seeing more. He did what he was supposed to do to a fighter on that level. As far as being impressed, I wasn’t impressed, but that’s no slight towards Shakur Stevenson, because I obviously have an expectation for him, and know the fighter that he was in the ring with is not on his level.
“They [the critics] all treat Devin like a Bruce Lee karate flick. As soon as he beat one guy and go to another level, you add another guy to it – by the time he get to the roof, then it’s another guy. He already whooped ‘em.
“The ‘Four Kings’ was Tank Davis, Devin Haney, Teofimo Lopez and Ryan Garcia. Ryan Garcia could have fought Devin; he moved up to 140lbs instead of fighting him. Teofimo Lopez, instead of fighting Devin, fought George Kambosos and lost. We beat George Kambosos. That only leaves the other two kings of the lightweight division. A supreme king has all the belts, and another king in Gervonta Davis has put on a massive event.“