WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney (26-0, 15 KOs) marked a successful title defense against former three division champion Jorge Linares (47-6, 29 KOs) via a twelve round unanimous decision victory at the Michelob Ultra Arena in Paradise, Nevada on Saturday.
The win over the 35-year-old Linares marked Haney’s third straight title defense, since he clinched the vacant green and gold belt against Zaur Abdullaev of Russia on 13th September 2019 at the Hulu Theater in New York City.
Previously, Haney defended his title against Alfredo Santiago two months after the Abdullaev fight, then after a year long hiatus he returned to repeat the results against Yuriorkis Gamboa. Interestingly, all of his title defenses so far have been wins by UD.
The fight on Saturday night started with Haney using his speed and agility to his advantage over a weathered Linares, connecting head and body shots on the veteran Venezuelan, who on the other hand was failing to make connections.
However, Linares tried to fight back in the fourth round, landing some jabs on his younger opponent, but the 22-year-old managed to keep a hold on the flow of the fight, continuing with his head and body jabs as Linares lost his rhythm once again.
The fight rolled on but at the end of the tenth round, Linares landed a staggering hook to Haney, who started to hold back in the next and final two rounds of the fight, trying to recollect himself from the jab.
Despite slowing down at the end, Haney was still ahead in points and won the favour of all three judges, who scored the fight 116-112, 116-112 and 115-113 for “The Dream”.
Devin Haney wants Teofimo Lopez up next
In the post fight interview, Haney recalled the blow from Linares in the 10th round that slowed him down, but admitted that the damage was not too much.
“It was a good shot, I was never hurt,” said the champion, “I didn’t get dropped, I didn’t get hurt.”
Acknowledging that he wants to go against the elites at 135, Haney takes the name of the WBA (Super), WBO, and IBF titleholder Teofimo Lopez as his next potential opponent.
“Of course, I want the biggest fights out there. I won easily. If Teofimo Lopez is next, then we can. If Tefimo wants to do it next, let’s get it,” he added.
Nonito Donaire becomes world champion at 38
Four division world champion boxer Nonito Donaire achieved a staggering feat on Saturday, as the Filipino clinched the WBC bantamweight title with a knockout win over Nordine Oubaali, becoming a titleholder at 38 years of age.
Coming off of a one and a half year hiatus away from the squared circle, Donarie showed no signs of ring rust against Oubaali as he knocked down the 34-year-old French pugilist at the 2 minute and 12 second mark in the 4th round, at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
Oubaali, who held the green and gold belt since winning it against Rau’shee Warren back in January 2019, successfully defended it against Arthur Villanueva and Takuma Inoue in the same year, but failed to do so against “Filipino Flash” Donaire and also suffered his first professional defeat in the process.