Devin Haney was shaken by Jorge Linares in the 10th round but still recovered to retain his WBC lightweight title with a unanimous decision victory in Las Vegas.
The undefeated 22-year-old faltered in his corner after a flurry of punches as Haney had to show courage with his skillful skills to defeat Linares with scores of 116-112, 116-112 and 115-113 in Las Vegas.
Despite the brief scare, Haney hosted a future clash with Teofimo Lopez, who is recognized as the No. 1 in the division after unifying the WBA, IBF and WBO titles.
“Of course I want the biggest fight to happen,” Haney said. DAZN. “If Teofimo Lopez is next, let’s do it.
“I stayed focused on Jorge Linares. I knew he was a tough competitor. I focused on my game plan and I went there and got the job done.
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“If Teofimo wants to have it then, let’s do it for all the belts. The undisputed real.”
Haney had landed his uppercut with regularity as he disturbed Linares with the speed of his hand in the early laps.
A clean right hand from Haney had thrown Linares off balance in the third, while the Venezuelan had to resist another fierce right hand in the fourth.
But Linares drew Haney in a fiery rally in the ninth, then unloaded a quick combination in the 10th that left Haney tottering in his corner.
Linares landed a left hook in the 11th as he tried to find a fight-ending punch, although Haney remained firm until the final bell to seal a career-best victory.