Posted on 12/11/2023
By: Sean Crose
Almost eight years to the day after Devin Haney became a professional fighter, the San Francisco native attained stardom. That fact that he did so in front of a hometown crowd last Saturday night probably only served to make the moment sweeter for the 25 year old multi-divisional titlist. For there, before a packed crowd at San Francisco’s Chase Center, Haney completely outclassed talented WBC junior welterweight titlist Regis Prograis. While it was true that Haney was favored walking in to the pay per view event, no one expected the man to dominate the hard hitting Prograis so thoroughly. In a year where Terence Crawford and Naoya Inoue mopped the floor with high caliber opposition, Haney helped wind down boxing’s 2023 by doing much the same against Prograis.
“I did everything I said I was going to do,” Haney said immediately after his wide unanimous decision win this past weekend. And indeed he did. That’s what’s so unique about Haney’s rise to the top: the fact that he walks the walk over and over again. In a sense, Haney is from another era. He challenges himself without fear and with complete and total focus. In an era where smack talk on Twitter adds to a fighter’s popularity, Haney largely lets his fists, and world class footwork, do the talking.
Indeed, since 2019, Haney has fought the following men: Yuriorkis Gamboa, Jorge Linares, Joseph Diaz, Jorge Kambosos (twice), Vasyl Lomachenko, and now Regis Prograis. Each of these men were, to one degree or other, fighters of note. Haney bested every one of them. Although his high octane chess match with Lomachenko frankly could have gone either way, no one could ever accuse Haney of winning via robbery. At 30-0, Haney now stands at the top of boxing’s heap by virtue of challenging himself and doing so with regularity. Make no mistake about it, boxing’s newest legitimate star got to where he is the old fashioned way – by proving himself repeatedly.
“Haney is Good no doubt,” Ryan Garcia posted after Saturday’s bout, “but I know him all to well and I will beat him. Good stuff tonight congrats but this year we are going to run it!!!” Garcia’s promoter, Oscar De La Hoya appeared to fully support his fighter’s attempt to land a high profile Haney fight. “I’m going to push for @RyanGarcia vs @Realdevinhaney,” De La Hoya claimed, “let’s go!!!!” Although few would argue that Garcia would stand much of a chance should he meet Haney in the ring, the fact remains that popular fighters – and Garcia is nothing if not popular – are now well aware who sits atop the sport’s figurative Everest.
Other potential big name Haney opponents now have two choices – try to land a fight with the man or stand accused of ducking a serious threat. At this point, there really is no third option.