The WBC has demoted Devin Haney to ‘Champion in recess,’ upgraded interim champ Alberto Puello, ordered him to defend against mandatory Sandor Martin, and made recently beaten Gary Antuanne Russell the new mandatory.

Puello vs. Martin: The First Defense

You can’t say the World Boxing Council hasn’t been slow to move Haney off the top spot once he made it known that he wasn’t interested in fulfilling his mandatory obligation or defending against his overdue title defense against Spain’s Sandor Martin (42-3, 15 KOs).

The date and location for the Puello vs. Martin fight are still to be determined, but it needs to happen soon. Martin has already been waiting for an opportunity to challenge for the WBC title, and he won’t wait any longer than he has to.

The WBC moved with lightning quickness to upgrade Puello (23-0, 10 KOs) to the full light welterweight champion status after he captured the interim title on June 15th, beating Gary Antuanne Russell (18-1, 17 KOs) by a twelve-round split decision at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

The Rise of Puello and the Fall of Haney

It’s a move that the WBC had to make after Haney made it known that he wasn’t happy with the amount of last week’s purse bid, which Top Rank won with a winning bid of $2.42 million.

Had Haney gone through with the defense, he would have wound up with a minuscule purse of $1.5 to $1.6 million, and that’s nowhere near the hefty payday he got for his recent mega-fight against Ryan Garcia on April 20th.

Puello isn’t in the same ballpark as Haney in popularity, but he is arguably more talented. He would stand a better chance of holding onto the WBC title against Sandor and the other contenders he’ll have to deal with as the champion.

What’s Next for Haney?

Haney’s punch resistance, such as it is, would leave him vulnerable to being dethroned against contenders like Russell, Jose Ramirez, and Richardson Hitchins.

It’s unclear where Haney plans on going from here. Although he’s the WBC ‘Champion in recess,’ he’s not expected to return to the 140-lb division to attempt to reclaim it. If he does return to 140, it would likely be for a lucrative fight against Teofimo Lopez, Isaac Cruz, or Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis.

That’s if Haney’s career doesn’t bottom out from inactivity or his taking losses at 147 against the killers in that weight class.

Read the full article here