Russell, Gamboa in running to face Haney Nov. 7

1205347867.jpg.0 - Russell, Gamboa in running to face Haney Nov. 7Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Haney hasn’t fought since November of 2019.

We’ve known for a while that Yuriorkis Gamboa was the frontrunner to welcome Devin Haney back to the ring this fall, but the situation’s changed a bit. Matchroom Boxing revealed via press release that “The Dream” could lace ‘em up November 7th against either Gamboa or WBC featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr.

“Devin has been doing a great job in keeping his profile active during lockdown but now it’s almost time for get busy in the ring,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “November 7 is the targeted date for his return and the two main targets are Gary Russell Jr and Yuriorkis Gamboa. Both are great fights for Devin as he approaches a key stretch in his career to become standout star.

“Devin is ready to defend his WBC titles against all comers and I can’t wait to see him back in the ring in November.”

Haney’s (24-0, 15 KO) was one of many names Russell (31-1, 18 KO) called out in a recent rant, and actually went to the trouble of sending over a $1.5 million contract with “no unwanted stipulations.” Russell acknowledged that he’d received the contract, but says he wanted control over which network they’d rematch on should he come out victorious.

This wouldn’t be the first time in recent memory an extremely talented featherweight champion elected to step up two weight classes against a dynamic up-and-comer; back in 2012, Gamboa (30-3, 18 KO) went from 126 to 130, where he was gift-wrapped a vacant title fight with Michael Farenas, then immediately went to 135. After beating Darleys Perez for another bogus belt, he faced Terence Crawford, who came back from a rough start to batter the Cuban into submission.

If the fight actually comes to fruition, it will be Russell’s first time fighting twice in a calendar year since 2014. Honestly, I’m in favor of this for that reason alone, four-inch height difference and seven-inch reach difference be damned.

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