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Avila Perspective Chap. 49: Devin Haney’s Destiny and More Boxing Notes

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  • Avila Perspective Chap. 49: Devin Haney’s Destiny and More Boxing Notes

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    By David A. Avila

    Between super featherweights and super lightweights those three seemingly inter-changeable divisions are rife with talent. Devin Haney seems to be smack in the middle of the all three divisions and eager to prove his superiority. And he’s his own boss.

    Equipped with blinding speed, boxing knowledge beyond his years and the self-confidence of a kamikaze pilot, the Las Vegas based Haney could be the straw that stirs the drink for the next decade of mega fights. He is self-promoted and recently signed with Matchroom Boxing so now he is co-promoted, but still in control of his direction.

    It’s still early in his career but Haney doesn’t have a pause button.

    In many ways he reminds me of a young Floyd Mayweather who like Haney was begging for opportunities to face the best in his early pro boxing career. Back in 1999, I was present at a party when Mayweather confronted Sugar Shane Mosley face to face and asked to fight him. I see similar traits in Haney.

    The best are like that: supremely confident in their abilities.

    Last Saturday, Haney mugged a Mexican fighter accustomed to mugging others. It was a déjà vu moment for me to watch this new Las Vegas budding star perform with such ease and impressiveness. The kid is on another level.

    “I know that I’m faster than 90 percent of my opponents. Maybe 98 percent,” said Haney. “I know that speed was a factor.”

    And like Mayweather, this kid wants the big fights and doesn’t want to wait. Haney is already calling out Teofimo Lopez and other lightweight champions like Vasyl Lomachenko.

    “I’m willing to fight all the world champions,” said Haney, 20. “Anyone of the champions I want to fight.”

    One future mega fight that still needs percolating would be a match against Golden Boy’s Ryan “The Flash” Garcia. Both have met each other in the amateurs and both want this showdown badly.

    It kind of reminds me of Oscar De La Hoya and Shane Mosley circa 1999 when they were headed for a showdown. History does repeat itself.

    Back in the 1990s when De La Hoya arrived there were a ton of Southern California elite fighters in the lightweight division including Genaro Hernandez, Rafael Ruelas, Gabe Ruelas and Mosley. By the year 2000, De La Hoya fought them all except for Gabe Ruelas.

    Of course, De La Hoya eventually was voted into the Boxing Hall of Fame and Mosley will be eligible too in a few years. Both had Hall of Fame chins to go with their spectacular fighting tools. Their incredible chins are vastly overlooked.

    Today in 2019, Haney has a number of juicy possibilities that could make it another great year for lightweights. He and Garcia have the tools but do they have the chins? Only time will tell.

    Heavyweight Splendor

    Not since the late 1990s when Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis and Riddick Bowe have heavyweights been a focus of mainstream conversations. One common thread has to be American heavyweights.

    Fans lost track of the heavyweight boxing scene when the brothers Vitali Klitschko and Wladimir Klitschko won respective world title belts and then took them to Europe. Sure they battled some American heavyweights over there but that weight division lost visibility fighting in Germany and other European spots.

    If you want visibility and fame you have to fight in the good old U.S. of A.

    Deontay Wilder grabbed the WBC title in 2015 and since that moment has stirred the pot with his loquacious statements and taunts.

    It’s what the heavyweights needed some good old American hype.

    This Saturday, Great Britain’s Anthony Joshua, the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight title-holder, defends against Mexican heavyweight Andy Ruiz at Madison Square Garden. DAZN will stream live.

    Joshua is a nice fellow but he’s no Wilder when it comes to gab. That other Brit named Tyson Fury, well, he’s just as colorful as the trunks that he wears.

    Heavyweights haven’t done this much talking since the days of Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. It’s a good thing for the boxing world.

    Wilder may not be as eloquent as Ali in his prime but he causes a stir whenever he says something like when he talked about killing someone in the ring. Maybe it sounded wrong but he’s not afraid to talk to the press. How else do you grab attention?

    Fury has a good sense of humor and lets it fly on a regular basis. He lets everyone know he’s the “lineal champion of the world.” Before Fury I doubt if anyone outside of the boxing media had any idea what lineal champion meant. It’s a good time to be a heavyweight and a good time to be a fan of heavyweights. Ali must be clapping and cheering from the clouds.

    Large Card at Soboba Casino in So Cal.

    Speaking of Ali, a large TGB Promotions boxing card takes place on Saturday at Soboba Casino in San Jacinto, California. In the main event, Hugo Centeno (27-2, 14 KOs) faces former world title challenger Willie Monroe. FOX will televise.

    Back in the 1950s and 1960s that area is where some of the greats used to train at nearby Gilman Springs. Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson and Jerry Quarry would regularly train at the desert area compound before some of their fights. Quarry and his brother Mike Quarry ultimately moved to nearby Moreno Valley. The climate is hot and dry and supposedly the water is good for you. It became a popular place for world class fighters to train including the late great Archie Moore.

    In Saturday's Soboba Caino co-feature, Devon Alexander (27-5-1, 14 KOs) faces Ivan Redkach (22-4-1) in a welterweight match pitting two fighters looking to reclaim past glory. Alexander lost three of his last five fights that also included a draw against Victor Ortiz. Redkach was winning a fight against John Molina and seemed on the verge of a knockout win when things turned around. Molina went down twice then sent Redkach down twice for a knockout win. The Ukrainian fighter has back to back wins since that fight in December 2017.

    I can’t remember the last time a boxing card was held at Soboba Casino. Recently, it’s been a popular spot for MMA, but not boxing. In the early 2000s they used to hold Sunday boxing cards there in the day time. Some of the hottest moments ever recorded in boxing took place there. And one of the coldest outdoor fights ever also took place there. Now, I heard they built an indoor arena for events. I’m looking forward to seeing the new venue.

    Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel