Two of the World’s Youngest Professional Boxers in Action on the PacMan-Bradley Card

 An interesting aspect of the non-TV portion of the Pacquiao-Bradley promotion is that it features two of the world’s youngest professional boxers. Big things are expected of 17-year-old wunderkinds Leon Bauer (7-0, 6 KOs) and Devin Haney (3-0, 2 KOs).

Bauer, a super middleweight, is the youngest pro fighter in Germany. He was discovered by Rainier Gottwald who discovered the equally precocious Vincent Feigenbutz. (Only 20 years old, Feigenbutz was recently upset in a bid for the WBA’s version of the super middleweight title.) Bauer is part of the Team Sauerland stable which includes Arthur Abraham who risks his 168-pound belt in the semi-windup in the big Saturday show in Las Vegas.

Bauer, who stands 6’2”, already has his eye on the biggest prize in boxing. His long-term goal is to win the world heavyweight title. However, he would be wise not to look past his Saturday opponent, Ilshat Khusnulgatin. A 25-year-old Russian now living in Oxnard, California, Khusnulgatin is 12-1 (6). The match is scheduled for six rounds.

A press release announcing Bauer’s addition to the April 9 show said that he was the youngest boxer ever licensed to fight professionally in Nevada. If that were true, it’s not true anymore. Devin Haney, a lightweight whose first three bouts were in Tijuana, is three months younger. Haney turns 18 on Nov. 17.

Raised in Las Vegas, Haney first attracted notice at age 13 when he was learning the ropes under Eddie Mustafa Muhammad. In 2014, Roy Jones Jr. anointed him the “next big thing.” A two-time national amateur champion, he is currently trained by Floyd Mayweather, Sr. At the Mayweather Gym, he frequently spars with Gervonta Davis, another hot prospect.

Haney is matched against Rafael Vazquez, a Puerto Rican with a 2-4 record. The bout is scheduled for four rounds.

Doors to the MGM Grand Garden arena open at 3:30. The TV portion of the show starts at 6 PM Las Vegas time (9 PM ET). In addition to Pacquiao-Bradley, three other bouts will be aired on the HBO PPV telecast.

Check out The Boxing Channel video “Paulie Malignaggi Breaks Down Manny Pacquiao vs Timothy Bradley 3”.


-ArneK. :

Both guys won their bouts by wide decisions, but the scorecards were somewhat misleading as neither was dominant. Referencing Haney, one of the announcers said "what he lacks in technique, he makes up in enthusiasm." The same observation would have applied to Bauer. Of course, being so young, it figured that they might be overwhelmed by appearing at the MGM which the ring announcer kept reminding us was "the biggest stage in boxing." Bottom line: Both guys were miles away from where Wilfred Benitez was at the same age -- hopefully neither winds up like Benitez.

-Radam G :

No way that they become like the great Benitez. The hitting culture of da game has changed. The refs stop scraps nowadays if the wind of a missed punch is too strong. Benitez used to get hit with the kitchen's sink and the vacuum cleaner, and the refs still did not stop his fights except against Sugar Ray Leonard. I've seen films of about 10 of Benitez's scraps that should have resulted in him being TKO'd. In his first scrap with Bruce Curry, Benitez was out on his feet about five times. Benitez's nickname was "Radar." But on a lot of occasions, shot, bomb, missile and rabbit shots evaded his radar and smoked him. Holla!