WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney goes 1-on-1 with Yahoo Sports' Kevin Iole to discuss what's next for him as boxing's 135-pound division heats up.
KEVIN IOLE: Hey, folks. I am Kevin Iole. And welcome to Yahoo Sports. And my guest right now, who is one of the most talented boxers in one of the most talented divisions in the sport, the lightweight division, and, of course, I'm talking about the WBC Lightweight Champion, Mr. Devin Haney. Devin, how are you today?
DEVIN HANEY: I'm doing great. I'm doing great. How you doing?
KEVIN IOLE: I'm doing awesome. You have been in the news, even though you haven't fought since before Christmas when you beat Yuriorkis Gamboa, and a good fight there. But you've been in the news a lot because of what's been going on in the division.
A lot of people want to see you in one of these big fights. Let's talk, first of all, you were in Dallas for Ryan Garcia's victory over Luke Campbell. Were you impressed with what you saw from Ryan Garcia, who, now, is the interim WBC Champion.
DEVIN HANEY: Yeah, I'm impressed with-- I was-- I was impressed with, you know, the grit, the hunger, the way that he showed that he could be knocked down, but he could still come back to win a fight and still knock a guy out. I was impressed with that part. Skill-wise, obviously, I wasn't too impressed. Because I really didn't feel like he showed too much of a skill set. But he showed grit, and hunger, and, you know, power.
KEVIN IOLE: I mean, I think when we look at the lightweight division now, and we look at yourself, and Ryan, and Tank Davis, and, of course, Teofimo Lopez, we're looking at maybe the modern day equivalent to the Four Kings from the 1980s when you had Duran, Leonard, Hagler, and Hearns. Those guys all fought each other. Can you tell the boxing fans and guarantee them that you guys or that at least, you, as Devin Haney, will do everything in your power to fight those other three guys?
DEVIN HANEY: I have a question because people been saying the Four Kings a lot. And this is my-- this is the first time I'm going to ask this question because I just thought about it.
KEVIN IOLE: Sure.
DEVIN HANEY: Which-- out of those four guys, who came out on top?
KEVIN IOLE: Well, I guess I would say Sugar Ray Leonard, right? He-- you know, he beat--
DEVIN HANEY: What kind of style-- what kind of style did Sugar Ray Leonard have?
KEVIN IOLE: He was a great boxer. But he was a complete fighter, I would say.
DEVIN HANEY: What kind of style do you think Devin Haney has?
KEVIN IOLE: I love your style and your fast hands. You're a good boxer. I love what you do.
DEVIN HANEY: I think that-- I think that's how this situation is going to play out. I think I'm going to come out on top, just the same way-- same way Leonard did.
KEVIN IOLE: When we-- so I won't argue with you about that. And I'm glad that you're confident. I mean, the thing that I want to know from you is will you commit to saying, hey, I will do my part to fight Lopez, to fight Davis, to fight Garcia?
DEVIN HANEY: Kevin, when I-- I'mma tell you the truth right now. This isn't-- this is not my fault in no kind of way. I want to make these big fights happen. I've been saying this over and over and over and over and over again. You know, you have to say-- you have to really ask those guys and see if they want to fight me. Because, in reality, they just make up excuses, especially Teofimo Lopez.
He says one thing today in this interview, the next thing in this interview. One day he's saying that they want $10 million to fight me, which they just made $1 million for Lomachenko. Then they say, oh, he-- he need to-- I need to develop three to four years, I'm not ready to fight him, I'm not-- I'm not big enough, not marketable. It's just one thing after another with Teofimo Lopez. Then Ryan Garcia fights to be the mandatory challenger to go another direction.
KEVIN IOLE: Yeah, that was-- I don't know if you saw that, but Ryan on Mike Tyson's podcast on Wednesday, they recorded it. And Tank Davis FaceTimed in. And Tyson kind of played matchmaker between them. And, you know, now, it's a long way from being a done fight, but Garcia versus Davis is a fight that they both said that they wanted.
Now, I thought you were going to fight him because when you were in Dallas, you know, he asked the crowd. You were there. And he said, who do you want me to fight? And they all said, Devin.
But what do you make of a fight, if that happens? And, again, I say, we're a long way away from it. But if it's Haney-- excuse me-- if it's Davis versus Garcia, how do you think that fight goes?
DEVIN HANEY: I think that it's a great fight. Each one of our fights in amateurs were fireworks, literally, were fireworks, each one. So I think that it's the same thing in the pros. I think it's going to be-- I think out of the four, I think that would be the best fight, stylistically. I think and our history together, the history that we have, I think that turned out to be the most exciting fight.
KEVIN IOLE: You know, I think with you and Ryan, when we look at you two together, I mean, I think you two probably have the fastest hands of the group. That's my opinion.
DEVIN HANEY: I agree. I agree.
KEVIN IOLE: So, you know, I think that that would be an interesting thing. And probably Tank and Teofimo hit the hardest. What do-- you know, when you go into these fights, you know, obviously, you like to have everything, right. But do you say, hey, I'd rather be the guy with the faster hands and the boxing kill? Or would you rather be the guy that everybody had to worry about this big shot coming at you?
DEVIN HANEY: I would rather-- I would-- that was a good question, actually. But I would rather be the well-balanced fighter to have everything. You know, I would rather be able to do everything great-- I mean, do everything good instead of just having one specific thing that I do great. Because what happens when you take that one thing great that somebody does away from them? Then what do they have?
KEVIN IOLE: Yeah, then you have to see if-- now, don't you think Lopez has--
DEVIN HANEY: And that's what I think Sugar Ray had. Sugar Ray had-- he did-- he did everything good. He had speed, power, ring generalship, head movement.
These other guys-- Ryan, Teofimo, Tank, they don't have no head movement. They don't have no feet. Which has any of them showed any ring generalship?
KEVIN IOLE: Well, I mean, hey, look, and now let's be fair here, right, I thought when you-- you look at Lopez going up against Lomachenko. Here's Lomachenko, some people say he had the best feet in boxing since Mayweather. And, you know, that's saying a lot. And I thought he handled Lomachenko very well.
DEVIN HANEY: No, I do. I don't take that away from him. I thought he handled him great. He went in there. He did what he was supposed to do.
But I'm talking about stylistically, his style. Of course, he went in there and he did what he had to do to get the win. But just in general--
KEVIN IOLE: Right.
DEVIN HANEY: --does he show any ring generalship to you? He went in there and he walked him down. He's knocking guys out. You know, credit to him.
A knockout is the best way to win in boxing, of course. But he hasn't-- he hasn't shown any feet. Loma-- Loma didn't even throw punches for seven rounds.
KEVIN IOLE: Right.
DEVIN HANEY: Until the seventh round. So it's like.
KEVIN IOLE: Loma has been making some excuses since he lost. You know, I wrote a story not long after the fight that he had shoulder surgery the Monday after the fight. I don't know how that would affect you if you heard a fighter say that, you know, they had-- you know, it's almost like he was dissing Lopez by saying that now he's complaining about punch stats and all this other crazy stuff. I mean, were you surprised at the way he fought? Did he look like a Lomachenko you thought you were going to see in that fight?
DEVIN HANEY: I was surprised with the way that he looked. I don't think that he would go in there-- well, nobody-- you can get anybody to-- you can get the best boxing writers, and the best sportsbook betters, and you can get boxing enthusiasts, and everybody, nobody would have ever, you know, predicted him to not throw punches for six rounds and do it the way that he did it. Nobody expected that.
KEVIN IOLE: You know, if you go-- I mean, if-- let's play this argument, you know. If they say that Tank and Ryan fight, then maybe the fight to make is you versus Lopez. You said you were--
DEVIN HANEY: Yeah, I can do it.
KEVIN IOLE: --willing to do it. How do you handicap that fight? Like what would you have to negate on him? Obviously, I know you're going to say your feet and your hand speed are going to be big advantages for you. But what do you think you'd have to negate to be able to avoid that big power that he has?
DEVIN HANEY: I mean, the name of the game is to hit and not get hit. That's the key to it, you know. So if a guy doesn't hit you, then how can he win? If you hit a guy, he doesn't hit you, he can't win the fight.
KEVIN IOLE: Right.
DEVIN HANEY: And that's the key to it. And that's just been for decades and decades. That's just been the key to winning the fight. When you go back to the first boxing match, the guy who hit the guy the most and the guy who got hit the least won the fight.
KEVIN IOLE: You're showing a lot of knowledge of boxing history. You were talking about Leonard and everything. So I'll go with you on those lines, you know. The first fight between Leonard and Hearns, you know, Hearns is completely out-boxing Leonard.
And then Leonard, you know, turned from boxer kind of into slugger as the fight went on. And he stops Hearns in the 14th round. Do you think you have that kind of versatility, where if things aren't going your way, you can switch up like Sugar Ray did against an elite opponent in Tommy Hearns and come back and win a fight if plans A and B aren't working for you?
DEVIN HANEY: Definitely. And that's why I said I'm a well-balanced-- well-balanced fighter. You know, they see me knock guys out. I got Knockout of the Year in 2019 or 2020-- wait, 2019-- or, no, 2020.
KEVIN IOLE: Wasn't 2020 because Tank Davis was Knockout I think most people there, yeah.
DEVIN HANEY: Yeah, so it was 2019. It was 2019 then. So I got Knockout of the Year 2019. People saw that. And then I went in there and I just handicapped Gamboa and didn't let him hit me with anything clean. Nobody has ever done that.
KEVIN IOLE: Right.
DEVIN HANEY: Nobody has hit Gamboa and he didn't land anything clean. You can go back to Tank Davis. You can go back to Bud Crawford. Those guys, they knocked him out, but they took punishment doing it. Kevin, can you tell me one punch that I got hit clean against Gamboa?
KEVIN IOLE: Yeah, no, I think you fought a great fight there. Let me just say this. Let me play Devil's advocate, though.
He was 39 when he fought you. He was 33 when he fought Crawford. Does that make a difference?
DEVIN HANEY: But he was 38, 39 when he fought Tank Davis.
KEVIN IOLE: Yes, yes, yes. I agree with that.
DEVIN HANEY: And Tank Davis got hurt in the fight. Tank Davis left out with a black eye in the fight. Tank Davis took the most punishment he's ever took in his career less than six months before I fought him.
KEVIN IOLE: Well, Devin, let's wrap up with this. You've been great. And I appreciate you.
DEVIN HANEY: Thank you.
KEVIN IOLE: You know, have you had conversations with promoter, Eddie Hearn, you know, about, A, landing one of these fights next? And if not, I assume you're going to fight somebody on the zone. You know, you got to stay busy-- a young fighter, you want to get back in there. What is the game plan right now based on the landscape in the division and what's out there? Have you guys had talks with any of the promoters of the big-- big lightweights?
DEVIN HANEY: No, right now it's just all talk on social media, and YouTube, and all that. None of them-- no one has said anything in black and white or put the pen to the paper. And that's the problem, you know, nobody's really reached out and tried to really, really make the fight happen. It's been all talk.
KEVIN IOLE: Well, what I can do as a reporter is just keep bugging the promoters about it and saying we want to see these fights. I want to see you fight Ryan Garcia. I know you did it in the amateurs.
I saw that. I want to see it in the pros. I want to see you against--
DEVIN HANEY: That's something, yeah.
KEVIN IOLE: --Tank Davis. And I want to see it against Lopez. Let's hope it happens. Devin Haney, thank you very much. Hope all goes well for you. Congrats on a great career so far and keep it up.
DEVIN HANEY: Thank you, Kevin. Thank you for the great interview each time.
KEVIN IOLE: Be well.