The weekend of Mexican Independence Day has always been a big one for boxing fans, usually highlighted by a fight involving one of boxing's most established superstars.
This year's Mexican Independence Day weekend lacks one after Canelo Alvarez's in-ring return, originally set for September 14 on DAZN, was delayed due to not being able to come to terms with a dance. That opened the door for Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn to take advantage and bring Devin Haney, one of his fast-rising stars, and have him headline a show at Madison Square Garden.
Haney will headline the September 13 Matchroom Boxing on DAZN card in a WBC lightweight title eliminator against Zaur Abdullaev at the Hulu Theater in the fame New York venue. While the opportunity to headline Madison Square Garden may seem like it was something in the work for quite some time, Hearn tells Fightful that it came together as a result of fighters not getting fights done and other fighters also taking September 14 as a fight date.
“You know what, I shouldn’t really tell you the truth, but I’m going to tell you the truth. I should tell you that this was our plan all along, but we were waiting and waiting (on Alvarez to announce his fight) and I thought, ‘You know what? We gotta make our move.’ So Tyson Fury was rumored to be fighting on September 14 and our team just went out and said, ‘Tell me the venues that are available around that September 13 date.’ They came back and said Madison Square Garden’s available. As soon as they said, I’d like to tell you that I thought of that idea, but as soon as they said that to me, I said that is where we’re going," Hearn said.
It was at this moment in which Hearn got the idea of putting Haney, who has never fought at the Garden in his professional career, up as the main event. The timing of everything fell into place, especially the ramifications of the main event. The winner of Haney vs. Abdullaev would be the mandatory challenger to the winner of the Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Luke Campbell fight for the WBA, WBO and WBC world titles taking place on August 31.
Though Haney will not fight at the main venue at Madison Square Garden, Hearn believes the unbeaten rising contender will still sell it out and it will only be a matter of time before he does the same for the much bigger arena in New York.
"I text Bill Haney (Devin’s father) and I said, ‘Devin Haney x MSG. This is a match made in heaven.’ You have this guy that’s going to be a national superstar, but there is nowhere like New York to establish yourself. It’s the media capital, it’s Madison Square Garden. As soon as I found out that was available, I put this fight together, such a great card. We know that it can only hold 3,500-4,000 in that Theater. It’s going to be completely banged out. It’s a natural progression for Devin to fill the Theater before he fills out the main arena, which is only a matter of time,” 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.