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Devin Haney Speeds Past Tijuana’s Juan Carlos Burgos

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  • Devin Haney Speeds Past Tijuana’s Juan Carlos Burgos

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    By David A. Avila

    TEMECULA, Calif.-Pit against one of Tijuana’s best fighters 19-year-old Devin “The Dream” Haney out-maneuvered and at times out-slugged Juan Carlos Burgos for the IBF North American lightweight title on Friday.

    It was at times masterful.

    Haney (20-0, 13 KOs) used his blinding speed and counter-punching skills to show the cheering crowd at Pechanga Resort and Casino that he’s not too young to jump in against even a rough and tough lightweight like Burgos.

    “I wanted to show I can box or I can brawl,” said Haney. “I can be a dog in there if I have to.”

    He had plenty of moments to show the dog in him.

    Though the first two rounds saw Haney skip around the ring shooting punches here and there, to the surprise of the crowd he stopped running in the third round and showed off his ability to fight somewhat in the pocket. The blinding speed was apparent and seemed to surprise Burgos as quick rights caught the Tijuana prizefighter flatfooted at times.

    Burgos looked perplexed for six rounds trying to find an antidote for Haney’s blazing speed. At the end of the sixth Burgos corner instructed him to target the body.

    After finding no success for six rounds, Burgos connected with half a dozen solid blows to Haney’s body. The Las Vegas fighter countered with rights to the head but Burgos stormed through the counters and attacked the body like it was a lifeline. It proved to be successful enough to stall Haney’s relentless attacks.

    The Tijuana fighter found success in the eighth round as well by targeting the body with his left hooks and left uppercuts. Haney decided to move and counter from afar and was successful at connecting with solid shots. The Mexican fighter was simply too tough to knock down, but Haney clearly won the final two rounds.

    After 10 rounds one judge scored it 97-93 and two others 100-90. The scored it 98-92 for Haney.

    “He was a tough guy and he had a lot of experience,” said Haney. “It was a good fight to show what I can do at a higher level. I’ll fight any lightweight. I don’t care who it is.”

    A rematch between Thomas Mattice (13-0-1) and Zhora Hamazaryan (9-1-1) ended in a split draw after eight rounds in a super lightweight rematch. Their first fight several months ago was a victory for Mattice, but fans at the arena and on social media revolted at the scores. This fight saw the momentum shift several times between the two fighters with different styles.

    Hamazaryan was the aggressor throughout the fight and Mattice preferred to counter. But it was the holding by the taller Mattice that opened the door for Hamazaryan who erupted with blows whenever he was held especially in the fourth round when he snaked a right cross through the guard, and staggered Mattice.

    But after eight rounds one judge saw it 77-75 Mattice, another 77-75 Hamazaryan, and a third 76-76 for a split draw.

    In the opening television bout Cem Kelic (12-0, 7 KOs) out-worked Ohio’s Deandre Ward (12-1-2, 8 KOs) in an entertaining super middleweight fight where each round was savagely contested. But after eight rounds all three judges saw it in favor of Kelic who was simply busier and more accurate than Ward.

    One thing about Ward is whenever he was tagged by a big blow he rallied back furiously with his best shots. But he simply was out-hustled by Kelic.

    Other Bouts

    Michigan’s Kevin Shacks (3-2-3, 3 KOs) upset San Diego’s Ricardo Valdovinos (7-1, 5 KOs) with a last-second knockout. Both were scrapping blow for blow when at the 10-second warning Shacks fired a quick one-two that caught Valdovinos perfectly for a knockout at 2:59 of the first round in their super lightweight match.

    Temecula’s Anthony Franco (2-1-1) and Colorado’s David Payne (2-1-1) fought to a draw after four rounds. Payne started off quicker but Franco rallied back in the last two rounds of their welterweight fight. All three judges scored it 38-38.

    Photo credit: Dave Mandel / SHOWTIME

    Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel