By: Mario Mungia
This morning on Thaboxingvoice’s podcast we were joined by an impromptu guest in Bill Haney- the father and manager of WBC Champion Devin Haney (25-0). TBV and its community patiently waited with Bill for a contract offer from Teofimo Lopez to fight Devin. Teofimo made comments over the weekend suggesting that he would be sending an offer to Devin Haney, although the offer was based on the contingency that a fight with George Kambosos could not happen—likely due to the travel ban for the Australian Kambosos.
Bill, who is always on his A-game when he is on the airwaves, was admittedly a bit restless from, as he put it, sitting by the fax machine all night awaiting the contract offer. Although Bill is a headline producing machine, it was still a shock to hear him say that they may sign the contract as is without negotiating. Perhaps it was hyperbole, in fact, I’m sure it was, but it goes to show the confidence of Team Haney.
Sadly, while on air, TBV’s Nestor Gibbs learned that Team Lopez was in a meeting with their promoter Top Rank discussing the IBF mandate — the sanctioning body that ordered Lopez-Kambosos — and it appears as though the current plans are to pursue the Aussie.
The fight could happen in April in America, but nothing firm is in place quite yet.
TBV was trying to get Lopez Sr. on air with Bill to further the Haney-Lopez discussion. However, upon learning of the meeting between Top Rank and Lopez Sr., the conversation switched over to the next available option—a fight between Devin and WBC’s number 2 ranked Javier Fortuna (36-2-1).
Then, in a totally spontaneous move, Sampson Lewkowicz, the promoter of Javier Fortuna, joined the show to speak to Bill specifically regarding the prospects of making a Haney-Fortuna fight.
Bill was quick to remind the legendary promoter that he had previously refused to match Fortuna with Devin years ago, pointing to the fact that things have changed since then.
“I said to Sampson, ‘let’s make [a fight between Devin and Javier] happen,’” Bill recalled. “’No, no, no way you not getting Javier Fortuna.’”
Always the consummate gentleman, Sampson laughingly agreed with Bill’s accounts and acknowledged the fact that times have changed. The two began an open dialogue to broker a deal for the matchup, and Sampson assured the live audience that money would not hold up the fight.
“I will not stop this fight for money,” Sampson said. More importantly, Sampson acknowledged that Team Haney was the A-side and that Bill was ‘the boss.’
“I would say April is perfect for everyone,” Sampson said before admitting that the date would largely depend on TV spots available.
The conversation could not have gone any better, despite the one small hiccup of Sampson saying he wanted to give PBC the courtesy of a heads up, something that other promoters might overlook or downright neglect.
Fortuna has been fighting on PBC airwaves and Sampson recognizes the benefits of working with Al Haymon and does not want to burn the bridge— Sampson has other fighters with PBC and it is probably more than courtesy; it’s just smart business to keep them in the loop.
The 22yr old Haney is 9 years Fortuna’s junior. Haney will come in as the favorite, but Sampson is confident that Fortuna will have his hand raised on fight night, assuring that he would not put his fighter in a fight if he thought he’d lose.
“I believe Javier Fortuna will knock the sh** out of Devin Haney,” proclaimed Sampson, who then made it clear that he believes Teofimo asked for $10million to fight Haney because he does not really want the fight.
“Like Mr. Lopez asked for 10 million dollars, that’s the reason he believes he cannot beat Haney, that’s the reason he asked for 10mil.”
Bill admitted that he is trying to stay optimistic regarding a potential fight between Devin and Teofimo, but it sounds like Haney-Fortuna is more realistic and perhaps one of the easiest fights to negotiate at this point in time. Credit goes to both Bill and Sampson for their transparency and professionalism.
You can hear the full interview on Thaboxingvoice’s YouTube channel (at the 2:32:00 mark):