SAN DIEGO, Calif., November 7, 2020 – Devin “The Dream” Haney of Las Vegas (25-0, 15 KOs) scored a near shutout on all three judges scorecards in his fight against veteran Cuban Yuriorkis Gamboa (30-4, 18 KOs) Saturday for a unanimous decision victory that really never seemed in doubt from the opening bell. Scores were 120-107 X 2 and 118-109. Haney retains the WBC World Lightweight title.
Shutouts are terrific in baseball. Not always so good in boxing. Not entirely useful in the case of Haney, who needed to put more of a hurt on Gamboa to stake his claim to a matchup among the top tier of the lightweight division at a time when his rivals are daring to be great and thrilling the fans.
“I thought I put in a world-class performance. I wanted to knock him out, but he’s a crafty veteran,” said Haney. “I knew that he was going to come in, be scrappy, and do anything he could to survive. And that’s what he did. I hit him with big shots, and whenever he would get hurt he would hold. He’s a true champion; I take nothing away from him.”
Haney eased into the fight, showing the veteran Gamboa some respect and allowing himself to get loose after a year out of the right. In the third round, he stepped up the action. Haney landed several big shots through the remaining rounds, including a solid left hook followed by a big overhand right to Gamboa. But the Cuban is rugged even at age 38, and he was willing to be docked a point for holding to prevent Haney from rolling up damage. Haney didn’t put enough combinations together, preferring to box and play it safe.
“It’s good to get the rounds, it shows how good of a boxer I am. When I want to box, I can box. When I want to bang, I can bang,” said Haney.
Haney needs more ring sizzle to be a star
Both Gervonta Davis and Terence Crawford stopped Gamboa. Haney said prior to the bout he needed a statement win, and he especially wanted the stoppage in less time than it took Crawford, nine rounds. He didn’t manage it. Haney outlanded Gamboa 133 punches to 84 for Gamboa at nearly double the connect rate.
Haney is highly skilled. He won, and he dominated Gamboa. But it takes ring sizzle to be a star. Floyd Mayweather had the personality and was a marketing genius. Mayweather was one of a kind; he didn’t need knockouts to win. Haney isn’t a brash personality outside the ring like Lopez, Davis, and Garcia. He doesn’t have the massive social following of Davis or Garcia. So he’s got to let his fists do the talking.
Who would Haney like to fight? “There’s a lot of big fights out there, I want to make the biggest fights happen to bring the best out of me. Teofimo Lopez is the one with the rest of the belts, so that’s the one I’d like to make happen,” said Haney.
Lopez didn’t waste any time before responding to Haney via Twitter.
— Teofimo Lopez (@TeofimoLopez) November 8, 2020
Ryan Garcia gets to have the last word for 2020 against Luke Campbell on December 5. If Garcia can score a knockout win, Haney will not look good in comparison. He should strive to take any fight he can against a worthy opponent early in 2021 and make a stronger case for himself.
Undercard results: You get a knockout, and you get a knockout
Croatian heavyweight Filip Hrgovic (12-0, 10 KOs) used opponent and sometime sparring partner Rydell Booker of Detroit (26-4, 13 KOs) as a human heavy bag for four rounds before the referee wisely stopped the fight and prevented Booker from taking any more punishment.
Zhilei Zhang dealt Devin Vargas his first stoppage loss. Photo: Ed Mulholland, Matchroom Boxing[/caption]
Undefeated Chinese heavyweight Zhilei “The Big Bang” Zhang (22-0, 19 KOs) stopped American Devin Vargas of Ohio (22-7, 9 KOs) with a right hook and straight left combination that dropped Vargas hard. Vargas might have beaten the count, but he also injured his knee in the fall to the canvas, and the fight ended at XXX.
Zhilei expressed interest in a fight with Hrgovic, but the Croatian said, “He’s too slow, I’d kill him. If he’s smart, he won’t sign the contract. If he wants it, OK. I have to fight somebody.” The somebody could be American heavyweight Michael Hunter, fresh from a draw with Alexander Povetkin and unable to find a decent opponent. Hunter jumped on Twitter to let Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn know he was up for it.
Featherweight prospect Raymond Ford of Camden, New Jersey (7-0, 3 KOs) stopped Raymond Reyes of Mexico (18-11, 14 KOs) in three rounds.
Movladdin Biyarslanov of Russia (7-0. 6 KOs), AKA “The Chechen Wolf,” blasted through Juan Jose Martinez Alvarez of Mexico (28-10, 20KOs) in a single round. The 25-year-old super-lightweight is now fighting out of Canada and worth keeping your eye on.
Reshat Mati of Staten Island, New York (8-0, 6 KOs) scored another win over Marcos Mojica of Nicaragua (17-6, 13 KOs) in a second round TKO.
Super bantamweight Darren Cunningham of Las Vegas (12-0, 6 KOs) remained undefeated with a six round unanimous decision over Gabriel Medina of the Dominican Republic (11-5, 10KOs).
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is an award-winning sportswriter and a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on social media: @PRProSanDiego.
Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.