American party-pooper Devin Haney says he should be considered among boxing’s best after vanquishing George Kambosos Jnr in emphatic fashion on Sunday.
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez is considered the top pound-for-pound boxer after becoming the first undisputed super middleweight titles champion in the four-belt era.
But now that Haney has done the same in the lightweight division, with a unanimous victory at Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium, he says he too should be rated among boxing’s elite.
He joined an exclusive club of seven fighters to unify a division in the 18-year four-belt era, addressing the media post-fight surrounded by silverware after adding the WBO, WBA and IBF belts owned by Kambosos to his WBC strap.
“I got to be high up on the pound-for-pound list,” said the 23-year-old, whose record is now 28-0.
“They’ve said the lightweight division is the best in boxing … and there is only one top guy in the lightweight division, there is no more dispute.
“I have everything you can possibly get – I’m the top dog.”
Haney said he felt relaxed throughout the fight, using his reach to negate the weapons of Kambosos with his relentless jab.
“I was in his backyard so I wanted to stay smart and fight my fight,” he said.
“I was fighting at my rhythm and taking away his best attributes.”
Haney and Kambosos have a rematch clause in their contract but the American was non-committal about returning to Melbourne for the second fight later this year.
“It’s really up to my team – they will come up with a game plan and if they’re up for it, then I’m up for it,” Haney said.
“We had to take less money, we had to travel, come without my dad, we made a lot of sacrifices to make the fight happen but it all paid off.”
While he said bringing a nutritionist to Australia had helped him make weight, he would consider vacating the division to move up to junior welterweight.
“We’ll see what makes the most sense – this is a business,” he said.
“I’m not ducking or dodging nobody but I am a huge 135 pounder.”
The young American was joined by his trainer father Bill, who only arrived in Australia on Saturday night from Las Vegas, after he was able to gain a late visa. His first visa bid was denied due to a 30-year-old drug charge.
Having his dad in his corner made the achievement all the more special, said Haney.
“More than the belts or anything I wanted to go into war with my father, whether it was for one belt, two belts, however many, it was more important for my dad to be there,” Haney said.
“It was a blessing he was able to come in the day before the fight and that we’ve accomplished this together – we’ve talked about this since I was eight or nine years old.
“This is a dream come true for both of us.”