Devin Haney did what was necessary to beat Jorge Linares by unanimous decision in the main event on Saturday night.
WBC lightweight champion Haney (26-0, 15 KO's) survived a late scare in the tenth round after being caught by the big-punching Colombian, but the California native ultimately emerged victorious at the Michelob Ultra Arena.
The American controlled the pace right from the start, picking off his experienced opponent with relative ease as he established his range.
However, the tide then turned in the tenth round as Linares (47-6, 29 KO's) landed a big right hand, which left the champion walking on wobbly legs back to his corner.
But Haney showed great courage and resolve in weathering the late storm as he clung on until the final bell to keep his undefeated record intact.
Haney fought a controlled, tactical fight, and managed to stay out of trouble for most of the night against the wily veteran Linares, earning praise on social media for his performance.
Some, however, were less than impressed with his performance, as Ryan Garcia and Teofimo Lopez Jr took the opportunity to criticize him for his efforts on social media.
"Good fight but I am sorry Devin, I would have KOed [sic] you, slept you," said Garcia on Instagram.
And Lopez Jr - whom Haney has relentlessly pursued over the previous few months - responded with a simple emoji.
Lopez Jr (16-0, 12 KO's) is Haney's preferred opponent, however promoter Eddie Hearn has also listed Garcia as a potential backup plan.
"I think Haney showed tonight that he’s an elite world-class fighter," Hearn said to iFL TV. "Can he beat Teofimo, Tank, and Ryan Garcia? I believe so, but let’s wait and see.
"Teofimo has been very vocal about being the fight that he wants after [George] Kambosos, and so do we.
"So let’s try and make it happen."
Haney is exclusively signed to DAZN, while Triller recently won the rights to promote Lopez Jr's lightweight title defense against George Kambosos Jr on June 19.
Lopez Jr is also represented by Bob Arum of Top Rank which could further complicate the matter.
However, Hearn insists that that won't be a problem.
"There are many ways we can make the fight," he added. "We’ve got the money to make the fight. I believe we can make the fight.
“It’s a huge fight for DAZN. If it has to go on ESPN PPV, that’s no problem as well.
"If that’s the opportunity for Devin, we have to take that. I don’t see why that shouldn’t happen."
He continued: "He’s 22, and he’s learned on the road. He’s got an extremely intelligent boxing brain for a 22-year-old, and you can see that in the ring.
"He never ran out of ideas in the ring there tonight. He was always trying new things. Then he started walking him down, which I don’t think he should have done, but he wanted to switch it up.
"He forced Linares back at times, he boxed him on the inside at times, he tied him up well. It was a very mature performance from someone so young."News Now - Sport News