Boxer Devin Haney, who’s the WBC lightweight champion, has been called a racist after making comments about a potential fight.
Last week, the 21-year-old Haney was speaking on 78SPORTSTV’s YouTube channel and was asked about fighting Ukrainian boxer Vasyl Lomachenko, who holds WBA and WBO lightweight titles.
“I can tell you this: I will never lose to a white boy in my life,” said Haney. “I don’t care what nobody got to say. Listen, can’t no white boy beat me, I don’t care, on any day of the week. I fight a white boy like 10 times, I’m gonna beat him 10 times.”
Haney was criticized for his comments immediately afterward.
“Imagine a white or Hispanic fighter saying what Haney said, but about Black fighters,” tweeted boxing promoter Michelle Rosado on April 17. ”The double standards are real and disgusting. There’s no room for any it. It’s uncalled for.”
“You don’t even denounce real racism this hard lol,” wrote someone in response to Rosado.
There were others, like lightweight fighter Ryan Garcia, who said he didn’t believe that Haney was a racist, but he still didn’t agree with his comments.
“We should all respect every one from every race and see who the best man is!” Garcia tweeted on April 17. “I respect Devin Haney and I believe he didn’t mean this with Racist intent but let’s all respect each other for the love of the sport.”
Haney responded to the controversy on Twitter the following day.
In his first tweet, he wrote, “I’m not racist and I never will be a racist. I’m chasing greatness.”
Then on that same day, he tweeted, “I just had a very positive conversation with Mauricio Sulaiman, President of the WBC and confirmed to him directly my commitment to be a role model and my absolute rejection of discrimination of any kind!”
Haney’s comments may remind some of what Bernard Hopkins said in 2007 before he lost to British light heavyweight Joe Calzaghe.
“I would never let a white boy beat me,” Hopkins told Calzaghe, as they talked trash to each other. “I would never lose to a white boy. I couldn’t go back to the projects if I let a white boy beat me.”
Meanwhile, Haney’s skills and work ethic have been compared to those of Floyd Mayweather, who’s his mentor.
In a 2019 interview with The Sun, Haney said that Mayweather has taught him “So much about the sport of boxing and staying focused” and he’s “thankful for all the wisdom” he has given him.
Mayweather was also involved in a situation where race came into play in professional boxing. It happened in 2017 when Irish mixed martial arts fighter Conor McGregor and Mayweather were promoting their fight.
“Dance for me, boy,” McGregor told Mayweather at a Los Angeles press conference to taunt him. He also encouraged people to curse at Mayweather and his family during another press event in Toronto, Canada.
“Racism still exists,” said Mayweather around that time. “He totally disrespected Black women, he called Black people monkeys, and he was disrespectful to my daughter.”
Mayweather hasn’t commented on what Haney said, but Haney posted a photo of him to Instagram on Sunday, April 19 and once again expressed confidence in his boxing skills.
“Don’t misunderstand me I learned from the best inside and outside the ring. My only mentality is nobody can beat me!” Haney captioned the photo.
Haney’s current record is 24-0 with 15 KOs. In 2019 he was declared “champion in recess” after hurting his shoulder during a fight with Alfredo Santiago.