Easy work for "The Dream," as he defended his WBC lightweight title Saturday night, before expressing interest in fighting unified lightweight champ Teofimo Lopez Jr. next.
Devin Haney didn't produce the sensational highlight and statement that he was looking for.
However, "The Dream" thoroughly dominated Yuriorkis Gamboa to cruise to a unanimous decision and defend his WBC lightweight title Saturday night. Judges at the Hard Rock Live at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, had it 120-107, 120-107 and 118-109 all in favor of Haney, who flexed superior boxing skills on Gamboa in the near shutout.
"I thought I put in a world-class performance," Haney told DAZN's Chris Mannix following his title defense, which improved his record to 25-0 with 15 KOs. "Of course, I wanted the knockout, but he was a crafty veteran, he was doing a lot of holding, trying to survive."
Days shy of turning just 22, Haney immediately set the tone against Gamboa by asserting his jab and alternating its placement between the body and head. That early strategy led to Haney opening up his offense and letting loose with big right hooks that blasted Gamboa across the jaw over several sequences in the fight. Those power shots paved the way for Gamboa to resort to holding and going into survival mode. Haney unleashed three- and four-punch power combinations looking for a knockout in the 10th round to the point where Gamboa excessively held the champion in the 11th and was penalized a point by the ref for it.
Haney tried to once again hunt for the KO in the 12th, but time ran out. He didn't get the knockout highlight like Gervonta Davis did last week against Leo Santa Cruz or against Gamboa last December, but Haney did deliver a boxing clinic that should set up higher stakes.
"I showed that I'm here and I'm not going anywhere," Haney continued saying after the fight. "Fighting someone like Gamboa was a stepping stone, but I'm here for the big fights. I want to make the biggest fights happen to bring the best out of me."
He added: "There's a lot of big fights in the lightweight division. Teofimo Lopez is the one with the rest of the belts, so that's the main fight that I want to make happen."
Haney instructed to "bully" and walk Gamboa down entering this 12th and final round. Gervonta Davis got a 12th-round TKO of Gamboa last December. Can Haney do the same? He's trying to piece together some power shots. Oh! Haney momentarily staggers Gamboa with a big right. Gamboa goes back to holding. Haney with another right that lands. Haney with another clean right hand. Gamboa is holding on and nothing more with 30 seconds left. Twenty seconds. Ten. Haney is going for a grand slam, but time is up. (10-9 Haney, 119-108 Haney)
Let's see if Haney goes for the knockout. He's pressuring and continuing to walk Gamboa down. Gamboa is resorting to plenty of holding. Haney just missed on his right. The ref docks one point from Gamboa for excessive holding. That holding is keeping Haney from blasting Gamboa with something spectacular. It's survival for Gamboa. (10-8 Haney, 109-99 Haney)
Haney's dad and trainer advises him to get back to touching Gamboa and "The Dream" is doing exactly that with his jab early on. He's planting the job upstairs and depositing it into Gamboa's body as well. Haney with a left, before letting the uppercut fly, too. Haney is composed as can be while picking Gamboa apart and chipping into the game challenger. (10-9 Haney, 99-91 Haney)
Gamboa goes to the body, but Haney walks him down with some jabs and stiff shots upstairs. Haney buzzes Gamboa with a big left hook that lands flush across the jaw. Haney now connects with a straight right hand as well. Clean, accurate target practice for Haney at this point. He's more than dominating. (10-9 Haney, 79-73 Haney)
Haney lunges with a big left hook that lands flush. And another. Now, "The Dream" with a big right hook that connects as well. How is Gamboa standing from these shots? Gamboa answers moments later with a left, but couldn't add to it much. (10-9 Haney, 69-64 Haney)
Haney letting loose on the right hook upstairs, before going back to the left jab, which he's stinging Gamboa with. Left to the body from Gamboa and Haney answers with a left hook. Gamboa is tying Haney up in the clinch often, but Haney is bashing Gamboa with body shots that should set up that right hand. (10-9 Haney, 59-55 Haney)
Gamboa lands a left hook on the inside, as he pressures to get into the phone booth with Haney. However, the champ is in firm control and asserts his jab once again to keep the challenger at bay. Gamboa has picked up his activity this round. A much better round for him, as he lands a right as well. Haney lands a left hook. Gamboa might have just managed to do enough to take this round, but Haney is dominating thus far. (10-9 Gamboa, 49-46 Haney)
Haney seems to be getting stronger with every round. Haney plants two lefts into Gamboa's body and then comes back upstairs with that long jab. He's in complete control and softening Gamboa up with his peppering punching. Haney with a nice short right hook that lands. And another, before launching an uppercut and a right hook. Lead right hand from Haney now. The champ is building onto his offense. The ref stops the action to warn Gamboa about punching on the break. Haney goes right back to working Gamboa's body. (10-9 Haney, 40-36 Haney)
Gamboa coming out a bit more aggressive, lunging forward. Big right hand from Haney lands and Gamboa just eats it. Gamboa is head hunting and looking for that right, but hasn't been able to land it with impact thanks to Haney's movement. Haney wrapping his right hook around Gamboa's guard on a few sequences here. Haney is throwing his right hook to the body, as he clearly looks for an overhand punch to do major damage. (10-9 Haney, 30-27 Haney)
Haney using the jab to look for more, as he pumps the left and tries to come behind that with an overhand right. When he just misses, the champ goes right back to the jab to the body. Haney is skillfully alternating between working the body and going upstairs. And when he's not doing that, he's countering or getting ready to counter. The champ and challenger stare each other down at the bell of the second. (10-9 Haney, 20-18 Haney)
Booker showing a few signs of life by fighting back during the early stages of the round, but Hrgovic comes back and is peppering Booker with punches. Booker looks like a punching bag with feet out here. Hrgovic with a few more unanswered shots and that's it. The ref has seen enough and doesn't want to watch Booker take any more punishment. It's over, as Hrgovic gets the fifth-round TKO. That was the right call, too, as Hrgovic's one-way traffic was getting excessive.
Hrgovic really told his friend, Booker, "You're too old!"
Hrgovic is just unloading at Booker with his right hand. Booker is upright and getting punched a lot without showing any significant movement. Hrgovic splits Booker's guard with a right straight through the middle and he's mashing the dash with his punch volume. He's placing punches anywhere he wants, whether it's pinpointed shots to the body or upstairs to the head. (10-9 Hrgovic, 30-26 Hrgovic)
Hrgovic landing some clean, crisp shots early on this round. And he's doing it at will, as Booker is a stationary target. Hrgovic is really letting his big right hand fly now, as he lands the punch three times. And he chops Booker down with one of those right hands. Booker beats the count and the round is over. The shot that knocked Booker down was a chopping right behind the ear. (10-8 Hrgovic, 20-17 Hrgovic)
Hrgovic already the more active fighter, as he wraps a left around Booker's guard. However, he's looking for that big right hand. Moments later, Booker lands a left of his own. Hrgovic ends the first round by banging the body. (10-9 Hrgovic)