Bill Haney may not be in Australia for his son’s biggest fight of his boxing career, but Devin’s father – and head coach – will be with him until he takes to the ring at Marvel Stadium on Sunday.
As revealed on Sunday, Haney’s promoters Top Rank have been working on contingency plans to allow Bill to communicate with his son after he was not granted a visa to Australia.
The issues revolve around a three-decade-old conviction in which Australian Border Force officials did not grant visas.
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Hoping for a 72-hour visa, the Haney camp was also banned from using a headset so Bill could communicate with Devin between rounds through George Kambosos’ camp.
But until Devin walks into the ring, where he hopes to become the undisputed world lightweight champion, he can talk to Bill.
Kambosos (20-0, 10KO) puts his WBA (Super), IBF and WBO lightweight titles on the line, as well as The Ring magazine lightweight belt, while Haney (27-0, 15KO) hangs his WBC lightweight belt.
Top Rank Chief Operating Officer Brad Jacobs confirmed that a ‘Bill Bot’ – a robot with an I-Pad attached with live photos of Bill on it – would be used in the locker room and as Devin makes his way to the ring.
“The original plan was to have Devin wear some sort of headset between rounds that was reconnected to his father so he could give him instructions between rounds,” Jacobs said. foxsports.com.au†
“But unfortunately that has been eliminated by the committee because both sides have to agree and the Kambosos team disagreed.
“That part is out, but what we’re doing is having a ‘Bill Bot’, an I-Pad wheeled robot that will be in the locker room and hopefully on the walk out.
“If you imagine a nice sized I-Pad, Bill’s face will be in it and he can move around the locker room as if he were there. He can go straight to Devin and talk to him, walk around, see other people, sit in the corner, whatever he wants to do, he can do it from 8,000 miles away.”
On Wednesday, Bill took a test drive with the ‘Bill Bot’ to smooth out any kinks and familiarize yourself with the device.
Come battle day, Bill will operate the device from a laptop at ESPN’s Las Vegas studios.
“Our hope is that he (Devin) will be in the locker room for a few hours and then walk straight to the ring with him,” Jacobs said.
“Subjected to testing everything and making sure it all probably works, and there can be some challenges with so many people accessing Wi-Fi, but the technology people think will be fine.”
The Haney camp gave Kambosos several concessions to ensure the battle continued.
Jacobs said it was “disappointing”. Kambosos’ camp rejected their wish to have headphones on Haney between rounds but said it was up to him to make sure he walks on top of them.
“It was actually very disappointing,” Jacobs said.
“In the end there really is no advantage that Bill would have because if he had been here he would have been working in the corner. But they have to agree and they didn’t, and we have to abide by the rules.
“I’m sure Devin didn’t expect to face the biggest fight of his career, and one of the most important fights on the boxing calendar this year, without his dad and head coach, but that’s what the circumstances are and he just has to get up and take care of it.”
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