After extensive efforts on Devin Haney’s end to face the cause of fans referring to him as “email” champion, he finally gets the chance to validate himself as an elite fighter against the former WBC Franchise Champion Vasily Lomachenko this Saturday at the MGM Garden in Las Vegas and broadcast live on Top Rank on ESPN+ PPV beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
(*wait, did Lomachenko lose the Franchise belt when he lost to Teo, who then lost to Kambosos who then lost to Haney TWICE? Does that mean Devin is the Franchise champ now as well? I don’t know. I can’t seem to keep up with the WBC’s ever-changing rules.)
Although he scored two dominant boxing clinics against George Kambosos to earn and defend all the belts, Haney (29-0, 15 KOs) still struggles to gain full acknowledgment as the top dog in the stacked lightweight division. Victory over the once-considered P4P best and two-time Olympic gold medalist would vindicate his status as a deserving champion.
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this bout is the clash between youth and experience. Haney has consistently risen to the occasion and demonstrated his ability to overcome adversity. From performing the veteran move of clinching when staggered at the hands of former lightweight champion Jorge Linares to adapting against a relentless Jojo Diaz, Haney proved grit and resilience.
Lomachenko (17-2, 11 KOs), known for his mesmerizing “Matrix” boxing style, captivates fans worldwide with his footwork, angles and precision. Lomachenko glides around the ring with the grace of a ballet dancer, throwing punches from angles you didn’t even know existed.
However, Haney possesses his own unique set of attributes, including speed, accuracy and ring intelligence. The young gun’s style could prove to challenge the Ukrainian maestro, who hasn’t forced another “No Mas” victory since Guillermo Rigondeaux. While Lomachenko scored an impressive knockout win over Masayoshi Nakatani in his first comeback fight following his second defeat, he looked extremely corny his following bout, asking Richard Commey’s corner to stop the fight as an act of mercy, yet never actually stopping the former world champion after that.
Lomachenko’s experience in the ring, combined with his technical mastery, gives him an edge in terms of fight IQ, yet the outcome of this fight will likely hinge on Haney’s ability to weather Lomachenko’s storm and impose his game plan. If Lomachenko waits for six rounds to “download” data as he did against Lopez, Haney could win on the cards and have the bragging rights of defeating Lomachenko before moving up in weight.
While I want to pick Haney by majority decision because I believe his size, reach, skills and youth could prove too much for an aging Lomachenko, this is a Top Rank card, and I am expecting judges to favor the home fighter in a competitive matchup. So, I guess I’m predicting Lomachenko by MD instead.
While not counting Lomachenko out to have a second coming and completely dominate Haney, overwhelming him with combinations from every angle and never allowing him to get into a rhythm, I feel his best days are behind him, and it’s time to pass the torch to the new generation of champions.