Steven A Smith is one of the most popular sportscasters in the US and has the biggest sports platform in the US, ESPN, giving him air time. His show Steven A’s World on ESPN+ features commentary on top sports moments, celebrity guests, athlete interviews, and fan Q/A type of stuff. While it is not on regular ESPN it is still a great platform for athletes to be seen and heard by the sporting public at large. Love or hate Smith he does talk boxing whether you like his takes or not he does at least get casuals talking about the sport. Boxing is in an interesting crossroads right now as it clearly is not where it was during my childhood let alone where it was during my father or grandfather’s time. Boxing has made some in roads with casuals with the Paul Brothers, some cross over MMA vs boxing affairs, and some recent PPV fights with buzz including Canelo vs Bivol and Davis vs Romero. Devin Haney holds the WBC version of the lightweight championship and is heading into a full unification this Saturday in Australia. Haney is also starving for attention in the US while guys in and around his weight like Teofimo Lopez, Ryan Garcia, Tank Davis and Shakur Stevenson have all gotten way more exposure to the boxing public.
Haney is in a unique position right now to elevate his profile against undefeated three belt Aussie George Kambosos this Saturday on a fight shown by DAZN. He is a young fighter, with lots of talent but just has not had the chance to really prove himself. I cannot link the interview here but if you have ESPN+ it is a worthwhile venture to seek out and watch the episode. Smith asked what I felt were good leading questions to get Haney to speak his mind. Haney in his words accepted all of the terms Kambosos and his team put forth to make the fight and took a pay cut. Some accuse Haney of being a diva, I think this goes a way to prove the opposite. Haney has been mugged for being the email champ, Lomachenko was elevated to the dubious franchise status with the WBC and Haney was sent the title via email. Haney was the mandatory challenger and was calling Lomachenko out when this happened, Haney claims Lomachenko lobbied the WBC for the status to avoid the Haney fight. IS that totally substantiated? Haney did pursue and did not get the fight not his fault. Haney says that he is not as discussed as the other fighters above because he has not been able to secure the fights the others have secured. This Saturday really is his chance.
I plan to cover this fight in greater depth in a post this Friday so do not be let down by this quickie of a post.