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Devin Haney: A Star in Waiting

Most young fighters think about ticket sales as it dominants the boxing industry and often gives young fighters the shot at a big opportunity, but for 20-year-old Devin Haney of Oakland, California, he had a different plan, to use the newly formed smartphone technology and apps that went with the internet being near you at all times at the start of the new decade as a way to document his life. In essence, a generation of boxing fans as well as fans of pop culture have followed Devin Haney’s childhood and now are watching him as he moves closer and closer towards his first world title more than likely coming this year. In essence, Haney is something that boxing doesn’t have a lot of, a pioneer of new technology promoting himself well before he even had his own promotional company or was pro, as he used the platform of social media and new media to speak directly to people of his own age group. This candidness from showing sparring to behind the scenes moments in his life seems to have created an emotional relationship amongst his peer group that other boxers don’t seem to have.

The beginning of this story might make it seem like Haney is more a marketing genius than a once-in-a-generation talent, but if you think that then you’re wrong. Haney is one of the most talented fighters of his generation, known for publicly posting his sparring with high-level professional boxers and making them look foolish. Haney is a power puncher who is faster than most fighters in terms of hand speed and foot speed but also has the intelligence in the ring, that seems to negate contenders abilities to do much of anything. Often watching Haney sparring is more about what Haney wants to do in the ring than what his opponent can do. 

Another major credit to Haney is his family especially his father, William Haney, who has put him in a tremendous position in do well in life. Devin Haney trains out of the Mayweather Boxing Club, but also works with world renown sports scientist Victor Conte at the SNAC System facility in San Carlos, Ca as well as sparring at Virgil Hunter’s Gym which is also located in the Bay Area. Haney has been surrounded by the very best since the beginning of his career and that is a credit to Haney’s family who saw the importance of bringing the best around at all times.

Speaking of his career, it is unique – often lazy comparisons to Floyd Mayweather Jr. will be made, because of his ties to Floyd Mayweather Sr. his skill set and so forth and so on, but Haney is his own entity. Haney turned professional in December of 2015 as he was stuck in limbo too young to go to the 2016 Olympics, but seemingly too good to stay amateur for another four years.

Haney would spend the majority of his early career fighting in Mexico as he would fight the usual opponents brought in to develop a young fighter, but rather than bringing the fighters from Mexico to the United States they’d simply travel to the opponents and get those fights. It is notable that in only his fifth fight, Devin Haney fought on the Manny Pacquiao vs Timothy Bradley III undercard, a major statement for a fighter that young at the time.

Last year, Haney shed the label of prospect fighting former WBO NABO super lightweight champion Mason Menard beating him down badly over the course of nine rounds, so much so the corner halted it before the tenth and final round. Haney would follow that performance up with a bout against two-time world title contender Juan Carlos Burgos, a veteran who lasted all ten-rounds with Haney, but seemingly didn’t win a single one. Both of these performances were headlining bouts of ShoBox: The Next Generation and promoted by Haney’s promotional company, Devin Haney Promotions.

This past Friday in Louisiana, Haney beat undefeated WBF lightweight champion Xolisani Ndongeni in a performance that was as dominant as ever. Haney has appeared on Showtime three times and not lost a round yet. Which begs the question if his next bout will be on Showtime Championship Boxing since Haney appears ready for world level competition. Haney at only 20-years-old is becoming one of the more fearsome competitors in the division as only his chief rival, whom he has exchanged words with, Teofimo Lopez, has looked as good as him, in the crop of young lightweights.

Haney is poised for a big 2019 as he is now a world-rated fighter and one of the fighters you can’t avoid anymore. It simply just comes down to opportunity, and for the talented Haney has along with the investment Showtime appears to be making in him, it appears that will be plentiful.

Devin Haney is a star in waiting.

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Lukie Ketelle

Lukie Ketelle