Teofimo Lopez is the new king of 135-pound division

We have a new king in the 135-pound division. On Saturday night, at the MGM Grand Conference Center, “The Takeover” Teofimo Lopez((16-0, 12 KOs) put on a masterful performance and defeated Vasiliy Lomachenko(14-2, 10 KOs) by unanimous decision. Lopez, and father/trainer, Teofimo Lopez Sr., kept telling us for years that he was going to ‘Takeover” the 135-pound division, and he did it. 

Lopez won on all three scorecards, 119-109, 118-110, and 116-112). goforitradio.com scored the fight 116-112 for Lopez. The Brooklyn native was in complete control in the first half of the fight, and in the later rounds, Lomachenko, who did not do much in the early rounds, started to pick up the pace. Lomachenko was scoring late in the fight, but Lopez won the 12th round emphatically and closed the show. With the victory, the 23-year-old Lopez becomes the youngest four-belt world champion.

“I had to dig deep, man,” Lopez said after the fight. “I’m thankful. I’m grateful. And each and every day, I take that in. I thank God first because I couldn’t do it without him.

“I’m a fighter. I gotta dig in deep. I knew he was coming. I didn’t know if they had him up on the scorecards or not, and I love to fight. I can bang, too. I don’t care, man. I’ll take one to give one. That’s what a true champion does. I find a way to win.”

For Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KOs), who is a three-weight world champion, this was a case of too little, too late. It appeared that Lomachenko was wary of Lopez’s power and really did not have much activity. While Lomachenko won a bunch of belts at 135, it’s not his best weight. He gets touched up a little more at 135, including being knocked down by Jorge Linares back in 2018. So, it should be interesting to see what he does next.

Regarding Lopez, he’s a star at this point, and the only thing left for him to do at 135, is to fight WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney, which would be a great fight to make in 2021. However, there are other big fights at 135, including fights with Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia. Lopez, who is a big 135-pounder, could even move up to 140. However, no matter what he does next, it’s clear, a star was born on Saturday night.

Photo: Top Rank Boxing/Mikey Williams

 

Photos: Lomachenko-Lopez weigh-in

The fight we’ve been waiting for is now less than 24 hours away. On Friday, at the MGM Grand Las Vegas Conference Center, unified 135-pound champion Vasiliy Lomachenko(14-1, 10 KOs) and IBF 135-pound champion Teofimo Lopez(15-0, 12 KOs) stepped on the scale. 

Both fighters came in at 135 pounds on the nose, and now we have a fight. The ENTIRE card will air LIVE on ESPN, ESPN Deportes, and ESPN+ on Saturday, starting at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT.

Here are the weights for the main event and undercard:

  Vasiliy Lomachenko 135 pounds vs. Teofimo Lopez 135 pounds (Undisputed Lightweight World Title — 12 Rounds)

Judges: Steve Weisfeld, Julie Lederman and Tim Cheatham

Referee: Russell Mora

  • Alex Saucedo 140 pounds vs. Arnold Barboza Jr. 140 pounds 

(Junior Welterweight — 10 Rounds)

• Edgar Berlanga 169 pounds vs. Lanell Bellows 169 pounds 

(Super Middleweight — 8 Rounds)

After weighing in, Lomachencho and Lopez had a nice stare down.

Here are photos from the Lomachenko-Lopez weigh-in(Phots: Mikey Williams/Top Rank Boxing):

Collard-LaVallais, Vargas-Castaneda headline Loma-Lopez undercard

The breakout star of the Bubble, “Cassius” Clay Collard, is back for more.

Collard, the MMA pro-turned contender for 2020 “Boxing Prospect of the Year,” will fight Quincy LaVallais in an eight-round middleweight bout on the Vasiliy Lomachenko-Teofimo Lopez undercard on Saturday, Oct. 17 from the MGM Grand Las Vegas Conference Center. It is a rematch of their June 2019 fight, which was ruled a draw.

Collard-LaVallais 2 and additional undercard bouts, including a 10-round junior welterweight clash between top prospect Josue “The Prodigy” Vargas and Kendo Castaneda, will stream live on ESPN+ at 7:30 p.m. ET.

The Lomachenko-Lopez world championship main event, the 10-round junior welterweight battle between Alex Saucedo and Arnold Barboza Jr., and an eight-round super middleweight tilt featuring knockout king Edgar Berlanga against Lanell Bellows will be broadcast live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 10 p.m. ET.

“A marquee main event deserves marquee supporting fights, and we have an incredible lineup in store underneath Lomachenko-Lopez,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Vargas can graduate to contender with a win over Castaneda, and Clay Collard is back to once again put on a show. Tune in early to ESPN+ to kick off an incredible night of boxing.”

Collard (9-2-3, 4 KOs), who is 5-0 with 3 knockouts in 2020, began the year with three victories over previously undefeated prospects. In January, he toppled the 9-0 Quashawn Toler by unanimous decision in Toler’s hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. The following month, he knocked out the 5-0 Raymond Guajardo in the second round of a bout that saw both men hit the canvas. He made his Bubble debut June 18 and battered the 6-0 David Kaminsky en route to a split decision nod. Collard has notched knockouts in his last two Bubble bouts and returns against LaVallais (9-0-1, 5 KOs), a native of Kenner, La. Collard and LaVallais fought in New Orleans, and LaVallais escaped with the draw. LaVallais has won two fights since, both by first-round stoppage.

“I’m a born fighter, and I’m grateful to be back on such a significant card,” Collard said. “When Quincy and I fought the first time, I knew I’d done enough to win, but we were in his hometown. We’re fighting on neutral ground this time.”

Vargas (17-1, 9 KOs), and his teeth, made an impression in his last bout. Vargas lost a veneer, but still managed to nearly shut out Salvador Briceno over 10 rounds in an ESPN-televised co-feature. He has won 11 consecutive fights and takes a step up against Castaneda (17-2, 8 KOs), a San Antonio-born boxer-puncher coming of a competitive decision loss in July to Jose “Chon” Zepeda.

In other undercard bouts scheduled for ESPN+:

Jose Enrique Vivas (19-1, 10 KOs) vs. John Vincent Moralde (23-3, 13 KOs)
8 Rounds, Featherweight

Vivas’ last fight was one of the best of 2020, a 10-round war against Carlos Jackson that took place July 2 inside the Bubble. Vivas and his hellacious body attack earned him the unanimous decision nod. Moralde, a top Filipino contender, is 3-1 since a September 2018 decision loss to Jamel Herring at junior lightweight.

Quinton Randall (6-0, 2 KOs) vs. Jan Carlos Rivera (4-0, 4 KOs)
6 Rounds, Welterweight

Former USA Boxing amateur star Randall takes a step up in class against Rivera, a Puerto Rican knockout puncher who has yet to see the third round as a professional. Randall, from Houston, Texas, defeated Clay Collard via unanimous decision in June 2019.

Jahi Tucker (1-0, 1 KO) vs. Charles Garner (1-0)
4 Rounds, Welterweight

The 17-year-old Tucker, who signed with Top Rank earlier this year, made his professional debut Sept. 19 and scored a first-round stoppage over Deandre Anderson.

Saucedo-Barboza, Berlanga-Bellows added to Loma-Lopez undercard

The most anticipated fight of the fall — the Oct. 17 lightweight unification showdown between WBC Franchise/WBA/WBO world champion Vasiliy “Loma” Lomachenko and IBF kingpin Teofimo Lopez from the MGM Grand Las Vegas “Bubble”— now has a two-course televised appetizer befitting the occasion.

In the 10-round junior welterweight co-feature, former world title challenger Alex Saucedo will fight unbeaten contender Arnold Barboza Jr.

The televised opener will see super middleweight knockout sensation Edgar Berlanga test his perfect record against veteran Lanell Bellows in an eight-rounder. Berlanga (14-0, 14 KOs) has won all 14 of his professional fights by first-round stoppage.

Lomachenko-Lopez, Saucedo-Barboza and Berlanga-Bellows will be televised live on ESPN & ESPN Deportes beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

“Lomachenko-Lopez promises to be a classic, and the rest of the ESPN-televised card will set the table,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Barboza and Saucedo are players in the deep junior welterweight division, and both men are ferocious competitors. The winner is ready to challenge for a world title. As for Edgar Berlanga, every time he steps in the ring, he impresses me more and more. I haven’t seen a young puncher like him in quite some time.”

Saucedo (30-1, 19 KOs), the thunderous slugger from Oklahoma City, has won a pair of fights since falling short to Maurice Hooker in a November 2018 bid for the WBO junior welterweight world title. He is entering his third bout with head trainer Pedro Neme, a union that has paid dividends thus far. Saucedo knocked out Rod Salka in the first round last November and made his “Bubble” debut June 30 with a one-sided decision over Sonny Fredrickson.

Barboza (24-0, 10 KOs), from South El Monte, Calif., is a seven-year pro who is ranked in the top 10 by the WBO and WBC at 140 pounds. He graduated from prospect to contender with victories over the likes of Mike Reed, Mike Alvarado and William Silva. He last fought Aug. 29 as the co-feature to the Jose Ramirez-Viktor Postol junior welterweight world title bout and cruised to a one-sided decision over Canadian veteran Tony Luis.

“Arnold is a very versatile fighter, so we are preparing for everything,” Saucedo said. “I know it will be hard to steal the show from Lomachenko-Lopez, but I’m coming in to put on a memorable fight for the fans. I feel like people still doubt me from the Maurice Hooker fight, and I can’t wait to show everyone all of my tools.”

“This fight, and fighting on such a significant card, means the world to me,” Barboza said. “It’s time to put the 140-pound division on notice. I respect Saucedo, but he’s in my way as I strive to earn a world title opportunity.”

Berlanga has combined flash with unique power to earn headlines despite not having seen the second round as a pro. The record for consecutive first-round knockouts to begin a career is 21, held by the late Ali Raymi. Berlanga made his “Bubble” debut on July 21 and stopped Eric Moon in 62 seconds, which equaled the fifth-shortest outing of his career. Bellows (20-5-3, 13 KOs) has never been stopped as a pro and has made his bones testing young prospects. He is coming off a fourth-round stoppage over Malcolm Jones, who entered the fight with a 15-1 record.

“I’m dedicating this fight to my family and Puerto Rico. I want to continue to shine like a bright star and carry the flag on my back,” Berlanga said. “Bellows has never been stopped, but I intend to be the first man to stop him. He’s a strong fighter, and I hope to get some rounds in. I want to show that I’m a versatile boxer and not just a puncher. One thing I will guarantee is another explosive performance.”

Loma on Lopez: ‘He has done nothing but say my name for the past two years’

Franchise world champion Vasiliy Lomachenko, the pound-for-pound “Boxing Baryshnikov” from Ukraine, will fight unbeaten IBF world champion Teofimo Lopez, the knockout artist from Brooklyn who has lobbed verbal haymakers at Lomachenko for more than two years. The two will fight from the MGM Grand Conference Center aka the “Las Vegas Bubble.

Lomachenko-Lopez (ESPN and ESPN Deportes, 10 p.m. ET) headlines a can’t-miss month of boxing on the ESPN family of networks, which also includes the long-awaited return of Japanese pound-for-pound superstar Naoya “Monster” Inoue, who will defend his WBA and IBF bantamweight world titles on Halloween evening, Saturday, Oct. 31, against Australian contender Jason “Mayhem” Moloney.

”Lomachenko said, “Teofimo Lopez can talk all he wants. He’s very good at talking. He has done nothing but say my name for the past two years. I am a fighter, and my goal is to win another world title. Good for Teofimo. When we fight in Las Vegas, he will eat my punches and his words. I will be the better man, and four world titles will come home with me to Ukraine.”

Lopez said, “I will beat up Lomachenko and take his belts. Simple as that. I’m coming to Las Vegas to make history. I don’t like the guy, and I’m going to have fun as Lomachenko’s face is beaten and marked up by my hands. The Takeover is here, and the reign of Lomachenko, the little diva, is coming to an end.”

Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) enters this bout coming off a scintillating decision win over British star Luke Campbell last August in front of a sold-out O2 Arena in London. A two-time Olympic gold medalist who went 396-1 in the amateur ranks, Lomachenko tied a boxing record by winning a world title in his third pro fight. He is a former featherweight and junior lightweight world champion who won the lightweight crown in May 2018 with a body shot knockout over Jorge Linares. In seven years as a pro, Lomachenko is 13-1 with 9 knockouts in world title fights and is ranked by many pundits as this generation’s most accomplished pugilist. From 2016-2017, he made four consecutive fighters quit on their stools, earning him the “No-Mas-chenko” moniker.

Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs), the brash Brooklynite who initially gained attention because of his post-fight “Fortnite” dances and backflip celebrations, soon emerged as boxing’s most charismatic young superstar following his 2016 pro debut. He was the consensus 2018 Prospect of the Year, a campaign punctuated by a one-punch, first-round knockout over Mason Menard on the Lomachenko-Jose Pedraza undercard. Following the Menard knockout, he donned the jersey of Kyler Murray, who’d won the Heisman Trophy earlier that evening. Lopez climbed the rankings in 2019 with wins over Diego Magdaleno, Edis Tatli and Masayoshi Nakatani.

Last December, Lopez knocked out Richard Commey in two rounds to win the IBF world title. Sitting ringside was Lomachenko, who entered the ring during the post-fight pandemonium. Arum waved him over to take a photo with the newly crowned champion. The stage had been set. #LomaLopez was going to happen.

Haney talks Teofimo Lopez, Tank Davis, Loma, Ryan Garcia, Jose Ramirez, more

Undefeated WBC Lightweight champion, Devin “The Dream” Haney (24-0, 15 KOs), sounds off, putting the big names surrounding his weight class on notice as he awaits the announcement of this next fight. Also, Haney gives his thoughts on his next fight during the COVID-19 pandemic and the mental and physical benefits of being quarantined.

I’m excited to get back in the ring,” said Devin Haney. “This has been the longest time between fights in my career. My body received a well-deserved rest. I’m blessed.”

On working with and being compared to Floyd Mayweather:

“Lately, I’ve been fortunate to spend a lot of time with “TBE” Floyd Mayweather. Being compared to Mayweather is the ultimate compliment for any fighter in this era of boxing. I’m the most skilled fighter in the world right now, and I’m looking forward to an opponent I can make a statement against. I’m working diligently with Mauricio Sulaiman and the WBC to make the big fights happen. Every decision made by the WBC hasn’t went my way, but I have a genuine love and respect for the WBC family as a whole. I’m proud to represent the WBC organization.”

On Vasyl Lomachenko:

“Vasyl Lomachenko is a true professional and considered to be a top-five pound for pound champion. I challenged him for the WBC lightweight world title, and I didn’t get the big fight I wanted, but I got the belt I deserved by stopping Zaur Abdullaev and becoming Vasyl Lomachenko’s mandatory challenger to the lightweight world title. Ironically, the big fight never happened because Lomachenko and Top Rank petitioned the WBC not to fight me and award him the franchise title. I then petitioned the WBC to elevate me from interim champion to full world champion because Lomachenko chose not to fight me, and I had previously beat the highest-ranked fighter available. Let’s make this clear, you can’t win the franchise title, and you can’t challenge a franchise champion. I’m 21-years old, and I’m the WBC world lightweight champion, and I believe in fighting mandatory challengers. The 135 pounds unification runs through me. Enough said!

“At this point in my career, I don’t mind mandatories at all because it forces the best fighters in my division to get in the ring with me. They can run, but they can’t hide. Mandatory, for me, means mandatory cash. It’s good to be in a stacked division. If I can, I’m going to fight all of them. I hope Teofimo Lopez beats Loma and then fights me in a unification for all the belts like he promised Mauricio Sulaiman.”

On Ryan Garcia-Luke Campbell:

“To me, it looks like Luke Campbell is looking forward to the opportunity of getting beat up by me more than Ryan Garcia is looking forward to it. I’m guessing in Ryan’s defense, he’s never lost, so he’s moving a little different and trying to stay undefeated (lol), but I don’t think Eddie Reynosa and Golden Boy really don’t want him to fight me yet. Luke is accustomed to losing big fights. We know he’s come up short more than once. I think he has more of a… ‘I don’t give a damn attitude’ and I’m cool with that too!”

On Tank Davis:

“As far as Gervonta “Tank” Davis? I don’t like throwing water on a drowning man but leaving a stacked 135 pounds division, to take a fight at super featherweight kind of tells you where he’s at. It’s no secret I’m a problem at 135 pounds.”

On Jose Ramirez:

“I know Jose Ramirez ain’t sleeping good at night either, he got Haney at 140 pounds or Terence Crawford at 147 pounds problems to think about. I don’t wish that on anybody. Josh Taylor is an easier fight for Ramirez then me or Bud, but it’s still a tough 50/50 fight. Ramirez is out here looking like food on the low.”

On the COVID-19 Pandemic:

“This pandemic is something we’ve never seen,” Haney concluded. “It’s tough on everyone around the world. We’ve all been in quarantine for the last few months, including myself, and fortunately, staying at home is the best place to be. Similar in many ways to training camp. I pray to GOD things get back to normal soon. I’m anxious to get back in the ring as soon as the experts give the green light. I want all the smoke.”

Photo: Matchroom Boxing

Loma talks Mayweather, Tank Davis, Haney, Lopez, more

Unified lightweight world champion Vasiliy Lomachenko is riding out the COVID-19 pandemic in his native Ukraine, but the three-weight kingpin is chomping at the bit to get his hands on the division’s leading names, including IBF world champion Teofimo Lopez, WBC world champion Devin Haney and Gervonta “Tank” Davis.

Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) has not fought since last August’s unanimous decision victory over Luke Campbell in London. He has sat back and taken notice of Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs), the Brooklyn-born prodigy who has been outspoken in his desire to fight the pound-for-pound Picasso.

This is what Lomachenko had to say in an exclusive interview with Top Rank’s Crystina Poncher.

On the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ukraine

“The situation as of this moment is from Monday, there will be very limited time to go outside. You will have to be in your house. You can’t gather more than two or three people. The situation is like you can only take your dog out for a walk or go out for something very serious. Other than that, you have to sit at home. You can’t even walk with your kids outside. Everyone will be on lockdown. This will go on until April 24 starting on Monday.”

On staying in shape at home in Ukraine

“I have a gym {at my house}, and of course I’m still training because it’s my job. Nobody knows when we can start. I always have to be in shape. I have to be ready always.”

On his feelings when he found out the tentative date of May 30 for the Lopez fight was postponed

“Of course, I was disappointed a little bit, but everything that’s happening {with self-quarantines} is happening for the better. The most important thing is for all the people on this planet to get back and get healthy and everything will go back to normal.”

On whether he thinks Lopez is ready for the sport’s elite

“I really think he’s a good boxer. He’s a top fighter. He’s young, he’s hungry, he has big power, and I want this fight. He’s a world champion, and he holds my belt. It’s IBF title.”

On whether he sees the Lopez fight ending in a knockout

“Nobody knows. It’s very unpredictable. Nobody can predict what is going to happen, how it’s going to happen. And the people are talking about which round they are going to knock somebody out or stop somebody. I am getting very, very interested. Now, I want to see {the fight}.”

On what makes the Lopez matchup interesting

“The interesting thing for me, it will be to look into his eyes and his father’s eyes and see their reaction {after the fight}.”

On his most memorable moment from fighting Luke Campbell in London

“The most exciting moment I remember from my trip to the UK is probably when we went on the top of the O2 Arena, and I saw all of London. I could see it and then the very next day I was the champion of that arena. That was the most memorable moment for me.”

Word association when Lomachenko hears the following names:

Teofimo Lopez Sr.

“I can’t say that. It wouldn’t look good. I was raised differently.

“{He is a} good father.”

Oleksandr Usyk

“Best friend.”

Gervonta “Tank”  Davis

“Power.”

Floyd Mayweather

“Boxing IQ.”

Bob Arum

“Best promoter.”

Fan Questions

Any concern over the long layoff?

“Yes, of course. You have to be active all the time. You have to be training a lot in the downtime between fights. Right now, I am relaxing more. I will need to spend more time training. I will need to spar more and do more work.”

If you could fight any boxer from any era to give you the best fight, who would you want to fight?

“Of course I would like to fight somebody who is undefeated, who has a good history, who has a big name. I think the most interesting name for me to fight would be Floyd Mayweather.”

What do you think of Teofimo’s shoulder roll and catch-and-shoot counterpunching style?

“It is not an easy type of fighting. It is not an easy style. It is easier to fight attacking fighters who are coming forward. It’s much easier. This type of counterpuncher is more difficult to fight. The winner will be who has the better boxing IQ. But that style with the shoulder, I think I know what I have to do to win.”

Do you think that Gervonta Davis will fight you?

“Right now, I don’t think he’s going to fight me. He might want to fight me, but his promoters are not going to let him. Aside from him, that weight class is getting very interesting. We have a lot of good names in the weight class. Not {just} the champions, but they are in the rankings. So I think it’s a hard weight division.”

Do you want to stay at lightweight?

“It’s unpredictable. If we are going to be sitting here for one year longer, who is going to be coming out and in what weight class will they be?”

What about the Instagram back-and-forth with Devin Haney?

“Yes, DAZN posted something about Haney, and he said he would knock me out. So that is why I answered him, ‘Hey, listen, are you serious?’ He has not fought anybody and now he is saying he is going to knock me out? I said, ‘No problem, let’s do it.’ Then he answered me right away saying, ‘Yes, we can do it.’ I said, ‘OK, I am ready.’ He knows I am ready. I think he is ready, and we can give the fight for the fans that everybody wants. That is why I mentioned before that this is a very interesting weight class with big names and good names coming to the weight class.”

 

Photo: Top Rank Boxing

Lou DiBella: ‘Teofimo(Lopez) is dangerous against anybody in the world’

Teofimo Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs) is a champion. Lopez was able to stop Richard Commey (29-3, 26 KOs) in two rounds to win the IBF lightweight world title at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night.

The 22-year-old Lopez knocked Commey down with a right hand in the second round, and after that knockdown, Commey’s promoter, Lou DiBella, knew it was over. 

“He caught him,” DiBella said after the fight. “When you have one-punch power, it can land in the 1st; it can lead in the 10th, it can lead in the 12th, it can land at any time. It landed early. The second that punch landed, I was like, okay, goodnight.”

After the knockdown, Lopez continued his assault, which forced referee David Fields to stop the fight.

Lopez is now on track to challenge unified champion Vasiliy Lomachenko, in a fight that would crown an undisputed champion in 2020.

“You all know who I want to fight next. 2020 is going to be a big year,” Lopez said after the fight. ‘The Takeover’ has arrived, and you haven’t seen anything yet.”

Lomachenko is ready for the fight, and his goal is to unify all the major titles at 135.

“We want to ‘unificate’ all four titles,” Loma said. “Now he’ s(Lopez) a world champion, and now he’s in position to fight me.”

According to DiBella, Loma should take the fight now before Lopez gets better. 

“I think if I was Loma, I probably would do the fight right now because I think the kid is only going to get better in a year or two,” DiBella said. “It’s not like it’s going to be an easier task later. Loma is probably more experienced and probably more skilled. Teofimo is dangerous against anybody in the world…

“Do I think he’s(Lopez) going to get better? Yeah, I think he’s going to get better, but when you have that type of offensive arsenal, you’re dangerous against anybody, including Loma.”

It was a great night for Lopez, and it was not surprising that he beat Commey, but it was surprising how he did it. Beating Lomachenko won’t be easy, but defeating Lopez won’t be easy for Lomachenko as well.

All of boxing will be looking forward to Lomachenko-Lopez sometime in 2020. 

Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

 

Haney: ‘Loma, Lopez, Commey…whoever, I’m coming for all the belts’

WBC Lightweight World Champion, Devin “The Dream” Haney (24-0, 15 KOs), is recovering from a successful surgery to his injured right shoulder. The procedure was performed this week in Los Angeles by world renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. Neal S. ElAttrache.

Haney suffered a microscopic tear of his right labrum on November 9, 2019, during his WBC title defense against Alfredo Santiago. The tear required immediate surgery. Now in recovery, Haney is focused on getting the proper rest and rehabilitation needed to make a full recovery.

“In my last fight with Alfredo Santiago, my right shoulder came completely out of the socket in the 12th round,” said Devin. Haney. “I stayed focused and showed the grit of a true champion. I’m very happy with my performance considering the injury. I’m the youngest world champion in the last 23 years. Unfortunately, my injury required that I have surgery, but I’m happy I went with Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who in my opinion is the best surgeon in the world with these types of injuries. His resumé speaks for itself and the procedure was a success. Right now, I’m all about healing so I can get back in the ring as soon as possible.”

Haney’s surgeon Dr. ElAttrache has performed procedures on other distinguished athletes such as Tom Brady.  ElAttrache serves as team physician for the LA Dodgers and LA Rams.  In addition, he serves as an orthopaedic consultant for the LA Lakers, LA Kings, LA Angels and the Anaheim Ducks.

Devin, who was expected to defend his WBC world title against mandatory challenger and the #1 ranked contender, Javier Fortuna, is expected to be out of the ring for at least six months. Upon a healthy recover, Haney plans to solidify his position as the best young fighter in boxing.

“As soon as I feel I’m ready to get back in the ring, I’m coming for everyone,” continued Haney. (Vasyl)Lomachenko, (Teofimo)Lopez, (Richard)Commey…who ever, I’m coming for all the belts! I’ll be back stronger than ever, that you can bet.”

Crawford-Mean Machine, Commey-Lopez set for 12/14 at MSG

Terence “Bud” Crawford will defend his WBO welterweight world title against undefeated mandatory challenger Egidijus “Mean Machine” Kavaliauskas Saturday, December 14 at Madison Square Garden as part of a special ESPN-televised tripleheader that will immediately follow the 2019 Heisman Trophy Presentation (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT). ESPN Deportes will provide the Spanish-language telecast.

The triple-header on ESPN and ESPN Deportes will also feature IBF lightweight world champion Richard “RC” Commey defending his title against human highlight film and Brooklyn native Teofimo Lopez. Additionally, in the 10-round featherweight special attraction, Irish sensation and New York fan favorite Michael “Mick” Conlan will battle unbeaten Russian Vladimir Nikitin in a rematch of their highly controversial 2016 Olympic quarterfinal bout.

“This is the best fight card of the year, and Madison Square Garden is a fitting venue for what will be a special night,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Terence Crawford is a generational talent, but he’ll have his hands full against the ‘Mean Machine.’ Teofimo Lopez is taking a giant step up against Commey, and it will be a tremendous fight. Mick Conlan has been asking for Nikitin since the day he signed with Top Rank. He finally gets his wish, and I know he wants to correct the tremendous injustice of the Rio Olympics.”

“Egidijus Kavaliauskas is a two-time Olympian and I can’t take him lightly,” Crawford said. “He’s got everything to gain and nothing to lose and that makes him dangerous. I never overlook any opponent, and this will be no exception. I’ll be ready for anything and everything he brings on December 14 when I return to my second home, Madison Square Garden, and live on ESPN.”

Crawford (35-0, 26 KOs), the pride of Omaha, Nebraska, has been impeccable since turning professional, winning world titles in three weight classes and unifying all four major world titles at super lightweight. He is 13-0 with 10 knockouts in world title bouts and has knocked out his last six opponents, including Olympic gold medalist Felix Diaz, bitter rival Jose Benavidez Jr. and Manny Pacquiao conqueror Jeff “The Hornet” Horn. In his last bout, April 20 at Madison Square Garden, Crawford neutralized former unified super lightweight world champion Amir “King” Khan en route to a sixth-round TKO after Khan could not continue following a low blow. Kavaliauskas (21-0-1, 17 KOs) will be the fourth undefeated fighter Crawford has faced in his last five bouts.

A native of Kaunas, Lithuania, Kavaliauskas represented his homeland at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, rising the professional ranks with convincing victories over perennial contenders Juan Carlos Abreu and Roberto Arriaza. Kavaliauskas has a February 2018 TKO win over David Avanesyan, who is now the current European welterweight champion. He has never been knocked down as a pro or amateur and trains out of the famed Boxing Laboratory in Oxnard, California.

Commey (29-2, 24 KOs) has had a career year, winning the vacant IBF lightweight title February 2 in Frisco, Texas with a devastating second-round TKO over Isa Chaniev. He defended the belt June 29, knocking down former lightweight world champion Ray Beltran down four times before stopping him in the eighth round. A native of, Accra, Ghana, he has won four in a row by knockout.

Lopez (14-0, 11 KOs), at 22 years old, is one of boxing’s budding superstars a big-punching, big-talking fighter who has become the sport’s latest viral sensation. His post-fight Fortnite celebrations and backflips are the exclamation point to his highlight-reel knockouts. He fought last year on the post-Heisman Trophy celebration telecast, knocking out Mason Menard in 44 seconds and then putting on the jersey of Heisman winner Kyler Murray. Lopez is 3-0 in 2019, most recently prevailing via 12-round decision July 19 over Japanese veteran Masayoshi Nakatani in a title eliminator.

“I’m very excited to fight at the Mecca of Boxing, Madison Square Garden, in my second world title defense against Teofimo Lopez,” Commey said. “My lifelong dream of becoming a world champion became a reality through many years of hard work in my homeland of Ghana through the UK, Europe and finally in the United States. I want to thank everyone on my team for making this possible. On December 14, I will put on another spectacular performance in defending my world title for my fans in the arena and those watching on ESPN and around the world.”

“Richard has fought all over the world for many years to achieve his lifelong dream of not only becoming a true world champion, but also becoming a boxing star, and on December 14 against Teofimo Lopez, I believe that he will successfully defend his title for the second time in spectacular fashion,” said Lou DiBella, Commey’s promoter.

“I’m finally back at Madison Square Garden, the place where I always wanted to win my first world title,” Lopez said. “I believe this fight will shut up all of the critics and prove to everyone that I back up my talking in the ring. I respect Commey as a champion, but when we’re in that ring, it’s going to be lights out for him. Come December 14, I am officially taking over the lightweight division.”

Conlan (12-0, 7 KOs), who is ranked in the top 10 as a featherweight by three of the major sanctioning organizations, is looking to avenge the final, and most controversial loss, of his amateur career. With a semifinal berth — and a guaranteed Olympic medal — on the line, Nikitin was the beneficiary of a decision most experts believe Conlan deserved. The indelible image of the Rio Olympics was Conlan’s double middle-finger salute to the judges. Conlan’s disappointment motivated him for what has been a flawless professional campaign. A proven ticket-seller at Madison Square Garden thanks to his annual St. Patrick’s Day appearances, Conlan is coming off a rousing TKO win over Diego Alberto Ruiz on August 3 in front of 10,000 hometown fans at Belfast’s Falls Park.

Nikitin (3-0, 0 KOs) did not turn pro immediately following the 2016 Olympics, electing to fight as an amateur throughout 2017. He signed a professional contract in 2018 with Top Rank, in large part because he wanted to face Conlan as a pro. Nikitin’s come-forward style has translated to the pro ranks, as he’s won a trio of decisions. He has fought on the same card as Conlan twice as a professional. The message was clear: Conlan and Nikitin were destined to meet again. They were supposed to fight August 3 at Falls Park, but Nikitin suffered a torn biceps in training.

“I’m beyond excited to fight for the sixth time in my favorite venue in the world, the Mecca of Boxing, Madison Square Garden,” Conlan said. “The boxing fans in New York City have been incredibly supportive of my career, and I look forward to putting on another great show for them, as well as my Irish fans coming over for this massive holiday event.

“Vladimir Nikitin and I have unfinished business from the 2016 Olympics, and I can’t wait until December 14 to set the record straight.”

“Michael Conlan has done a lot of talking about me and our Olympic fight over the last few years. The talking finally ends December 14,” Nikitin said. “He’s bitter over our last fight and can’t accept the result. Well, my hand will be raised once again.”

Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank