Although lightweight contender Devin Haney is only 20 years old, his promoter Eddie Hearn isn't wasting time on trying to secure a title shot in the next few months.
Haney can secure a future chance at a world title with a win over Zaur Abdullaev on September 13 in an eliminator for the WBC championship, but Hearn sees a future for Haney beyond 135 pounds. When asked by Fightful about what the plan is for Haney, Hearn said the undefeated boxer can compete all the way up to 154 pounds.
“We had a great chat recently in Dallas with Devin. Devin is a young man, he’s 20 years old and there is no doubt that he is going to walk through the weight classes. When you look at a guy as special as Devin Haney, you don’t want to lose the opportunity to win that first world title at 135 pounds and he’s good enough to win that title at 135 pounds. When you talk about a guy that wants to create history and legacy, you’re talking about a guy that could go up potentially to 154 pounds, I believe in Devin Haney to win those world titles. If he does have that ability to go that far, you want to box off at 135 pounds. At 20 years of age, he’s not going to stay there for years and years," Hearn said.
The current plan with the WBC lightweight title calls for Vasiliy Lomachenko and Luke Campbell to fight for the belt on August 31 in London, which means by the time Haney enters the ring for his fight, he would know who would hold the title. Regardless of what happens, Hearn said he will do everything to give Haney that title shot if came out victorious against Abdullaev.
"So really, the reason we took this fight, even though there is a little bit of uncertainty with who wins [between Lomachenko and Campbell] and when he gets that world title shot, it’s the pressure that he’s going to apply publicly and politically, saying, ‘We won this eliminator. We want the winner of Lomachenko and Campbell].’ If all goes well, our guy Campbell beats Lomachenko and he’ll fight Devin Haney in December. That’s the dream scenario for us. Obviously, Lomachenko is the favorite in that fight and if Lomachenko were to win, we will get a megaphone out and we will make America demand that fight. That’s how you get fights made. I believe that Devin Haney’s profile is rising and rising and people are going to watch him time and time again," Hearn said.
Yet, even if Haney were to beat Abdullaev, there's no guarantee that he would get a title opportunity next. Over on the Lomachenko camp, the plan for him from Top Rank has him not only beat Campbell for the WBC title and then face the winner of an IBF title bout between Richard Commey and Teofimo Lopez in 2020 to crown an undisputed lightweight champion. Hearn doesn't want to hear about those fights, however, as he will make sure the fight everyone wants to see is Haney taking on the Lomachenko vs. Campbell winner.
"If he were to beat Abdullaev, the world is going to want to see him fight the winner of Luke Campbell and Lomachenko. They’re not going to want to see Teofimo Lopez, Richard Commey. They’re not going to want to see the winner of that fight face the winner of [Lomachenko vs. Campbell]. They’re going to want to see Devin Haney fight the winner and it’s our job to make sure we apply the pressure while not looking past Abdullaev which is a tough, tough fight. We also know that to get that 135-pound world title shot, we need it within the next six months,” Hearn said.
Hearn's brief chat with Fightful can be heard in the media call available at the top of the page. Haney vs. Abdullaev will headline the September 13 Matchroom Boxing on DAZN card from the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City.