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Avila Perspective, Chap 112: Devin Haney and More

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  • Avila Perspective, Chap 112: Devin Haney and More

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    By David A. Avila

    Now that two major sports have ended their seasons only prizefighting and American football remain.

    Last week we saw the danger the lightweight division presents to anyone entering its weight class when three-division world champ Leo Santa Cruz moved up and was violently stopped by a single Gervonta “Tank” Davis punch.

    Another lightweight contest grabs the spotlight this week as Devin Haney (24-0, 15 KOs) looks to prove he can defeat former champion Yuri Gamboa (30-3, 18 KOs) in a more emphatic fashion than Tank. The lightweight title match takes place on Saturday Nov. 7, at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. DAZN will stream.

    Haney will be defending a version of the WBC lightweight title for the second time and is eager to prove he’s more than just fast hands and rapid reflexes.

    “I have to make a statement. The eyes of the boxing world are all on me again. They’ve heard me talk the talk and now it’s time to walk the walk,” said Haney who lives and trains in Las Vegas, Nevada. “I want to beat Gamboa worse than anyone has to date. I want to show him that I am the best fighter in the world and better than anyone he’s ever faced.”

    Several years ago, Gamboa was a pretty talented fighter out of Cuba. What separated him from the other Cubans was his willingness to exchange blows. That’s a no-no for most fighters reared in their island boxing system that emphasizes to only punch sparingly.

    Gamboa likes to mix it up.

    Despite his small physical dimensions Gamboa, who held the featherweight world title, dared to be great and moved up to the lightweight division much like Santa Cruz attempted last weekend. And similarly, Gamboa was stopped by Terence Crawford in the ninth round of their lightweight clash.

    You don’t mess with lightweights.

    Just how good is Haney?

    Though Haney has openly challenged every lightweight in the world via social media and on radio and television interviews with sports outlets, the responses have been tepid.

    Top Rank’s Bob Arum, whose company guides the career of Teofimo “The Takeover” Lopez, who holds the WBA, WBO and IBF lightweight world titles, says Haney does not have proven drawing power yet.

    One fighter without a world title who does draw interest is Southern California’s Ryan “Flash” Garcia. The Golden Boy Promotions lightweight has a fight date looming against British stalwart Luke Campbell in early December. Haney wants him and so do all of the other lightweights should Garcia emerge victorious.

    That takes us back to Tank Davis.

    The Maryland-based bomber just opened the eyes of the boxing world by putting out the lights against a proven champion in Santa Cruz. He defeated Gamboa 11 months ago by knockout in the final round.

    Ironically, Davis was assisted by Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas where Haney resides. It’s a match made perfectly for the lights of Las Vegas. And then who knows?

    Haney takes another baby step this Saturday against Gamboa. It’s maybe a small step but there can be no stumbles.

    “Everything is falling into place and the lightweight division is lighting up. I have to handle business with Gamboa first, take care of him and then the sky is the limit,” Haney says. “There are so many big fights out there, everyone is opening up and 2021 can be huge if I win this fight and make a statement.”

    Lightweights are dangerous.

    Fights to Watch

    (All times are Pacific Coast Time)

    Wed. FS1 5 p.m. Eimantas Stanionis (10-0) vs Justin DeLoach (19-4).

    Fri. Impact TV 7:30 p.m. Kali Reis (16-7-1) vs Kane Wyatt (10-1).

    Sat. DAZN 4 p.m. Devin Haney (23-0) vs Yuri Gamboa (30-3).

    Sat. FOX, 5 p.m. Luis Ortiz (31-2) vs Alexander Flores (18-2-1).

    Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel