Is Devin Haney the Gen Z version of Floyd Mayweather Jr?

Former undisputed lightweight champion Devin Haney (30-0, 15 KOs) has one of his toughest challenges to date on Saturday night, which sparks the never-ending thought of how similar his career has been to the hall of famer Floyd Mayweather Jr. It’s a comparison that Haney has brought up in multiple interviews but when comparing how both of them came up, it’s almost identical with Haney doing it in a Generation Z type of way. (Generation Z: the generation born in the late 1990s or the early 21st century, perceived as being familiar with the use of digital technology, the internet, and social media from a very young age-Oxford Languages)

Mayweather came up the ranks as this confident young fighter out of Grand Rapids, MI, who won the bronze medal at the 1996 Olympic Games. Early in his career, Mayweather would carry the moniker “Pretty Boy Floyd,” which accompanied a style that was aggressive, fast, and a threat to any contender in his division. Mayweather would later sign deals worth millions of dollars, and while throwing money into a camera for one of HBO’s 24/7 and joking about it, he came up with “Money Mayweather,” which stayed with him for years.

Haney has seen a similar path to Mayweather, and why wouldn’t he, as he grew up next to him throughout his amateur boxing career. Haney idolized Mayweather, and when you study someone that much, you are bound to do some of the same things when put in those positions. Haney would get his early wins as a professional but refused to sign with a promoter from the start and fought under his own promotional company, Devin Haney Promotions. This is something Mayweather would do later in his career with Mayweather Promotions, but Haney, keeping with Gen Z characteristics, decided not to wait and implement it immediately.

While Mayweather used the vehicle of HBO’s 24/7 & Showtime’s All Access to show off his personality and riches outside of the ring, Haney instead has the monster truck of social media to do that. Haney would create content that showed off the things he bought through pictures and videos, giving the fans an image of someone doing it independently, which was against the status quo in the boxing business. Haney would later sign a huge co-promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing and can now do short-term deals (like the three fight deal he did with Top Rank) so that he doesn’t get locked into a long-term commitment.

Regarding boxing styles, it’s scary how similar Haney is to Mayweather. Haney has the speed, footwork, and athleticism that his mentor once had, but with that comes, at times, a not-so-entertaining fighting style. Haney has fought some opponents with defense being a priority, which has led to fans being bored and upset that he isn’t doing more. As the level of competition increases, he tends to show off more of his offense, but as Mayweather once did later in his career, the fighting style lacks entertainment value.

Although it took Mayweather some years to step up the level of his competition, Haney is doing it much sooner and capturing more accolades quickly. Now Haney, at 25 years old, is at a point in his career where he is hand-picking his opponents and earning accolades with big prizes, while it took Mayweather approaching his 30s to start earning that type of money.

Haney now has the opportunity to elevate his status even more if he can defeat Regis Prograis (29-1, 24 KOs) on Saturday night. It’s a hard fight for the 25-year-old, but it can be a step towards continuing his legacy as a great fighter and moving up to welterweight to fight some of the bigger names within that division. Haney will continue to do things the Gen Z way, and although fighters today are well into their 30s, he doesn’t appear to be someone who will be fighting that long. So catch him while you can, as Haney will eventually get bored with being a fighter and move on to the next thing in life.