Devin Haney makes the third defence of his WBC lightweight world title on Saturday night, colliding with El Nino de Oro in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The above is an arch attempt at a meteorological pun, though it disappointingly fails, given how Jorge Linares’ nickname actually translates to Golden Boy, rather than making any promise to the climactic phenomenon warming the surface waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean.
However, be that as it may, Haney vs Linares appeals on several thematic levels. Firstly, despite having a record of 25-0, only now does Devin Haney seem to be approaching opponents of any creditable challenge. Yes, Yuriorkis Gamboa was 38 at the time of their November 2020 bout, and Jorge will be 35 when the bell rings on Saturday, but it will be a pleasant change to see Haney again in with someone recognisable, rather than his usual modus operandi of calling out Lomachenko, Garcia and Lopez, and then fighting a Mason Menard.
Brash and loud, quick and skilful, Haney is an alumni of the Mayweather promotional school, albeit in behaviour rather than officially, given he is not actually signed with Mayweather Promotions. Though the two have trained together, causing a social media brouhaha, when Floyd was seen assisting Devin despite being the official promoter of a potential future rival, Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis.
Victory on Saturday will be essential, if Devin hopes to progress into hopefully taking a few of these better fights.
And of Jorge? Well, as mentioned, he is 35 years old and thus within the twilight years of his career, which, given that he fights at, and endures the rigours of maintaining, a low weight, shall surely soon be feeling the rapid encroach of dusk. His last career peak appears to have been during 2017-2018, when he recorded wins over Luke Campbell and Mercito Gesta, before losses to Lomachenko (by no means an indication of any true decline (he also had Lomachenko down in the sixth round) and, in 2019, Pablo Cesar Cano (a first round KO defeat which did suggest that the decline had perhaps already occurred, or that it was now within full materialisation)).
Jorge is loved within boxing fandom, within both the mainstream and the hipster element, and by both men and women alike. His unofficial nickname Gorgeous Jorge is certainly with merit, and there will be a significant, enthusiastic bloc hoping that his recent wins against Al Toyogon and Carlos Morales are the signs of a fighter if not railing against the dying of the light, then at least one basking in the fading crepuscular shards of auburn before they drop forever below the equator.
Tune in on Saturday night to see which of these divergent narrative arcs will continue.
Yuriorkis Gamboa – WIN – UD (120-107, 120-107, 118-109)
Alfredo Santiago – WIN – UD (120-107, 120-107, 120-107)
Zaur Abdullaev – WIN – RTD Round 4
Antonio Moran – WIN – KO Round 7
Carlos Morales – WIN – KO Round 4
Al Toyogon – WIN – UD (100-89, 99-90, 99-90)
Pablo Cesar Cano – LOSS– KO Round 1
Abner Cotto – WIN – KO Round 3
Date: May 29th 2021
Time: Ring walk approx. 4.30am (GMT)
Venue: Michelob Ultra Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.