Haney stops Abdullaev, wins WBC interim title

Photos: Sumio Yamada

Rising star and undefeated lightweight contender, Devin “The Dream” Haney (23-0, 15 KOs) stopped previously unbeaten Zaur Abdullaev (11-1, 7 KOs) in four one-sided rounds to claim the vacant WBC interim lightweight title on Friday night at the Hulu Theater inside New York City’s Madison Square Garden. Working behind a sharp jab, Haney dominated the first four rounds and Abdullaev didn’t come out for round five due to a possibly broken cheekbone.

Photo: Sumio Yamada

Haney is now mandatory challenger for the WBC crown held by Vasiliy Lomachenko, who also holds the WBA and WBO straps. “It’s No-machenko because he doesn’t want to fight me,” Haney proclaimed afterward. “Lomachenko, let’s get this fight going! Abdullaev was number two and I destroyed him. If I’m so easy, No-machenko should fight me and get me out of the way.

The brash 20-year-old expects to be back in action on the KSI vs. Logan Paul rematch bill at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles. “I’ve been talking to Eddie Hearn about November 9. I think it’s good for the sport of boxing, brings new fans, and gets me back in the ring.

“I felt good on my performance. I wasn’t nearly done beating him, I was just warming up. I’m happy with the win.

“I don’t usually study because I learn fast. I can make quick adjustments anytime and that’s what I did tonight.”

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  • 22 years ago, Larry Merchant was asked his thoughts about Shane Mosley as he was coming down to the ring to challenge Phillip Holiday for the IBF lightweight title. Larry said, “Three words: Sugar Ray Robinson.” For awhile Mosley looked like the goods. Eight title defenses at 135 and then the big 2000 win over De La Hoya to take the WBC welterweight belt. Then came the two back-to-back losses to Vernon Forrest in 2002 and for the rest of his career, Shane never quite regained the same lofty status he enjoyed in 1997-2001. Well, after watching Haney employ his world class skills tonight, I will echo Merchant’s words from that night in August 1997: “Three words: Sugar Ray Robinson.” The difference in Mosley and Haney is that “The Dream” seems to transition back-and-forth between offense and defense much more fluidly. Anything can happen in boxing but I can’t help but think that I witnessed the unveiling of a possible future all-time great. I don’t know if the kid is ready for Lomachenko at this point but once he does get more experience under his belt, it will be very intriguing to see where he goes. Lopez will most likely take the IBF title from Commey in December so a highly competitive battle with Haney could come in mid-2020. Devin’s jab, speed, power, combinations, defense, and footwork is going to make him a very difficult night for ANYONE from 130 to 140. So long as he stays disciplined and focused, I don’t see anyone beating him for years to come.

    • I would actually favor Haney over Lopez and don’t even think it would be that competitive. Lopez loads up and doesn’t have the speed of Haney. I wouldn’t get carried away comparing Haney to a prime sugar Shane Mosley because he hasn’t fought anywhere near the competition. The Russian he fought tonight is very fundamentally sound but slow as hell and pretty basic. I thought Zaur might be able to weather the early storm and come back with some hurtful counters in the middle to late rounds to keep it interesting. He got f***** up and quit on the stool so good win for Haney. As for lomachenko, he is too small to be fighting guys like Haney at 135. Lomachenko schools Lopez because that guy is overrated I can’t put punches together the touch Ukrainian enough to win. Haney can though. Haney is also pretty big for the lightweight division in may have to end up fighting the monsters at Junior welterweight. Haney does hold the interim title with the WBC so he has a lot of leverage and negotiations with lomachenko who is entitled to fight the winter of the ibf fight in December. While I don’t like the big mouth people around Devin Haney, I do like him and will see him at the top either way he goes in his career. But he does need to calm down in the ring and take his time when he steps it up.

      • “As for lomachenko, he is too small to be fighting guys like Haney at 135.”???? Devin Haney is 5’8″, Luke Campbell 5’9″, Crolla 5’81/2″, Linares 5’8″
        Don’t worry Chris, Lomachenko will never fight Haney, Bob Arum will avoid that, also the weight, because Haney is too young to be a 135 for much longer. Haney will be ready for anyone at the end of 2020, but at 140 IMO. Best for Lomachenko is to go down to 130, because as he age, he could be more vulnerable due that he depends a lot from speed, and that will decrease when he gets older

        • Thank you for parroting what I just said Mike. As far as height goes, that is not the only factor to consider when considering somebody is bigger than the other fighter. Devin Haney is taller than the five foot eight inches he is listed at. His opponent yesterday is listed as 5’9″ and anyone could see but Haney was about an inch taller than abdullaev. He also has a bigger body than Luke Campbell. And I already said that he will probably need to move up to 140 if he wants to be a world champion. I see lomachenko defeating the winner of this December’s fight and unifying all four titles at 135 before moving down to 130.

  • Haney does indeed look like an unstoppable train at the moment and his confidence and trash talk rivals a prime Ali.
    He’s very smart in wanting to fight again right away (Nov. 9) This will allow him to force the biggest fights possible out there.

    As far as his calling out Lomachenko goes: it’s obvious that he wants to get under Loma’s skin by being disrespectful, but it may work. I agree with Mikemiguel though: Haney may soon have to move up to 140lbs because it will be difficult for him to keep this weight for much longer.

    Loma wants to fight the winner of Lopez – Commey in March. So, the earliest Haney and Loma could collide would be in June or July. I think there is a bigger chance that Loma will go after Berchelt or Tank Davis – but first he will have to beat the Lopez-Commey winner.

    • Two fights that will never happen IMO: Gervonta Davis vs. Lomachenko or Haney. Lomachenko vs. Haney is highly unlikely, for many reasons. Lomachenko schedule, Haney age vs. weight, Top Rank might avoid this fight and proper marinating (no point right now) and some others

      • @Mikemiguel: there are two reasons why big Loma fights that may look unlikely today, will be made: 1/ the best pay in the 130-135 division and 2/ legacy.- everyone wants to fight (and beat) Loma.

      • Loma won’t fight Tank because Tank won’t fight him. He may be forced to fight Haney by the WBC. I hope Loma/Haney happens. I’m picking Devin in that fight if it happens in Mid 2020

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