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As Floyd Mayweather so often said about his own fights, it was easy work Saturday in Melbourne, Australia, for Devin Haney, the new undisputed lightweight champion.
Haney used a blazing jab, his boxing IQ and huge advantages in speed and quickness to blow past George Kambosos and win a unanimous decision before 41,129 at Marvel Stadium in their bout for the undisputed lightweight title.
Haney won by scores of 116-112 twice and 118-110, cruising to an easy one-sided victory. Yahoo Sports had Haney 117-111.
Haney’s father, Bill, is his trainer, and he didn’t arrive in Australia until hours before the fight. But the 23-year-old champion handled himself with class and aplomb, but admitted having his father in the corner made a difference.
“This is a dream coming true,” Haney said. “I was going through this without my Dad here. This was a big moment for both of us. When we started out, we said we wanted to be the best. It would have hurt me to accomplish this without him here.”
Bill Haney had a federal drug conviction more than 30 years ago and wasn’t able to get a visa until only hours before the fight. He arrived dramatically on the morning of the fight and witnessed his son put on a boxing clinic.
Haney popped his jab in Kambosos’ face repeatedly, and he moved out of danger easily whenever Kambosos would load up and try to land a big shot. When Kambosos defeated Teofimo Lopez to win the title last year, he started fast by dropping Lopez in the first.
But he could barely touch Haney for most of the fight. Haney would occasionally drop the right hand in behind his jab, but for the most part, won the title by jabbing Kambosos and using his legs and his movement to move out of trouble.
Haney was never in trouble even though Kambosos said he felt he landed some good shots. Haney reddened Kambosos’ face early and if he had been of a mind to step on the gas and go for it, he may well have been able to get Kambosos out.
“As the fight was going on, I felt he was giving up more and more and more,” Haney said. “I didn’t want to press it. I just wanted to stick to my game plan.”
He did it and became the No. 1 man in a deep and talented division.
There are plenty of big challenges out there for him, notably secondary WBA champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis, but Haney is contractually obligated to give Kambosos a rematch in Melbourne, so that’s what is likely to happen next.
Based on what happened Saturday, there’s little chance that bout is any different than the first one.
It was a brilliant and all-encompassing performance by the 23-year-old champion from Las Vegas, who turned pro at 17 fighting in bars in Tijuana, Mexico.
And you get the sense, the best is yet to come from him.