DEVIN HANEY turned in an impressive performance in a unanimous decision victory in his second consecutive ShoBox: The New Generation main event on Friday night, dominating veteran Mexican fighter Juan Carlos Burgos on SHOWTIME from Pechanga Casino Resort.
The prodigious Haney (20-0, 13 KOs) of Las Vegas used the entire ring to dominate the former three-time world title-challenger Burgos (33-3-2, 21 KOs). Two judges scored the fight 100-90, and the other 97-93 in favor of Haney.
“Burgos is a crafty veteran with a lot of heart but tonight I showed the world why I’m the next superstar in boxing,” said Haney, who also promoted his first fight with Haney Promotions. “I’m ready to take on all the champions in the lightweight division. I’m the new money and SHOWTIME is my home. I’m coming for everyone!”
Haney said he won the fight on the inside. “Burgos was softer on the inside,” he said. “Once I started to break him down that took some steam out of him. It depends on who I’m fighting, but I can box on the outside or mix it up on the inside, and tonight I showed both. I used my jab and worked the inside. That was my dad’s gameplan and it worked.”
Longtime ShoBox commentator Steve Farhood agreed that Haney looked impressive on the inside. “I thought at time he should have forced the fight even more on the inside,” Farhood said afterward. “He was the bigger guy. He would do it in spurts, and then he’d circle the ring and that’s when the fans got a little impatient because that’s what we all wanted to see.”
Haney hurt Burgos badly in the sixth landing two right uppercuts, but was unable to finish Burgos, who was fighting after a 13-month layoff. “These veterans don’t go down easy,” Farhood said.
“It’s a natural progression for Devin,” Farhood added. “I didn’t see a lot of snap in his power shots. That’s the only criticism. That and I would have like to have seen him fight on the inside more and land more body shots. It would have been a lot more exciting if he would have gotten the stop.”
Burgos is a natural 130-pounder who was once ranked No. 4 in the junior lightweight division. “I feel this was a test for me. One-hundred thirty-five pounds may have been too much. I’m going to go back down to 130. I’m at my best at that weight.”
He added: “It was hard to fight against a guy that moved so much. He was running up and down the ring. That’s not boxing for me. I’m not going to let this loss defeat me. You’ll see more of me. I’m not going anywhere. Soon I’ll go back to challenge for a world title. You’ll see.” (Watch ShoBox Analyst Raul Marquez break down round six HERE).
In the highly anticipated rematch that settled little in the end, undefeated Thomas Mattice (13-0-1, 10 KOs) and Zhora Hamazaryan (9-1-1, 6 KOs) fought to a split draw in the ShoBox co-feature. The judges scored the fight 77-75 in favor of Mattice, 77-75 in favor of Hamazaryan and 76-76.
Just like in the first fight won by Mattice via split decision, Hamazaryan won the statistical battle although this time the fight was much closer than the first one. Hamazaryan led 150-93 in total connects and was the more active fighter with 525 total punches compared to Mattice’s 305.
Unlike the first right, it was a decision the ShoBox commentators agreed with.
“It was a great fight,” Mattice said. “I felt I won the last three rounds including the last one. I think I did enough to get the win but I respect the judges’ decision. I thought I won by one point.”
Mattice had solid third and seventh rounds in a fight that was moved to super middleweight after Mattice failed to make the 135-pound limit Thursday.
Hamazaryan, of Los Angeles by way of Armenia, said he was thankful for the opportunity to get the rematch from Mattice. “I don’t agree with everything that happened tonight,” he said. “I’ve been fighting for a long time. I’m tough on myself. Perhaps I didn’t do enough to get the win. I’ll have to make some adjustments.”
Both fighters said they would entertain a rematch to settle the score once and for all. “With pleasure I’ll fight him again anytime,” Hamazaryan said. “I’ll give him the rematch before the end of the year. Let’s do it, Canelo-GGG style.”
Added Mattice: “I fought really hard. He wanted a rematch. I gave him a rematch. I think it was a really good fight. I went in, did my job and we’ve got a draw. If he wants a rematch, I’ll talk to my team. It’s up to them ultimately. We’ll go back to the drawing board and see what’s next.”
In the telecast opener, Cem Kilic (12-0, 7 KOs) remained undefeated winning a unanimous decision over DeAndre Ware (12-1-2, 8 KOs) in a two-way war that saw 1,418 punches thrown and 494 total connects recorded. The scores were 78-74 79-73 twice.
Farhood called the 10-round super middleweight fight a fan-friendly fight between two guys “blowing it up.” It was the ninth time this year that two undefeated fighters have met in a ShoBox fight and 181st time a fighter has lost his undefeated record on the popular prospect series.
Los Angeles-area resident Kilic, who grew up in Germany and is of Turkish descent, averaged 91.8 total connects per round compared to Ware at 85.5. Kilic’s dedicated body attack made the difference as he led 108-48 in that category.
“I thought tonight’s performance was one of my best,” said Kilic, 24. “He gave me eight hard rounds and a shout out to him. He’s a very good fighter with good skills. It was always a dream for me to be fighting on SHOWTIME as I watched other great fighters before me. I never thought that one day I’d be fighting on this network. I wanted to make my dream come true and it happened tonight.”
Kilic impressive four, five and six-punch combinations, strong jabs and consistent left hook were on full display. Round one alone produced a total of 228 punches and 79 combined punches landed.
The 30-year-old Ware is a Toldeo, Ohio, firefighter who took the fight on two weeks’ notice. “I thought I did enough to win the fight, but no excuses,” Ware said. “It comes with the territory and know I have to work harder in the gym. I hope SHOWTIME gives me another opportunity, and I hope all the fans enjoyed it.”