BOXING: Haney vs. Linares – will youth be served or experience prevail?

Photo: Matchroom Boxing

Tonight, from Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, current WBC Lightweight Champion Devin Haney (25-0 15 KOs) takes on former three-weight World Champion Jorge Linares (47-5 29 KOs) in a fight that is shaping up to be one for boxing fans to watch. Haney finally gets a big stage and many think he will shine in under the big lights. Detractors think if Haney is not fully ready to show that potential, then Linares will use his skill and experience to overwhelm the young fighter.

Youth vs experience

There’s no question Haney is considered one of the key young fighters in his boxing division and a budding superstar. Linares, on the other hand, is a veteran of over 50 fights, looking to notch another championship.

Linares, as a young fighter, was explosive and fought with grace and power. He began to have trouble when time after time he would cut early making him vulnerable in fights where he had an advantage.

Case in point his loss to Antonio Demarco, Linares was blistering with combinations and was ahead in the fight, but cuts and exhaustion became too much and he was stopped in the 11th round. He recovered from early tough losses the first being to Juan Carlos Salgado in Japan. That lost lead to three losses in a seven-fight run. He did respond by up putting together a nice run of 13 straight wins over five and a half years before Vasyl Lomachenko put an end to it. He then followed up with a comeback fight victory. He moved up to 140 next and that didn’t go well as he was stopped in one round against Mexican veteran Pablo Cesar Cano. Linares is a mixed bag who has the talent, ability, and skill to be a star but has never fully realized that potential in the ring. With this fight, it could be his last hoorah and if he doesn’t defeat Haney it could be one of the many stories in Boxing o he was good, but there was something missing.

Hayney’s path has been completely different. He created his own promotional company and was headlining on Showtime’s ShoBox series before signing with Eddie Hearn and DAZN. Haney has the skill and presence that many fans love and he’s young and is not afraid to ask for big fights. Many believe other fighters have ducked him because he doesn’t consistently show his skill and fighters may believe the risk isn’t worth the reward. Haney does carry one of the best knockouts of the last few years as he absolutely obliterated Antonio Moranin 2019.

Boxing will to win: Who wants it more?

Two fighters who both possess a nice skillset and the ability to win makes for a good fight. So, what will be the deciding factor? It may just be who has the most will to win, as is always the case in the sport of boxing. Haney, who believes he’s one of the best or the older ex-champ who has seen it all and been through grueling battles over and over. I think when it comes to hunger, they both may have just the same amount. Haney believes he has been ducked and believes he is the best at 135 over current Undisputed Champion Teofimo Lopez. He thinks he can beat everyone in the division and isn’t afraid to let you know about it. The Champion wants to make a statement and leave a statement for the division, and I believe he will do everything he can to do just that. 

In the case of Linares, I believe he feels he has one last run in him. He’s fought at a high level of boxing for years and when he has been counted out, he responded. There was a tease about him and Ryan Garcia meeting in the ring as well, but that never came to be. Now he gets another fight with another young gun and a World Champ, so I believe Linares will give it his all and make for an explosive fight.

Prediction

In this fight it’s tough for me for a prediction as I do believe it will be a good fight. I think that both fighters will bring it and give it their all. I do think Haney will have to dig deep, but I believe he will win by stoppage in 10. Linares seems to have an issue with his gas tank in his losses and though at times Haney may coast I think his youthfulness will keep fresh throughout. If there is one question about this fight, then it could be has Haney recovered fully from his injuries? If he has then I have him stopping Linares in 10.