Stevenson accuses Haney avoiding 'the smoke' and taking 'easier option' in facing Prograis

Shakur Stevenson has continued his tirade against former undisputed lightweight champion Devin Haney, accusing the former king of the 135lb division of running away from “the smoke” Stevenson would bring to the ring.

Stevenson (20-0, 10KOs) faces Edwin De Los Santos (16-1, 14KOs) on Thursday evening in Las Vegas, Nevada, in pursuit of becoming a three-weight world champion, which Stevenson says will only enhance his legacy despite only being 26 years old and contesting his 21st fight as a professional.

“It’s legacy,” the American told Sky Sports. “It’ll be my third weight class I win a world title in, but I’m definitely trying to put on a performance and show the world that I’m here, that I am the top guy at 135lbs.”

Stevenson is already targeting a potential bout with Haney should the Newark native successfully defeat De Los Santos. However, Stevenson believes that Haney is openly avoiding him in favour of a December encounter at 140lbs against Regis Prograis.

Haney, earlier this year following his narrow win over Vasyl Lomachenko, vacated the WBC strap, which had led to Stevenson believing that Haney has no interest in facing him, labelling Prograis as an “easier option” instead of stepping into the ring with himself.

“He felt like the fight with Regis was an easier fight. If he’s got me in front of him and Regis in front of him, he felt like a fight with Regis would be an easier option,” he said.

“He’s the guy that goes for a lot of easier options in his career. He’ll fight a lot of people as soon as they have a bad performance, then he’s ready to get in the ring with them. I think that’s the type of fighter that he is.

Stevenson finalises that Haney has had multiple bad performances against Lomachenko and Jamaine Ortiz as reasons why Haney will not face him and accuses Haney of not being 'a true champion.'

“He fought Lomachenko right after Lomachenko had a bad performance against Jamaine Ortiz, Regis was just coming off a bad performance. I feel like that’s what he likes to do. I honestly think that if you are a true champion and you have a close fight with somebody like he did with Lomachenko, you’ve got to run it back, instead of running away from the smoke.

“If you’re a true champion and you’re who you say you are, you’ll fight people at their best.”