Many of us tipped Devin Haney to outbox WBC super lightweight champion Regis Prograis in San Francisco on Saturday. However, the level of his domination was so startling that one found themselves comparing this performance to some of the finest virtuoso displays in recent memory.
Haney, the former undisputed lightweight champion, won almost every second of every minute of every round and prevailed via unanimous decision. All three official scorecards were identical: 120-107 from all three judges, A.K.A a no-hitter shutout, which is evidence of a punch-perfect showing.
As the bout unfolded, I found myself comparing it mainly to Floyd Mayweather vs. Diego Corrales from January 2001. While Mayweather was the defending WBC super featherweight champion in that matchup, the unbeaten Corrales was annihilating the field at 130 pounds and had held the IBF title. Some experts were predicting that “Pretty Boy” Floyd wouldn’t be so pretty after this one.
Dutifully, Mayweather turned in arguably the greatest performance of his Hall of Fame career. He decked “Chico” five times and forced his opponent’s corner to wave the white towel in Round 10. There’s a popular opinion that Corrales was dead at the weight, but the ill-fated boxer-puncher won the WBO super featherweight title from Joel Casamayor over three years later.
How dominant was Mayweather against Corrales? Well, according to CompuBox, the American landed 220 of 414 punches (53%) while Corrales scored a paltry 60 of 205 (29%), landing no more than nine shots in any round. “By landing only single-digit punch totals in each round, Corrales set a CompuBox record for futility,” was how Dan Rafael reported on the action for ESPN.
So how does Haney versus Prograis compare on CompuBox? Well, hold on to your hats! While Haney scored 129 of 367 shots (35%), the new champion landed a withering 47 percent of his power punches. But that’s not the impressive part: Prograis only managed to land 36 of 362 punches (9.9%). That’s an average of three punches per round, and the champ only managed to score two punches in six of the completed sessions.
Some insiders, including Prograis, had stated during the build-up to the bout that Haney wasn’t a slick fighter. Well, you can write that opinion down on toilet paper and flush it. If you can limit a world-class operator like Regis Prograis to 36 punches landed in 12 rounds, then you are the very definition of “slick”.
How did Haney do it? His distance control was exemplary from start to finish and it came so easily. He could change direction and create space with one step and Prograis would need three steps to close the gap. And by the time he’d reset, a punch was either in his face or reverberating off his mid-section.
💪 Devin Haney becomes a two-division champion with a unanimous shutout decision against Regis Prograis. pic.twitter.com/9AvovG4kIs
— Sporting News Fights (@sn_fights) December 10, 2023
Haney also knew that Prograis would get desperate and look for the go-home punch. As the bout entered the championship rounds, I lost count of the amount of times that a southpaw left hand sailed harmlessly over Haney’s head. The game plan drafted by father/trainer Bill Haney was excellent, but it was executed with the confidence and audacity of a very special fighter.
As was the case with Corrales, it became difficult to watch Prograis in this situation. At times, the New Orleans-born fighter barely let his hands go because he knew that he’d be made to miss like a novice.
Not for one second did Haney shirk the game plan. He refused to ruin the aesthetic of a masterful performance by getting wild or clumsy, even after scoring a third-round knockdown or on the three other occasions when he shook Prograis to his boots. Instead, the challenger went about his job like a bomb disposal expert, carefully cutting the multi-colored wires in the correct order before removing the detonator.
This 140-pound version of Haney will be very hard to beat. The following fighters are now on notice: Gervonta Davis, Shakur Stevenson, Subriel Matias, and Ryan Garcia.