Devin Haney became a two-weight world champion on Saturday night as he captured the WBC super lightweight title with a dominant points victory over Regis Prograis.
Haney became the undisputed lightweight champion in 2022 as he held the IBF, WBA, WBO and WBC titles and defended those belts twice, but opted to make the step up to 140 pounds after beating Vasyl Lomachenko earlier this year.
A clash with big-hitting WBC champion Prograis looked a tough assignment for his first outing at super lightweight, but Haney produced a punch-perfect performance as he dominated throughout.
There was a hint of controversy over Haney’s win over Lomachenko as some pundits felt the Ukrainian should have been awarded a victory after what had been a close contest.
However, there were no such issues with his victory over Prograis as he produced a thoroughly dominant display.
The San Francisco native sent Prograis to the canvas in the third round at the Chase Center, as he went on to claim a unanimous decision victory, with all three judges scoring the contest 120-107 in his favour.
Haney had indicated he was struggling to make the weight at lightweight and he confirmed after dismantling Prograis that he felt far more comfortable at super lightweight.
"I felt so much stronger - 140 got a new king," Haney said.
Haney now holds a 31-0 record, with 15 of his victories coming inside the distance, while Prograis is 29-2 after suffering just the second loss of his career and his first since 2019.
Prograis had questioned Haney’s power and suggested he had a fragile chin in the build-up to Saturday’s contest, but was quick to praise the new champion after the fight was over.
"He’s better than I thought he was," a gracious Prograis told reporters. "I just couldn’t get to him. I thought he was a soft puncher, but he does have power."
A two-time world champion, ‘Rougarou’ has little left to prove, but the 34-year-old stressed he has no intention of calling time on his career just yet and he hopes to become a world champion again.
He added: "I’m definitely not giving up. Like I said, (become a) three-time world champion, that’s my goal right now."
Haney’s next move remains unclear at this stage and a move up to the welterweight division could be possible.
However, the big-money fights right now are probably at 140, so the likelihood is he will defend his new WBC title and target a few more belts before he does make another step up.
Ryan Garcia, Gervonta Davis and Teofimo Lopez all fight at super lightweight and Haney against any one of those three stars would generate a huge amount of interest, but first he may need to defend his title against a mandatory challenger.
Speaking to Pro Boxing Fans after the fight, WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman confirmed he will order Haney to face Spain’s Sandor Matin, although he didn’t say whether or not that would be called immediately.
Sulaiman said: "Sandor Matin is the mandatory contender. He accepted the fight to take place so he is next in line. We will address that in the proper time."
Haney’s trainer and father, Bill, suggested a move to welterweight could even be next on the agenda as ‘The Dream’ could become a three-weight champion.
Such a move does seem unlikely given the options available at 140, but with welterweight king Terence Crawford likely to move up in weight and vacate his belts now could be an ideal time to attack the division.
"I know the King (Crawford) of the 147 pound division is making his exit, and it’ll be a new void that needs to be filled at 147, so we’re looking at it," Haney Sr told Fight Hub TV.
Bill went on to name interim WBC champion Mario Barrios, interim IBF title holder Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis and Keith Thurman as potential opponents should Haney decide to move up again.
An immediate step-up to welterweight does seem a little unlikely for Haney after just one fight at 140, but it is clearly a long-term goal for the 25-year-old.