The lightweight division has heated up in 2020 despite COVID-19 halting live boxing for several months, and one big name who has been watching keenly is current WBO welterweight titleholder, Terence Crawford.
Crawford won his first world title in the 135 lb weight class when he scored a unanimous decision over Ricky Burns in the defending champion's home country of Scotland on Mar. 1, 2014. He has since unified the belts at junior welterweight before now sitting as one of the world's top pound-for-pound fighters at 147 lbs.
His lightweight roots have led to the American keeping a close eye on things, where a host of exciting prospects are rising to the top amidst a sea of formidable contenders.
The division's current champions are Teofimo Lopez Jr., who stunned Vasiliy Lomachenko to add the Ukrainian's WBA (Super), WBO and The Ring titles to his IBF belt; WBC kingpin Devin Haney and the WBA's "regular" champion, Gervonta "Tank" Davis.
The top trio have had plenty to say about each other recently, but it is Haney who has been on the receiving end more often than not. Lopez beating Lomachenko makes him almost impossible to criticize, at least for now, and Davis scored a huge finish on Leo Santa Cruz on Halloween night. Haney, on the other hand, was branded "boring" by some detractors after he went the distance with Yuriorkis Gamboa earlier this month.
Crawford, however, thinks it would be unwise for anyone to count Haney out of any potential unification megafights in 2021 — especially his fellow champions.
“Haney is the one Teofimo and Tank must watch out for," said Crawford to Fighthype. “I don’t know [if Tank can take Teo]. But the one fighter they better watch out for is Devin.”
“Devin is a boxing motherf—er. I don’t care if people don’t like him."
One of the reasons many consider Haney as being a level behind his championship peers is because the 22-year-old is perceived to lack the power needed to go toe-to-toe with more prolific lightweights for the time being.
But Crawford, who blasted former world champion Kell Brook in his latest title defense last Saturday, appreciates Haney's style due to the similarities he sees in himself.
“He don’t got to [slug with his opponents]. No, he’s not,” Crawford added with regards to that particular stigma.
“Hey, he’s been doing it. Yeah, that’s what I’m saying. We’re going to have to see what comes. He’s [Haney] tall, he’s long, and he’s fast, so it’s going to be hard to get in there. When you get in there, you’re going to have to take a couple of jabs, counters, and whatnot.
“That’s why I say. Yes,” said Crawford when asked if Haney could dish out offense on the likes of Lopez and Davis. “It’s going to be hard for Tank because Tank is so small. It’s going to be different with Teofimo, but Tank is so small and short.
“He’s going to jab Tank all day long until Tank gets in and hurts him. Tank is fast as well. Tank is going to have to be in real good shape because when you watch his last fight, he was getting touched up, and Leo [Santa Cruz] is no Devin or Teo.
“We don’t know. I like Ryan Garcia. You see Devin trying to fight more like Floyd [Mayweather], but everyone else has got their own fighting style."
Haney's next fight is unclear, though he could proceed to the winner of Garcia's upcoming fight with Luke Campbell, since the winner will become the interim to Haney's WBC title.
That bout was set for Dec. 5 in California, but a positive COVID-19 test for the Brit saw the fight pushed to January 2.