Lightweight boxer Devin Haney wanted to make a statement against veteran Yuriorkis Gamboa. He dominated but didn’t get the KO.
WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney had many expectations headed into his bout with two-time champion Yuriorkis Gamboa. Haney dominated the fight but fell short of his desired KO ending.
Haney (25-0, 15 KOs), at 21 years old, is the youngest of the new wave of lightweight boxers making headlines with stunning knockouts and grandiose achievements. Haney wanted to follow the recent performances of Teofimo Lopez and Gervonta Davis with a showstopper against Gamboa but didn’t produce the desired eye candy that will generate a buzz with casual fans.
Lopez is the undisputed lightweight champion. He defeated Vasiliy Lomachenko to win the WBC franchise title. Haney originally won the interim WBC belt back in 2018 over Zaur Abdullaev but was promoted to full champion after Lomachenko was given “franchise” status. Lopez has since referred to Haney as the email champion for how he received full champion status.
On Saturday, Nov. 7, Haney fought the toughest opponent of his career in Gamboa, who is a former world champion but is past his prime at 38 years old. Gamboa has been knocked out three times in his career, including a 2019 TKO loss to WBA “regular” lightweight champion Gervonta Davis.
Gamboa’s (30-4, 18 KOs) athleticism is faded, but he still has the boxing knowledge that helped him win an Olympic gold medal in 2004. Even with all of his wisdom, Gamboa was no match for the much younger Haney as he fought to survive, not win.
Devin Haney flashed impressive boxing skills against Yuriorkis Gamboa but couldn’t produce a dramatic knockout
Haney told numerous outlets, including Yahoo, that he wanted an eye-catching win over Gamboa.
“I want to prove a point in this bout that a lot of people are not mentioning my name among the best in the world, and I am looking to change that by putting forth a performance against Gamboa that no one has ever seen before,” Haney told Yahoo leading up to the bout.
Haney proved that he’s an adept boxer but didn’t confirm that he’s one of the world’s top three lightweights.
You got the feeling that Haney was chasing Davis’s 2019 stoppage of Gamboa. Gamboa wasn’t at full strength against Davis suffering an Achilles tear during the fight. Haney fought a healthy Gamboa, so a comparison between the two contests is unfair.
Haney won every round on two of the judges’ scorecards but couldn’t seriously hurt Gamboa with any of his shots. Gamboa looked tired during the second half of the fight and constantly held Haney when the two were close. Gamboa lost a point in round 11 for holding. Haney swung for the fences, but his headhunting took him out of his rhythm to a degree.
Haney’s unanimous decision victory was a win for the blossoming champion. However, it is also a reminder that he still has more to learn before reaching Lopez or Davis’s status. He’s in their neighborhood in terms of talent but not quite on their level just yet.
Haney needed Gamboa to give him some resistance as a learning experience. He has loads of potential but requires some more challenging educational bouts before fighting a boxer like Lopez or Davis. Haney will get there, but he needs some more time to grow.