WBC lightweight “champion in recess” Devin Haney came under fire on Friday, when a video surfaced of the boxer making statements that some fans and industry figures perceived to be racial in nature.
In response to a viewer on 78SPORTSTV, Haney gave his take on a potential future fight with unified lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko.
“I’ll tell you this. I will never lose to a white boy in my life. I don’t care what nobody got to say. Fight a white boy 10 times, I’m going to beat him 10 times,” Haney said.
The statements began to circulate very quickly on social media and created an immediate backlash.
Haney’s comments were a mirror image of an incident that took place in 2008, when Bernard Hopkins said he would “never let a white boy beat me” during a face to face confrontation with Joe Calzaghe, who won a unanimous decision when the two boxers finally met in the ring.
Hot lightweight contender Ryan Garcia, who fought Haney in the amateurs and may potentially fight him in the pros, gave his stake on the matter.
“We should all respect everyone from every race and see who the best man is! I respect Devin Haney and I believe he didn’t mean this with racist intent but let’s all respect each other for the love of the sport,” Garcia stated.
With the tension growing on social media, Haney reacted, and quickly rejected the incoming claims that he was racist.
“I’m not racist and I never will be a racist. I’m chasing greatness,” Haney said.
World Boxing Council President Maurico Sulaiman reached out to the 21-year-old fighter to discuss the matter.
“I just had a very positive conversation with Mauricio Sulaiman, president of the WBC, and confirmed to him directly my commitment to be a role model and my absolute rejection of discrimination of any kind,” Haney said.
Last year, Haney captured the vacant WBC lightweight title – but then was sidelined with an injury and declared ‘champion in recess’ until he was able to fight. Haney, now fully healed, has already submitted a petition to reclaim his world title status.
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