Eddie Hearn thinks it would behoove Haney to hold onto his autonomy as much as possible.
The Matchroom head recently expounded on Haney’s nascent free agent status in the wake of his successful title defense of his four 135-pound belts last weekend at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Haney turned back Vasiliy Lomachenko over 12 competitive rounds to remain the undisputed champion of the lightweight class.
The fight brings to a close Haney’s promotional arrangement with Top Rank, which had signed Haney last year. Haney completed three fights under Top Rank, two of which came against George Kambosos Jr.
As to whether the 24-year-old Las Vegas resident will re-sign with Top Rank remains unknown. But in response to speculation on Twitter that he had re-signed with the company before the Lomachenko fight, Haney wrote, “absolutely not.”
(It probably does not help Top Rank that a hot mic picked up its founder, Bob Arum, telling Lomachenko at the post-fight press conference that he beat Haney “easy”.)
Hearn has some thoughts about the kind of path Haney can pursue—and it does not involve tying him up in long-term contracts.
“If I’m Devin Haney, [I] probably leaning towards free agency,” Hearn told iFL TV. “It’s a bit dangerous. He’s undisputed at 135. If he moves up to 140, he’s beltless. How it works in this game, they’re gonna want to tie you in.
“If you’re giving him a shot, they’re (the promoters) gonna want you to sign a five-fight deal. I think he should limit himself to two-fight deals. Really, there are so many fights he can take.”
Hearn had promoted Haney for six fights, between 2019 and 2021, before Haney linked up with Top Rank to take on then-unified champion George Kambosos Jr.
Haney has hinted that he expects to move up to the 140-pound division in his next fight.
Hearn laid out a few scenarios that Haney could take, including a possible fight with one of Hearn’s own fighters, newly-signed WBC 140-pound titlist Regis Prograis.
“If I’m him, I want to fight [Rolando] ‘Rolly’ Romero for the WBA 140 title,” Hearn said. “He would just fancy that fight and he would smash Rolly Romero.
“He’s not going to be wanting the Shakur Stevenson fight—it’s not that big and it’s a huge risk fight.
“I think he would fancy the [Gervonta] ‘Tank’ [Davis] fight. I think he’s got a great chance in that fight. I think he would love the Ryan Garcia fight. I’m not sure how he feels about Regis Prograis. That’s a great, tough fight. But Devin’s capable of winning or being competitive in most of those fights.
“So he’s got a big future. He has just beaten Lomachenko. Whether you think the fight was close or not, he has [a big future]. so you need to give him the respect at the same time.”
Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.