Devin Haney passed his toughest test with flying colors.
LAS VEGAS — How would Devin Haney fare in his toughest test to date against Jo Jo Diaz?? Would he be looking ahead to a possible undisputed title fight versus George Kambosos Jr.? Would he make the same mistakes Teofimo Lopez did last weekend when he fought Kambosos?
The answer to the latter two questions was a definitive no, and Haney passed the test with flying colors and put on the best performance of his career in beating the former junior lightweight champion and 2012 Olympian via unanimous decision (117-111, 117-111, 116-112) to successfully retain the WBC title. DAZN News scored the fight 117-111 for Haney.
"Let's do it for all the belts. The real undisputed," Haney said in his post-fight interview.
Notoriously known as a slow starter, Haney (27-0, 15 KOs) came right out and made Diaz realize he wasn't coming in to coast to a win and wanted to finish him. The 23-year-old showed everything in the arsenal. The jab was exceptional; his footwork was superb, and he was throwing power shots at will, and Diaz wasn't doing much about it. It seemed that Diaz was stuck in neutral and couldn't get going.
Diaz (32-2-1, 15 KOs) finally started to get it going in the middle rounds and made it a fight. He said he was going to bring the dog out of Haney. He went on the inside, pounded the body, and made things difficult for Haney.
Haney didn't circle and ride the bicycle. The 23-year-old stayed in the pocket, fought fire with fire, and didn't back it up. It almost caught up to him in the 12th and final round as Diaz stunned Haney with a left hand. But, Haney stayed composed, landed a short uppercut, and they fought to the final bell.
In terms of what's next, Haney made it clear that he would go to Kambosos' native Australia for the chance to make history.
"I'll go to Jupiter if I have to," Haney said.
Here is what happened at Devin Haney vs. Jo Jo Diaz.
Diaz comes out firing knowing he needs a finish to win. He's throwing everything but nothing flush until.... he lands a crisp left. A big right from haney. A left over the top and Haney eats. Another left over the top by Diaz. Where was this at about three rounds ago?
Two rights from Haney to end things. A really good fight. (10-9 Diaz, 117-111 Haney)
A left and a right wobbled Diaz for a moment. Combination from Haney. Left hook connects from Diaz. Double left from Haney. Right hook by Diaz gets the crowd excited for a moment. Flush left hook by Haney. We are onto the final round where Diaz needs a finish. (10-9 Haney, 108-101 Haney)
Hard right to the body followed up by an uppercut by Haney. Crisp left for Diaz. Hard body shot from Diaz. Another hard right to the body from Haney. Straight left from Diaz. Another straight left from Diaz. Hard right from Haney but Diaz took it very well. Another crisp right to the body from Haney right at the bell. (10-9, 98-92 Haney)
Short right uppercut from Haney. Combination from Diaz. Hard left to the body. Has to keep making Haney uncomfortable. Three-punch combo by Haney. Right uppercut hurt Diaz. Another right hurt Diaz. Diaz comes back with a flurry but Haney lands a big right hand. Great end to the round. (10-9 Haney, 88-83 Haney)
Series of body shots from Diaz but Haney fires a left of his own. Overhand left finds a home for Diaz. Right uppercut lands for the champion. RIght from Diaz. Not much action this round. (10-9 Haney, 78-74 Haney)
Diaz starts the seventh with a hard right to the body. Left to the body from Haney. Left uppercut snaps Diaz's head back. Crisp combo by Haney. Solid left from Diaz. A left stops Haney. Another hard left from Diaz. Haney is taking those well. An overhand right from Haney. Stiff jab by Haney. Much needed round for the challenger. (10-9 Diaz, 68-65 Haney)
An exchange of rights. Straight to the body again by Haney. Making that shot a focal point.
Combination from Diaz that punctuated by a right to the body. Uppercut by Haney. Body shot catches Haney attention as Diaz unleashes a flurry. Two left hooks from Haney. Three-punch combo from Diaz. (10-9, 59-55 Haney)
Diaz is slowly making it his type of fight. He's rushing in on the inside and giving Haney no space for his jab. A left and then uppercut to the body from Haney.
Couple shots to the body caught Haney's attention. Hard body shots from Haney. Good body shot from Diaz. Body shot from Haney. Another body shot to close the round from Haney. (10-9 Haney, 49-46 Haney)
Diaz charges right at Haney with a flurry of punches to the body. Haney comes back with the same. Diaz attempted a left and Haney blasts a short right uppercut. Double jab from Haney. Combination from Haney and Diaz comes back with a hard left hook. Straight right over the top from Haney. (10-9 Haney, 30-27 Haney)
Diaz begins the second with a right hand. He needs to throw more. Looks stuck in the mud. A right by Haney sends Diaz back. Haney is clicking right now. A right to the body. A left and then uppercut for Diaz. Sharp uppercut from Haney. Left-right from Haney. Diaz trying to make it a rough fight with a number of shots to the kidney. A sharp left from Diaz. Enjoyed how Diaz woke up and landed significant shots at the end of the round. (10-9 Haney, 20-18 Haney)
Crowd chanting "Jo Jo". Here comes the "Haney" chants.
Double jab sends Diaz back. Straight right gets through for the champion. Diaz misses wildly with a left. Haney hurts Diaz with a big right hand. Another right hand for Haney. A left and then a right to the body. Diaz already red all over his face.
Love stops Diaz via TKO at 1:22 of the second round.
Love made sure Diaz wouldn't make it out of the second like he did the first. Love went right at Diaz and started unloading power shots. Diaz tried to fight back. But Love was relentless and kept on the onslaught. The referee saw enough and smartly stopped it.
A highlight-reel win for Love. A good win to end 2022. Looking forward to seeing Love against high-quality opposition.
You read that correctly and the fight is still happening. Love came firing. Love blasted a left followed by a right hook to send Diaz down for the first time. He wasted no time with the second one as an uppercut, immediately followed by a left hand sent Diaz to the canvas for the second time. Love thought he had it won but Diaz made it up. And for good measure, Love unloaded a combination and sent Diaz down yet again. Somehow, he made it up and is still fighting. Ton of heart shown by Diaz.