Devin Haney has intentions of showing the world why he is “top dog” and wants to prove he is a legitimate champion when he takes on Alfredo Santiago this weekend.
Haney will be fighting for the first time since picking up his WBC world lightweight title as he faces Santiago on the undercard to KSI-Logan Paul at the Staples Center in the early hours of Sunday morning, live on Sky Sports Box Office and DAZN.
The undefeated 20-year-old American stopped Russian Zaur Abdullaev in September to win the interim title before being elevated to champion after the WBC made Vasiliy Lomachenko ‘Franchise’ champion at 135lbs.
Speaking to the media after the public work out Haney has been quoted as saying “The world is watching. They want to see if I’m a real world champion or not,”
“I’ve got to go in there and put on a dominant performance, show the world that I earned the belt and that I am a top dog and if you want to fight me it won’t be easy.
“Of course I would have won it in the ring but they can’t take it away from me, I’m world champion.”
Santiago who is also undefeated holds a record of (12-0, KOs 4) will make his American debut after taking the fight at short notice but Haney is adamant it wont be an easy night’s work.
“With me having the belt, anybody they put me in with, they’re going to be hungry, they want to become world champion and beating me can change their whole life,” added Haney (23-0, KOs 15).
“So I’m not taking them lightly at all, I’ve got to go in there and take care of business and fight as if I was fighting for the world title.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn believes 2020 will be a break out year for Haney, who many believe could be the next big star in the sport by following in the footsteps of former pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather.
“Already people are calling him out. ‘Tank’ [Gervonta] Davis this week online, that’s a huge fight,” said Hearn.
“Ryan Garcia is a mega-fight for 2020, Luke Campbell, he’s got a mandatory against Javier Fortuna. Lomachenko is a fight he really wants, Teofimo Lopez, so many big fights out there for him and he’s 20!”
By Kenny Leavett.