Undisputed lightweight boxing champion Devin Haney may be contractually bound to a rematch with George Kambosos after taking the Aussie’s titles. But the undefeated 23-year-old isn’t ruling out a fight that treads new competitive ground.
“We’re not ruling anything out, because obviously I signed up for the rematch, but we’re going to see,” said Haney, who unanimously outpointed Kambosos in Melbourne to add the WBA (super), IBF, WBO and The Ring lightweight titles to his WBC (super) title. “I’m not ducking or dodging anybody. I’ll fight whoever and wherever, so we want to make big fights happen.”
Haney will soon meet with his team to assess the next step, he said recently on The MMA Hour. He’s already training and, apart from a few headbutts, said he suffered little damage in the dominant performance.
Kambosos, initially slated to face Vasily Lomachenko before the Urkraine war drew the former champ back to home soil, indicated afterward he’ll exercise a clause in his original contract to rematch Haney in Australia. Haney said for that to happen, he’ll need a guarantee his father and coach isn’t held up after the Australian government initially denied a travel visa due to a prior conviction in the U.S.
Scores of 116-112, 116-112 and 118-110 indicated a comfortable margin of victory for Haney, who out-jabbed Kambosos by a wide margin despite a narrow edge in total strikes landed (25 percent to Kamboso’s 24 percent) and power punches landed (69 to 68 in favor of Haney).
Haney is hesitant to write off Kambosos as a challenge, though it seems possible he could negotiate step-aside money for his one-time opponent to take on other stars such as Lomachenko and WBA regular champ Gervonta Davis.
Asked about his most desired matchups, Haney said, “obviously the Lomachenko fight.” That’s a huge fight. But all of them get me excited. Davis, Lomachenko, those two are pretty much on the top of the list, because that makes the most sense. Other guys I don’t really rate like that.”
Not on the list for now is former interim WBC lightweight champ Ryan Garcia, who immediately heckled Haney’s win on Twitter and called to fight Davis. Garcia is next scheduled to face Javier Fortuna, but has talked up a showdown with “Tank.”
Another belt captured from Davis or Garcia would add much to Haney’s legacy and more than a few zeroes to his bank account. But he is skeptical that Garcia will re-emerge as champ.
“I doubt that would happen,” Haney said. “I don’t think Ryan wants to fight anybody. Of course, he always does that. That’s what he does. He’ll tweet up a storm, he’ll call all these fighters out. The guy said he would fight [Manny] Pacquiao – c’mon, now.
“The guy uses fighters to promote his fight, and after he wins his fight against a nobody, he goes and fights another nobody. So, this is a repetitive cycle for him. I really don’t give him too much attention, because I read between the lines. I really don’t think he wants to fight anybody.”
Haney has two more fights with the Top Rank promotion he aligned with to make the Kambosos fight happen. Even if he has to run back his most recent accomplishment, he said there will be no shortage of motivation.
“I’m undisputed champion, and I’ve got a lot to protect, and a lot to be motivated for – to stay the top guy in the lightweight division,” he said. “So you never take anybody lightly. ... When you’re at the top, everybody wants your head.”