There are levels to boxing. Devin Haney showed Zaur Abdullaev that the hard way.
Haney battered Abdullaev in a fourth-round TKO (corner stoppage) to win the WBC world interim lightweight title at the Hulu Theater in New York's Madison Square Garden on Friday night. Abdullaev's corner decided to end the fight following a left jab and overhand right that perhaps fractured Abdullaev's left cheekbone.
"I wasn't nearly done beating him," the 20-year-old Haney said afterward. "I was just warming up."
Haney improved to 23-0 (15 KOs) with the victory and became the mandatory challenger to unified world lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko's WBC title.
Haney didn't waste time calling out who many boxing pundits believe to be the sport's pound-for-pound best, except he didn't refer to him by name.
"It's No-machenko, because he doesn't want to fight me," Haney said in the ring.
"No-machenko — come on," he added, "let's get this fight going."
Loma could make Haney wait, considering he's likely to face the winner of an expected bout between IBF champion Richard Commey and Teofimo Lopez next for undisputed glory.
Still, Haney's performance Friday night should have put Lomachenko on further notice about the youngster.
Haney came right out and asserted his jab as he proved he was much too quick and accurate for the outclassed Abdullaev. The jab opened up his power shots as Haney threw plenty of stinging combinations, culminating in that punishing overhand right.
After putting on a masterful boxing clinic, "The Dream" continues.