Devin Haney bristled at suggestions of future fights against lightweight superstars such as Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis or Vasiliy Lomachenko, insisting there is “no way” he can look past George Kambosos Jr.
Haney (28-0, 15KO) beat Kambosos Jr (21-1, 10KO) at Marvel Stadium to become the undisputed lightweight champion of the world and will put all the belts on the line once again on Sunday at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne.
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It was a masterful performance from Haney who dominated the judges’ scorecards in the first fight.
And although many have dangerously predicted a similar outcome in the second fight knowing Kambosos Jr.’s penchant for upsets and proving the doubters wrong, Haney isn’t dreaming about what’s next.
During the Face Off between Haney and Kambosos, host Warren Smith asked Haney about the prospect of fighting ‘Tank’ Davis, one of the most frightening prospects in the lightweight division and a man Haney has been going back and forth with on social media.
But in a tense moment, Haney refused to entertain the thought.
“How could you even think to bring up Gervonta Davis when George Kambosos is sitting right there, right in front of me,” Haney said.
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“There’s no way I can be looking past him. He’s right there in front of me. That’s the man I’ve got to go through.
“Once I go through him, then we’ll talk about what’s next. But my main focus is him.”
Smith pressed further on another potential opponent in Lomachenko, a man who was ranked by Ring magazine in their top pound-for-pound list ahead of Haney, despite the Ukrainian star not having any of the belts.
Haney simply replied: “George Kambosos. George Kambosos. That’s it.”
When Smith asked Kambosos Jr. if he had thought about some of the other lightweight fights that could await, the 29-year-old also did not entertain the thought.
“Devin Haney,” Kambosos Jr. said.
“Devin Haney. That’s all that’s been on my mind since the champ beat me that night.
“All these other fighters are great fighters, great champions. Everyone’s going to fight eventually, but like he’s focused on me, I’m very focused on him.”
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Kambosos Jr.’s laser focus on his target is evident, especially with the lack of words from his end in the build-up to this fight.
Ahead of their first encounter, it was almost difficult to avoid Kambosos Jr, such was his presence.
The result left many pondering if Kambosos Jr. had done too much in the build-up and he admitted he was perhaps giving too much attention to building his own brand as opposed to focusing on the fight itself.
But Haney demanded his rival admit it to his face.
“Just admit it was too much for you,” Haney said.
Kambosos replied: “What was too much?”
Haney hit back: “Everything. It was too much. Too much build-up, you had to agree to too much stuff.”
Kambosos refused to entertain Haney’s request and instead looked back at the first fight in a more positive light.
“I’m very proud of the event,” Kambosos Jr. said.
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“It was the second-biggest [boxing] event in Australian history. So I’m very proud of it.
“But I’m in a good position now, so he is doing well. He is doing well. He is doing well with all the promoting, he is doing well with all the media and it’s good to see a true champ doing well with it.
“For me, I’m doing what I do best.”
And doing what he does best might also translate to Kambosos Jr. being the “real” version of himself, according to Haney.
The Las Vegas native claimed at the time and maintains to this day that all of the trash talk from the former champ stemmed from Kambosos Jr. “being someone he wasn’t”.
Even if Haney was more subdued in the lead-up, he’s proud of one thing.
“I never lied,” Haney said.
“I never was putting out false information. Everything I said was the truth and I still stand on it.
“He was being someone he wasn’t. This is the real him, now he’s giving us the real him and it is what it is.