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.