There are only a handful of specific notes in the western musical language. Twelve to be exact. One can texture these notes how they see fit and vary the octave based on the range of their preferred instrument, but every musician, from Beethoven to Black Flag, draws from the same palette of twelve unique tones.
Boxing is similar in that regard. Every fighter starts off with two arms, a matching set of legs and a limited number of loosely defined punch types from which to choose. How these punches are deployed will ultimately determine the success of a fighter in the ring.
Artistry, on a base level, is a series of decisions made that are specific to the person making them and foreign to all others. We revere artists for their ability to construct evolved levels of beauty using the same elemental tools all humans naturally possess. Fighting, like music, is the utilization of these basic, boilerplate utensils at a rate or combination that will hopefully set you apart from your peers.
Three and a half years into his pro career, Devin Haney is playing all the right notes.
Haney (22-0, 14 KO) is approaching that rarified air of prizefighting that could rightfully be considered artistry. He’s had people tuning in simply to watch him practice his craft, in the form of viral sparring videos, since before he could legally vote. An obvious talent from day one, Devin Haney has set his sights on the top of the charts.
Last night, against Antonio Moran (24-4, 17 KO), he may have scored his first big hit.
After an injury caused pound-for-pound psychopath Oleksandr Usyk to withdraw from his heavyweight debut, Haney was bumped up to headline the DAZN televised card from the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland.
Drawing comparisons to Floyd Mayweather, not only for his social and business ties to The Money Team but his fighting style as well, questions have arisen about Haney’s power. A 62% knockout ratio coming into his fight with Moran shouldn’t have been cause for too much concern but Devin Haney has higher aspirations than just being a Mayweather brand knockoff.
And, buddy, if you’re looking to separate yourself from comparisons to Floyd Mayweather, there’s no better way than scoring a concussive knockout.
Haney would employ the famous Mayweather family shoulder roll defense to great effect against the rugged yet limited Antonio Moran. Controlling the distance from the outside and dropping short, sharp uppercuts when his opponent barreled his way in, Haney was as dominant as one would expect in a fight with a talent gap this large.
As fun as it can be to watch a talented artist in their element, Haney was just running scales here. He can beat an opponent like this in his sleep but after the jaw-breaking yawn of Floyd Mayweather’s twilight years, no one is looking for an encore performance. Another gifted yet tentative fighter in a wide open lightweight division isn’t going to turn any heads.
A fifth-round knockdown that was partially caused by Haney stepping on Moran’s foot got the crowd into it but it was only the opening act for the closing number to come.
Midway through the seventh round, Haney backed Moran up with a left hook-straight right combination that sent the Mexican reeling across the ring to the far corner. Haney, showing the poise and patience of a fighter well beyond his years, threw a swooping right hook to the body followed by a distance finding jab that ultimately set up the home run shot that followed.
With a wind-up rivaling a major league relief pitcher, Haney put every ounce of torque he had into a looping overhand right that landed squarely on the button and, forgive me for using a technical term here, knocked Moran’s fucking dick in the dirt.
Scary moments followed as a glassy-eyed Antonio Moran lay motionless on the canvas for a number of minutes while being attended to by, as usual, way too many ringside staffers. Once he was up and lucid, the celebration for Haney, his team and his fans could commence.
For anyone doubting Haney’s power, this was the “OJ’s leather glove” moment. The compositional skills of an artist are nice but if they don’t produce a cathartic result they’re just tools hanging on the wall of a locked shed.
Devin Haney seems to have finally unlocked the door to his vast arsenal of artistic hardware.
We can discuss the level of opponent, specifically that opponent’s level of defensive skills, all day long and yes, it’s never a good sign when the announce crew resorts to touting how that opponent has never been stopped before, but this is what Haney was here to do. A viral star transforming to a mainstream success right in from of our eyes.
Roughly five months ago, some asshole wrote on this same website:
“Haney has all the cards in his deck he needs to be a star. Now he just has to play them.”
Last night Devin Haney was dealt a full house and he went all in.
There’s always the fear of a young artist becoming a one-hit wonder. With Haney, those fears now appear wholly unfounded.
He and his team hope the hits keep coming as he continues to find all the right notes. If they do, the boxing world will be singing along.