The night of April 20th was an extremely rough night for the WBC super-lightweight world champion Devin “The Dream” Haney (31-1, 15 KOs) as he lost his unblemished record, and he failed to capitalize on his opportunity to obtain next level stardom.

(Photo credit: Sumio Yamada)

Haney has systematically constructed a career in which he has the accolades, but for some reason his achievements haven’t translated into star power. Haney’s longtime rival Ryan Garcia has the star power, but Garcia has been boxing for 8 years and he’s never won a world title.

Back in October 2019, Devin Haney was elevated from WBC Interim champion to WBC world lightweight champion. Two years later George Kambosos Jr pulled off a stunning upset when he defeated Teofimo Lopez and won the WBA, WBO, and IBF lightweight titles.

George Kambosos and Devin Haney’s paths would cross when Haney traveled to Melbourne, Australia, to fight for the undisputed lightweight crown. Haney outboxed Kambosos and won by way of unanimous decision.

Four months later back in October 2022, Devin Haney traveled back to Australia to give George Kambosos a rematch. Once again Haney put on a boxing masterclass and won the contest via unanimous decision.

At the age of 23, Devin Haney remained the youngest undisputed four-belt champion. By conquering the stacked lightweight division, you would assume it would be enough to elevate Haney to the superstar level, but unfortunately for him it wasn’t.

Once Haney became undisputed, his peers created the narrative that the belts don’t matter. As a guest on ‘The Last Stand,’ with Brian Custer, Gervonta Davis addressed Haney by saying, “Of course, he has all these belts now, and people still don’t know him. He can’t fight in his hometown. He can’t sell it out.”

As the undisputed world lightweight champion, Devin Haney decided to take a big risk by defending his crown against former number one pound-for-pound boxer Vasiliy Lomachenko. A decisive victory against the former three-division world champion is guaranteed to help Haney’s star shine brighter.

Haney would face Lomachenko on May 20, 2023 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. A fight that had the potential to help Devin Haney become a household name, actually hurt his stock due to the fact that Haney was the beneficiary of what many fight fans believe was a controversial decision.

After the Lomachenko bout, Haney would return to his birthplace of San Francisco, California, for a world title fight. Having outgrown his weight class, Haney moved up to 140 to challenge the WBC world champion Regis Prograis.

In front of a sell-out crowd of 16,000, Devin Haney beat Prograis by way of unanimous decision. With the win, Haney added another accolade, as he became a two-weight world champion. The fight against Prograis added another accomplishment to his portfolio, but his next fight was the opportunity to increase his notoriety.

On Saturday night, April 20th, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, Devin Haney faced his very popular rival, Ryan Garcia. This was Haney’s chance to get a big win and as a result of the victory, have his status as a boxing superstar trend in the right direction.

Unfortunately in the opening round of the bout, Haney stumbled out of the gates as he got caught by Garcia’s signature left hook. Through the course of the bout, Haney would hit the canvas three times and lose the fight by way of majority decision.

Ryan Garcia overpowered Devin Haney and as a result, Garcia finally got the big win he’s been seeking his entire career. Due to the fact that Garcia missed weight, Haney was able to keep his WBC world title belt, but he suffered a brutal loss, and he missed out on his chance to become the face of boxing.

Devin Haney and his father/trainer, Bill Haney, were making strategic moves in regard to enhancing Devin Haney’s profile. They took a page out of Money Mayweather’s playbook where Bill would play the role of the heel.

The objective was to be like Money Mayweather where you play a character that people despise to the point they want to see Devin Haney lose. That way people who like Devin pay to see him win, and people who don’t like Devin pay to see him lose. Bill played his role well, but the plan never reached its destination.

Devin Haney is a highly skilled ring technician, but if becoming the face of boxing was his ultimate goal, he probably will never attain that status because his jab-and-grab style is not appealing to the fans. Haney doesn’t have an outgoing personality, and he doesn’t possess the power of a crowd-pleasing knockout artist.

Haney’s chances of elevating to superstar status and becoming a premier pay-per-view attraction diminished on the night of April 20th. However, after taking some time off, he can still bounce back and continue building a hall-of-fame resume by defending his title and possibly moving up to 147 to make an attempt at becoming a three-division world champion.

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