Devin Haney joins Yahoo Sports' Kevin Iole to preview his June 4 fight versus unified champion George Kambosos Jr. The WBC lightweight champion shares details from his training camp and explains why he didn't mind facing Kambosos in Australia.
KEVIN IOLE: Hey folks. I am Kevin Iole. Welcome to Yahoo Sports, and I think we have a unified title fight coming up here on June 4th, June 5th in Australia. My next guest, Devin Haney, will be challenging George Kambosos. I look at this, Devin, as the undisputed lightweight championship. Is that how you see it? I mean, this is for all the marbles, right?
DEVIN HANEY: Yeah, of course. I mean, it's 100% for the undisputed. There's no question. There's no doubts about it [INAUDIBLE], and yeah.
KEVIN IOLE: I remember talking to you, I think in 2019, and within a span of a couple of weeks, I think I had spoken to you, Teófimo López, Ryan Garcia, Gervonta, talking about fighting each other. And I remember you were the most adamant one. I'm going to fight all these other guys, right?
And here we are three years later, and still those guys haven't fought. None of those guys have fought each other. You're now embarking on at least going after the guy that beat López. Has it been a frustrating experience, Devin, looking at all these good lightweights out there, and you guys haven't fought each other for several years?
DEVIN HANEY: Yeah, I mean, at one point, it was very frustrating when I couldn't get the fights that I wanted. But now, my time has come, and I'm finally getting my shot at everything to become the top lightweight to stand above them all, so I'm happy that everything worked out in my favor.
KEVIN IOLE: This fight is live on ESPN, which I think has got to be a big deal for you. Bless you.
DEVIN HANEY: Thank you.
KEVIN IOLE: It's got to be a big deal for you being live on ESPN, getting a lot of eyeballs on you for a fight like this in front of a crazy crowd in Australia. I commend you, and I think a lot of people commend you for being willing to go to Kambosos' backyard and do this. Did you ever have any doubts when you talk to your father about this? Did you guys have any pros and cons about maybe not going down there?
DEVIN HANEY: No, I told my dad that this is what I wanted. It's what I wanted to do. And we've been talking about it since after the fight. We knew that he wanted to fight in Australia, so we were up for it.
And so it wasn't like a mystery or something that just came out of the blue. We've been knowing about it for a while and something that I wanted to do. I have no problem beating him in his own country because I truly believe I'm the better fighter. I have the better skillset, and I'm the best fight in the world. So I'm willing to do whatever it is to show it, and I will finally get my just due. I'm excited for it.
KEVIN IOLE: You've never said this, but there are other-- a lot of your peers, they talk to outside of the street thing and I, so-- like I was so frustrated at Errol Spence and Terence Crawford so many times. They're bringing up who sold more pay-per-views instead of talking about fighting. Why do you think that attitude permeates boxing so much, and do you think by you doing this and taking the lead and saying, hey, I'll go anywhere to fight the guy, do you think that makes it will make a difference in kind of breaking somebody's logjams?
DEVIN HANEY: Yeah, I mean, I wanted to make a difference. I want to show the world that the boxers that you don't need to-- all the other [INAUDIBLE] street stuff this is false. If you truly want to make [INAUDIBLE], it's up to us fighters to make it happen. And I'm taking that leap, and hopefully the rest of the boxing world sees it, and they see me become victorious, they see me come out on top of it, and they are inspired to do the same.
KEVIN IOLE: And no doubt. I agree with you. And I see you're wearing that SNAC shirt. You trained up in San Francisco with Victor Conte. I had a chance to talk to Victor about your training, and he told me one of the things that he wanted to see out of you was you punched harder, right? He said you were guys were working on increasing punching power. How did you do that?
DEVIN HANEY: Just different drills, and that's what we were just working on, different drills, stuff with the legs, and it will show on June 4th. I look to show my increased punching power and everything all above. We increased speed, power, agility. We took it to the next level of this training camp.
KEVIN IOLE: Obviously, Teófimo López punches hard, and he couldn't get Kambosos out of the [INAUDIBLE]. You've got to be impressed with Kambosos' chin. But to me, your speed is at a different level than Teófimo. So do you think that even though Victor talked about punching power, do you think the speed might be the biggest issue in this fight, the fact that you're going to be by far the fastest guy George ever saw.
DEVIN HANEY: Yes, that was [INAUDIBLE]. My speed will be the biggest role in this fight. Speed kills. And that's the best attribute about you. You can't teach speed. You've got to be born with it, and I will show my totally different level of speed on June 4th.
KEVIN IOLE: When you watched López and Kambosos, what went through your mind? Were you shocked at the way the fight unfolded where Teófimo was taking a lot of abuse in that fight?
DEVIN HANEY: Yeah, no. I wasn't surprised because if you look at interview before the fight, I said that Teó didn't look like himself. He didn't look focused. Something looked off about him. And I mean, after the fight, we seen that something was off about him.
KEVIN IOLE: Right. Does it disappoint you in any way? I mean, George is the man, right? He won all those belts that Teó had. So you're challenging the guy to beat the guy. But any disappointment that one of those guys who everybody was pitching as your rival isn't the guy that you're going to be standing across when you go for the whole gold?
DEVIN HANEY: No, because it's about legacy for me. No matter who it is, it was who had the belts. Teó had the belts, so I wanted to fight him. George has the belts now, so that's why we're fighting.
And then I didn't have anything personal towards Teó or George, but I want my name to be stamped in the history books. This is something that I truly want that I've worked hard for. And it doesn't matter who have the belts. I wanted to fight whoever.
KEVIN IOLE: Before you signed with Top Rank for this fight, you were promoted by Eddie Hearn of Matchroom. So I think most people will say Matchroom and Top Rank are the best promoters in the business. What were your conversations with Eddie Hearn like in terms of getting a fight of this caliber? Had you been frustrated with Eddie about the inability to get the big fight?
DEVIN HANEY: I didn't think Eddie wasn't doing nothing but putting me in there with people who wanted to fight me. A lot of guys didn't want to fight me, and that's just reality. Eddie did a great job with my career up to this point. But I moved on with Top Rank and ESPN, and they did a hell of a job. Lou DiBella did a hell of a job, and they got me the biggest fight for me, and here I am.
KEVIN IOLE: You got to really grit your teeth when you're in Australia listening to Lou DiBella go on there for a while at the press conference, right?
DEVIN HANEY: I mean, Lou DiBella, he's done a hell of a job. I couldn't thank him enough for the opportunity, and I look forward to seeing him on the podium about to talk about it because this is all a dream come true for me.
KEVIN IOLE: Lou's my man. I was just messing with him. So yeah, hey, I want to ask you this. You haven't been the biggest ticket seller, right?
And I've asked this to a couple of guys. Floyd Mayweather had that rap early on in his career. He couldn't sell tickets, and he became the biggest draw in the world. Do you think that going to ESPN and being on free over-the-air cable is the next level to help you become that not just a great boxer, but a superstar in terms of being able to sell pay-per-view, sell tickets, that type of thing?
DEVIN HANEY: Yes, 100%. I definitely think that this is what I needed in my career. I mean, if you look at the biggest star in boxing, Canelo. He didn't start with his own [INAUDIBLE]. He came from HBO. He was already a star, and then he was already a star when he came over there. But now me being a free TV, ESPN, with the most viewership is finally what I needed, and it's the next step. This is another step to becoming a superstar, and I will become a superstar on ESPN.
KEVIN IOLE: And it's one of the things that I give you credit for. You've been doing this. You've been out doing a lot of interviews, promoting the fight. You had a media day during Canelo fight week, and you did a ton of interviews. I know it can't always be a lot of fun to have to do that and answer the same questions over and over, but do you feel like you're starting to see the benefit of it, and do you think like you're putting chips on the pile to kind of build your profile?
DEVIN HANEY: Yes. Yeah, my profile has definitely went up tremendously since the fight has even been announced. So this is a huge opportunity for me, and I'd like to become an even bigger star after the fight. I will become one of the biggest stars in boxing. I can't say the biggest yet, but one of them, I will be.
KEVIN IOLE: Before I let you go, let's get into a little bit how you see the fight going. Like how do you break down Kambosos? What do you think the plan-- how do you get him out of there? How do you get him out of his game plan?
I had seen him fight before he fought Teó, I think against Mickey Bey, and who else. There was a couple of guys I had seen him fight. He seemed like a hard, tough-nosed kid, but not a particularly flashy guy or particularly great boxer. You being a very speedy, good boxer, do you feel like that's just touching him and kind of boxing him is going to be the way you win this fight?
DEVIN HANEY: I mean, skills pay the bills. I have a lot of them, and I'm able to make adjustments in the ring. Anything that he brings to the table, I'll be ready for it. We've studied him a lot. We know what he is going to bring to the table, and I'll look to exploit it on June 4th.
I don't want to say too much because I've still got work to do. But I will use his weaknesses against him and his best attributes against him as well. We studied him tremendously, and I can't wait to exploit everything that we've been working on for him.
KEVIN IOLE: Obviously, you've been trained by your father for a long time. Ben Davison has been in your corner as well. Ben I know, at least for a while, was having trouble getting out of England to get over to the US and then later to Australia. Any update? Is Ben going to be with you on fight night?
DEVIN HANEY: He's still working on his Visa, but it is what it is. We got to stay focused on the fight, the task ahead. My dad has been in my corner every step of the way from since I was a little kid, so that's who I'll be stepping in the ring with.
KEVIN IOLE: So when Ben wasn't for the fights, like say the [? Linares ?] fight when Ben was in your corner, who was the one that came up with the game plan? You and Bill? Your dad? Or did Ben [INAUDIBLE] put in that?
DEVIN HANEY: I mean, of course, Ben has been a help. I wouldn't have him in a corner if he wasn't any type of help. But my dad has always been my head coach.
KEVIN IOLE: OK. Very good. All right. Well, finally, do you feel like you can stop this guy? I mean, you talked about you're punching harder. You said you talked about your speed. You're going to be the fastest guy out there. A lot of times when you hit guys with shots they don't see, that's when you stop them. Do you feel like you can stop George in front of his own people?
DEVIN HANEY: Yes, it's very much possible, but we going to go in there and stick to our game plan, and we'll see what happens. But I'm definitely going to be the worst he's ever been beat before, and we'll just see how it plays out. I see myself being victorious, coming out undisputed champ, dream come true, and I can't wait.
KEVIN IOLE: I love having all these undisputed champs. It's great. June 4th in Australia on ESPN, you will see this young man, Devin Haney, challenge George Kambosos for the undisputed lightweight championship. George-- I'm sorry, Devin. I appreciate you, brother, and I wish you all the best. Good luck to you, my friend.
DEVIN HANEY: Thank you, brother.