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Devin Haney vs. Jorge Linares odds: Too wide or justified?

Karray Bradshaw Updated
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Saturday, May 29, at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada, 22 year old boxing prodigy Devin "The Dream" Haney (25-0, 15 KO's) will defend his WBC Lightweight strap against former three division world titlist Jorge "El Nino de Oro" Linares (47-5, 29 KO's) in the main event of a seven fight bout sheet, sponsored by Matchroom USA.
 
The telelvised portion of the fight card will begin at 8PM ET/5PM PT on DAZN, with the main event starting at approximately 11:15PM ET/8:15PM PT.
 
When this match-up was initially announced back in March, most avid fight fans and expert observers circled the May 29 event on their boxing calendar, and labeled the "competitive" pairing as the toughest test to date for the young WBC champion.
 
But when betting odds were revealed by most Race and Sports Books, Haney vs. Linares appeared to be anything but challenging.
 
According to most handicappers, Devin Haney is currently listed as a surprisingly wide (-1000) 10 to 1 betting favorite, with Jorge Linares cited as a not so live (+700) 7 to 1 betting underdog.
 
Most boxing writers would agree that the Venezuelan born puncher is a very tough assignment for the gifted young undefeated champ.
 
So why the long odds?
 
Several factors seem to justify the wide betting line heading into the highly anticipated Lightweight scrap.
 
Although Devin Haney is the less experienced fighter, with only 24 rounds of championship experience, the phenom from Vegas has only lost a handful of rounds in 25 professional contests.  
 
Because the 22 year old champ is proficient at controlling range with an educated jab and fluid footwork, coupled with an aesthetically pleasing and explosive offensive style, it's very difficult to win rounds against the well rounded undefeated boxer/puncher.  Judges are customarily swayed by his eye-catching offensive attack from mutliple ranges.
 
And due to his lightning fast reflexes, it's extremely difficult to time and counter Devin effectively from mid to long range.  And if an opponent attempts to close the distance and cut off his reaction time, Haney can work effectively on the inside while defending himself proficiently.
 
With the gifted young Haney, pick your poison...how would like to lose?  From mid to long range?  On the inside?  How about getting beaten up while following him around the ring?
 
The current WBC champ appears to be a complete fighter and doesn't seem to have any glaring deficiencies in the ring.
 
But there's an old saying in boxing: "Don't get too high on a young fighter until you see how well he can take a punch."
 
The only unknown when characterizing Devin Haney is how durable his chin is after 25 professional bouts.  Largely because his opponents have yet to touch it with a solid or heavy shot.
 
It could get tested this Saturday night against an offensive machine like Jorge Linares.
 
While the title challenger is admittedly past his fighting prime, the 35 year old former champ is still a very potent sharp-shooter and one of the best counter punchers in the sport.  Early in his career, the Japanese based prizefighter was in Haney's current position and largely viewed as one of boxing's pound for pound best.  
 
Most critics touted a 24 year old Linares as "the future of boxing" with elite level skills and dynamic punching power.  But his chin had yet to be tested.
 
On October 10, 2009, boxing fans and critics were shocked to find a massive chink in the "Golden Child's" armour.
 
In The Ring Magazine's "Upset of the Year", the undefeated favorite was brutally stopped by wide betting odds underdog Juan Carlos Salgado at the 1:47 mark of round number one.
 
And just like that, the Jorge Linares express came to a screeching halt.
 
Will fans witness a similar occurence and an ironic role reversal on Saturday night?
 
Handicappers and boxing experts are highly doubtful.
 
While Haney has never had his chin tested in 25 professional bouts, the 22 year old champion doesn't take many unnecessary risks in the ring, often limiting his output to one of two punches at a time.  This drastically reduces an opponent's window of opportunity to counter Devin effectively.
 
Haney possesses an extremely high ring IQ and seemingly knows how to win...one round at a time.
 
So although Linares is viewed by ring savvy boxing fans as Haney's toughest assignment to date, most don't see him winning this weekend.
 
And because all five of Jorge's losses have come within the distance, don't be surprised if the current WBC champ wins by a decisive and resounding knock-out.
 
There is a lot of pressure on Haney to not only win this Saturday night, but to look impressive doing it.  A career best victory against the former three-division world champion could potentially set up a big money fight opposite 135 pound kingpin Teofimo Lopez later this year.
 
While lady luck favors the bold, do your best to resist those enticing 7 to 1 odds; because Devin Haney won't be losing his title to Jorge Linares this weekend.
 
Do you agree with this assessment?  Who do you like in this weekend's WBC Lightweight championship?

box.buzz

 

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