The WBC lightweight champion returned to the ring at Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Florida, and he made sure that his opponent did not have any chances of upsetting him.
Devin Haney (25-0, 14 KOs) scored a unanimous decision win over Yuriorkis Gamboa (30-4, 18 KOs) as two judges gave every round to the champion and one judge gave him ten of the twelve rounds. It counts as the second defense of the WBC title for Haney and the second consecutive loss for Gamboa as he was unsuccessful against Gervonta Davis last December.
The younger and taller fighter used his abilities to be first to the punch early and often. Haney’s jab was constantly landing and Gamboa had no answer but to clinch. There was a lot of that going on over the course of the fight as Gamboa kept finding a way to tie up the 21-year-old on multiple occasions. There was one instance where Gamboa hit Haney off the break which had referee Telis Assimenios turn towards him and give him a warning. Gamboa had issues getting within range of Haney to land many punches, and when he did he either got hit back or went to the clinch. By the 12th round, the fight was long decided but Gamboa continued with the excessive holding. As a result, Gamboa had a point taken away.
While it didn’t look like a visually pleasing encounter, Haney was happy with what he did in the ring. “I’m pleased with the performance because I didn’t take any punishment,” said Haney. “I came out of there looking like I did when I went in, I was ready to fight again if I had to.”
The ruggedness from the veteran was in display and the young champion pointed that out as to why he was not able to finish with a knockout.
“Gamboa is a crafty opponent, he showed that he can survive, he showed why he has been in the game for a long time. Anyone that has knocked him out has taken punishment while doing it, I didn’t take any punishment and maybe that’s why I didn’t get the KO.”
That was what Haney was aiming for leading into the fight as he is among the fighters in the spotlight that the lightweight division has. Other young unbeaten fighters include unified champion Teofimo Lopez who defeated Vasyl Lomachenko, Gervonta Davis who scored a knockout of the year candidate against Leo Santa Cruz last weekend, and Ryan Garcia who is set to face Luke Campbell on December 5th. With a stoppage over Gamboa it would have given Haney some momentum into 2021 for potential big fights, but the decision win was enough for Haney coming off a shoulder injury. He acknowledged that criticism would come his way and that next year would be a great year for “The Dream”.
“There’s always going to be pressure, every fight is going to have everyone watching and critiquing what you do, I understand that. I am ready to put on a big 2021 and fight best and put on a statement to show the world that I am the best.”
Cover photo by Meliza Pizano of Matchroom Boxing