Devin Haney insists he is on a “different level” as the unbeaten and undisputed lightweight champion targets pound-for-pound recognition when facing Vasiliy Lomachenko in Las Vegas on Saturday night.

Haney is looking to cement his legacy when he steps into the ring at the MGM Grand with one of the all-time greats in ‘The Matrix’ Lomachenko, live on Sky Sports in the early hours of Sunday morning.

“I think this fight is going to put me much higher on the pound-for-pound list,” Haney told Sky Sports. “It’s going to solidify me as a real champion. Real undisputed, the man of the division and one of the best fighters in the whole world.”

‘The Dream’ is out to make a statement and silence some of the naysayers with a career-defining performance, and added: “I want to shock the world, and show the world how great I really am. I want the world to give me my just due after this fight and believe in the Devin Haney hype.”

Lomachenko will look to reclaim lightweight supremacy when he goes up against the undefeated Haney for his WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO and The Ring titles.

Devin Haney after beating George Kambosos

The Ukrainian lost three of the lightweight titles against then-undefeated New York native Teofimo Lopez in October 2020, and now has sights on a return to the pinnacle of boxing. This bout will be his first involving a world title in almost three years, with an astonishing 14 of his 15 fights prior to the Lopez defeat all involving a world honour.

The two-time Olympic gold medallist goes into a title fight as the underdog for the first time in his professional career, but despite potential blockbuster bouts against Gervonta Davis and Shakur Stevenson on the horizon, Haney is not looking past his legendary opponent.

“We’ve got to get past Loma first, that’s the main goal. I cannot look past him,” Haney said.

“Once I’m victorious and I put on a great performance, then we’ll entertain every fight out there that makes sense. But my main focus right now is Loma.”

Stevenson is also a successful Olympian, winning a silver medal at Rio 2016, and after sparring between the pair was publicised, Haney is aware of the interest and is open to the potential bout.

“We both have sparred each other since we were kids. I got the best of him at times, he got the best of me. We’re much older now but that fight can be a fight in the future,” Haney said.

Heading into the second defence of his unified crown, Haney understands the skill of Lomachenko but believes he is the better man and looks forward to putting the doubters to rest on Saturday.

“Loma is a quality fighter. He’s proven himself time and time again. But you know, I’m just different,” Haney added.

“I’m different than all those other guys that he fought and I’m on a different level than all those guys that he fought, and I will show him that.

“He will be in for a surprise on May 20 [given] how much speed, how much skill, how much power and how much explosiveness that I have in the ring.”

Haney is no stranger to big challenges. Rather than take the conventional Olympic route, he and his father and trainer, Bill Haney, decided it would be best to turn professional from the age of 17 and cross the Mexican border in order to fight for a living.

“My route was different to a regular fighter,” Haney said. “I went a different path, but I came out on top, so I thank Allah for that; for guiding me and looking over me along this journey and to continue looking over me.”

These bouts were often against seasoned veterans who were in their 20s and 30s. After garnering professional experience in Mexico, Haney was able to turn his attention to the American circuit and continue his dominant run.

Haney acknowledges his route may have been different to that of other American talents, and he is grateful for how the journey has turned out so far.

He said: “Even though my journey was different, started in Mexico fighting in bars, I still came out on top and every day I’m getting better and better. I’m just happy that I’m on this big stage and able to get ready to prove myself and how great that Allah has made me.

“It definitely feels unreal, surreal sometimes but it’s where I worked so hard to get here and I’m working even harder to stay so tune in on May 20 and you’ll see how great Devin Haney is.”

With Saturday night fast approaching, The Dream’s biggest test to date as a professional is imminent, and a loss at this pivotal point of his career, could become a nightmare. One he hopes to avoid.

Source: Sky Sports