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Fight Picks: Devin Haney vs. Vasiliy Lomachenko

Devin Haney (left) vs. Vasiliy Lomachenko
Fighters Network
18
May

On Saturday, undisputed lightweight champion Devin Haney will face three-division world titlist Vasiliy Lomachenko at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas.

​The eagerly anticipated showdown will be broadcast live on ESPN+ PPV, beginning at 10 pm ET/7 pm PT. The pay-per-view will be priced at $59.99.



Haney turned professional at 17 in Mexico. This super talent has scored wins over Mason Menard (RTD 9), Juan Carlos Burgos (UD 10) and Antonio Moran (KO 7). After being upgraded to full WBC titleholder, following his dominant win over Zaur Abdullaev (RTD 4), he defended his title, notably beating former three-division titlist Jorge Linares (UD 12) and former 130-pound titlist Joseph Diaz Jr. (UD 12).

The 24-year-old scored a dominant win over IBF, WBA and WBO titleholder and then-The Ring champion George Kambosos Jr. (UD 12) to become undisputed champion and repeated the win in a rematch.

Lomachenko, The Ring’s No. 1-rated lightweight, was one of the most decorated amateurs ever, claiming Olympic gold medals at London 2012 and Rio 2016. An early setback to Orlando Salido (SD 12), in his second professional outing, was followed by a rapid ascent. “Loma” claimed the vacant WBO featherweight title at the expense of Gary Russell Jr. (MD 12) and has won further titles at 130 and 135.

The supremely gifted Ukrainian southpaw owns solid victories over Roman Martinez (KO 5), Nicholas Walters (RTD 7), Guillermo Rigondeaux (RTD 6) and Jorge Linares (TKO 10). The now-35-year-old lost to Teofimo Lopez (UD 12) but has bounced back with comprehensive wins over Masayoshi Nakatani (TKO 9) and Richard Commey (UD 12), though, most recently, looked less impressive against Jamaine Ortiz (UD 12).

Haney (29-0, 15 knockouts) has advantages in youth (11 years) and size (one inch in height and 5½ inches in reach) but is he ready for all the wrinkles and tricks with which the more experienced Lomachenko will present him? Does Lomachenko (17-2, 11 KOs) have one last big effort in him? This is Haney’s opportunity to show he is the man at lightweight and put a marker down for Gervonta Davis and Shakur Stevenson. Can he do that? Can Lomachenko find a performance like he did several years ago against Gary Russell Jr., in which he used his expert timing to offset Russell’s speed? That could be pivotal.

Online gambling group William Hill lists Haney as an 4/11 (-275) favorite, while Lomachenko is priced at 21/10 (+210) the draw is 14/1 (+1400).

Devin Haney (left) and Vasiliy Lomachenko pose during the press conference prior to their May 20 undisputed lightweight championship. Photo by Jeff Lewis/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images

Devin Haney (left) and Vasiliy Lomachenko pose during the press conference prior to their May 20 undisputed lightweight championship. Photo by Jeff Lewis/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images

Here’s how the experts see it:

THE RING

ANSON WAINWRIGHT: HANEY UD
“Haney is younger, bigger and faster. He’s the favorite but Lomachenko is special. Timing beats speed but does he have that one big effort left in him? I lean towards Haney. I think he’ll give Lomachenko problems early and by the time Loma has downloaded the necessary data, he’ll have to dig himself out of a hole on the scorecards. I think he’ll come back at Haney but will lose something like 8-4 on the scorecards, which translates to 116-112.”

LEE GROVES: HANEY UD
“Lomachenko may not be the force of nature he was a few years ago but I don’t think he is as bad as what he showed in the Ortiz fight because I believe part of the aftermath was based on the high bar Loma didn’t meet and the low bar Ortiz leapt over. The stakes of this fight will inspire the 35-year-old Lomachenko to produce his best effort but I believe that Haney, who is 11 years younger, will use his youth, reach, intelligence and the experience he has gained in his string of title fights to win on points.”

DIEGO MORILLA: HANEY PTS
“It’s hard to envision Loma being outboxed by Haney but I can definitely see Loma being outfoxed, outpunched and outmuscled by Haney. Loma is long-overdue for a comeuppance not only because of his age but also because of his lackadaisical behavior in his last few fights, including those idiotic antics that cost him his fight against Teofimo Lopez. His custom of training, using gadgets, props and toys that don’t punch back may be good Instagram material but they don’t help him any up in the ring either. If Linares sent down on his ass, Haney can do the same – and for a few more seconds too. I wouldn’t expect a stoppage or a bad beating but a two-to-three-point win is definitely within reach for Haney.”

Jamaine Ortiz (left) and Vasiliy Lomachenko exchange punches during their lightweight fight at The Hulu Theater, at Madison Square Garden, on October 29, 2022, in New York City. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Jamaine Ortiz (left) and Vasiliy Lomachenko exchange punches during their lightweight fight at The Hulu Theater, at Madison Square Garden, on October 29, 2022, in New York City. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

MARTY MULCAHEY: HANEY PTS
“This looks like a classic case of a changing of the guard clash between a young boxer entering his prime against an aging legend in the final stages of his career. The last thing a pressure boxer like Lomachenko wants to see in the opposing corner is a quick defensive boxer who picks his punches intelligently and that is what I see in Haney. While I respect Loma for all his accomplishments (and would pick him if both were in their primes), Haney does everything Loma did faster and with a bit more zip now. The 11-year age gap is just too much for Lomachenko to overcome but it could be a chess match the judges have a hard time evaluating. So, picking the draw may be a good bet. Still, I am going with a Haney decision by three or four points.”

RON BORGES: LOMACHENKO PTS
“Lomachenko isn’t what he was but what he used to be was arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, so, if he’s slipping, it’s from a high place. Haney has skill and youth on his side and you can go broke betting against youth but I think Lomachenko has at least one great effort in him. He needs to start quicker and not give away too many early rounds. If he doesn’t, Haney is in for a lot surprises. Loma will ask questions Haney may not be ready to answer. I like Loma but, however it goes, we will learn a lot about both fighters by the time this one is over.”

NORM FRAUENHEIM: HANEY SD
“From height to reach, all of the relevant numbers favor Haney. So, too, do the years. Haney is 24; Vasiliy Lomachenko is 35. That would suggest Haney is entering his prime and Lomachenko is leaving his. Don’t believe it. Lomachenko, the older man, has fewer fights than Haney but he learned tricks Haney has never seen, especially during a storied Olympic career. He’ll test Haney – maybe frustrate him – but the unbeaten Haney has displayed unusual poise. Maintain – sustain – that poise and Haney narrowly wins a battle of tactics and wits.”

COYOTE DURAN: HANEY UD
“If this bout would’ve taken place prior to Lomachenko’s loss to Teofimo Lopez, I would’ve given the former champ the vote of confidence. That said, by no means do I believe Loma is washed but this is the wrong time in history to square up to the bigger, considerably younger champ in his obvious prime. As is his wont, Lomachenko is a slow starter. By the time he warms up, four rounds, give or take, into the bout, Haney will have already lapped him on the preceding scorecards. Will Loma give Haney fits? Pretty darn likely. However I see Haney earning the unanimous decision, 116-112.”

Devin Haney (left) keeps George Kambosos Jr. at the end of his jab. Photo by Mikey Williams/ Top Rank Inc via Getty Images

Devin Haney (left) keeps George Kambosos Jr. at the end of his jab. Photo by Mikey Williams/ Top Rank Inc via Getty Images

BOXING INSIDERS

DUKE MCKENZIE (FORMER THREE-DIVISION TITLEHOLDER/TV ANALYST): HANEY TKO 10
“Long gone are the days where Lomachenko could go into a fight, a clear favorite, a three-division world champion with only two defeats to his name, which proves to that the-once Superman is very much beatable. The big question is: Does he have one more big fight left in him in a division which many considered to be the best in the world, pound-for-pound? The lightweight division has a hotbed of talent. There are no soft options when it comes to fighting for a world title. Many will say Gervonta Davis is the No. 1 in the weight division, while others will say Haney is the boss. I feel that Haney, he’s too young, too fresh, too vicious for Lomachenko at this stage in his career. This is a statement fight for Haney, who will almost certainly not be content with a points victory. Haney has the ability and talent to win by stoppage by the 10th round.”

SERGIO MORA (FORMER JUNIOR MIDDLEWEIGHT TITLEHOLDER/COMMENTATOR): HANEY PTS
“Haney in a close and competitive fight. If this happened two years ago, I would’ve picked Loma but Haney has evolved in confidence since then. Haney has one of the best jabs, if not the best, and uses it to control everything. Haney’s height, reach, speed and accuracy will control the footwork and angles of Loma. If Loma gets overly aggressive, he’ll run into something bigger than just a jab. Haney by decision.”

TOM GRAY (FORMER MANAGING EDITOR FOR THE RING): HANEY UD
“There are a lot of people expecting Haney to win this fight comfortably but I don’t see that. Loma has the chance to make history and he’ll have his tail up for this one. This won’t be the same fighter who turned up for Jamaine Ortiz last fall. He’ll be more dialled in mentally and better prepared physically. I expect Haney to be asked questions throughout this fight and he’ll have to work hard for the win. Yes, the champ is bigger, stronger and technically brilliant but he’s in against a master in this fight. With all that said, ultimately I’m picking Haney with great trepidation because I think timing is everything in boxing. Loma is 35, whereas Haney is 24.”

CHRIS LLOYD (COMMENTATOR): HANEY PTS
“It’s an interesting time for this fight to happen. The sand timer is running low on Lomachenko’s career and, as with all great movers, his decline has been notable. Since Luke Campbell, he’s almost looked human. Haney meanwhile walks a fine line between being huge at the weight but dangerously dry on the scales. He’s very good but champions play with fire when they outstay their tenure and he’ll carry all the risk into this fight. I think body punching will be important. Lomachenko will target the long torso and given the above, it’s probably his best chance of hurting Haney. But the American is good at neutralizing opponents’ offense and with Loma’s foot speed diminished, he’ll have more time to see what’s coming, shut down angles and limit his body attacks off the pivot. Jamaine Ortiz threw too little to the body against the Ukranian but when he did, he hurt him. Expect Haney to attack low with precision and consistency. If Lomachenko starts slow, I expect Haney to rack up points. He’ll mix the jab with feints to offset his rhythm and if he’s consistent to the body early, it will stifle the type of late rally we’ve come to see from the Ukranian. In his prime, I’d have picked Lomachenko without hesitation over the Haney of today but he hasn’t been that fighter for three years. I think he’ll show flashes of brilliance but they’ll be too few and far between to close a considerable gap in size and youth. Haney will hang tough for a hard-earned points victory.”

Devin Haney (left) proved his skill and mettle vs. experienced contender Joseph Diaz Jr. Photo by Ed Mulholland/ Matchroom Boxing

Devin Haney (left) proved his skill and mettle vs. experienced contender Joseph Diaz Jr. Photo by Ed Mulholland/ Matchroom Boxing

KATHY DUVA (PROMOTER, MAIN EVENTS): LOMACHENKO PTS
“I like Devin Haney very much. He is a wonderful talent but despite the fact that a lot of experts believe that Lomachenko is past his prime, I am picking Loma to win. I believe that Loma’s defeat to Teofimo Lopez had more to do with his bad shoulder than his age. Loma is truly one of the greatest fighters of our time. If you pay close attention, you can almost see the gears turning in his head as he figures out his opposition and makes the necessary adjustments. Lomachenko’s badly-injured shoulder made it impossible for him to do what he wanted to do with Lopez. The shoulder has been repaired. Haney has a sparkling record but has not fought anywhere near the kind of competition that Lomachenko faced in his first five fights, let alone his entire career. And he certainly has never faced the kind of problems that Lomachenko will present. I cannot think of a single fighter who had a career like Lomachenko’s and yet he is frequently underestimated. I think this will work to his advantage. Haney will be full of confidence and, quite possibly, overcommit. Loma will find Haney’s weaknesses and exploit them. I expect it will go the distance and Loma will prevail with an easy decision.”

JOLENE MIZZONE (MANAGER): DRAW
“I have been going back and forth about who to pick on this one. Since I think both guys have something the other may not have, I’m not sure either fighter will dominate the other, so I think it is going to be a close fight and, nothing against Vegas, but I see a draw coming our way.”

Vasiliy Lomachenko’s (left) fierce fighting spirit (versus Richard Commey) goes beyond the ring. Photo by Sarah Stier/ Getty Images

Vasiliy Lomachenko’s (left) fierce fighting spirit (versus Richard Commey) goes beyond the ring. Photo by Sarah Stier/ Getty Images

BOBBY BENTON (TRAINER): LOMACHENKO PTS
“I am picking Loma; I think if he doesn’t get old, he wins. Styles make fights. I just feel like Haney’s style will not bother Loma. I think its going to be boring but Loma will be too slick. He will win by decision.”

STEVE FARHOOD (TV ANALYST): HANEY PTS
“I have to go with Haney here. Young (age 24) beats older (age 35). Boxer beats fighter who is going to have to pursue a fast, mobile and highly-skilled opponent. Look for Haney to pile up rounds early. Lomachenko can’t afford to get off to a slow start but he’s prone to do so. Haney on points.”

ALEX STEEDMAN (COMMENTATOR): HANEY
“The greatest sadness in boxing is a good or a great fighter arriving at a point in their career when they lose to another who likely wouldn’t have got close to them at their peak. Lomachenko is walking that path now, particularly up at 135 pounds. Fans or critics may add that Haney is so good, he’d beat Loma anytime. They may be right but the timing is perfect now and I sense a frustrating night for the brilliant Lomachenko. Haney can control the space behind his jab while piling on the points – and part of me will cry inside. Loma could’ve beaten anybody and everybody at 126/130 but the torch must pass.”

RUDY HERNANDEZ (TRAINER): HANEY UD
“Once upon a time, Lomachenko was my favorite fighter because he dared to be great. He challenged for the world title in only his second fight. Big props to him; I wish more fighters were like him. Haney is today’s up-and-coming fighter who needs a win over Lomachenko if he’s to rise and be a top money-making fighter. I see the fight being a tactical fight, neither being too aggressive, both counter-punching. As bad as it is saying, “youth vs. veteran,” the torch gets passed to Haney. I see it going the distance with Haney getting the unanimous decision.”

CHRIS ALGIERI (FORMER WORLD CHAMPION/COMMENTATOR): HANEY SD
“I’ve got Haney. Too big, too young, too much momentum and too much to prove. Loma starts slow and you can’t do that with these young guys. Haney by split decision.”

JOHN SCULLY (TRAINER): HANEY UD
“Under normal circumstances I would pick Loma to dominate this fight but the fact is the combination of his inactivity and his age tells me that he needs youth and skills have probably caught up to him and, at this point, I would go with Haney with a somewhat boring 12-round decision.”

BOB SANTOS (MANAGER/TRAINER): HANEY
“I think it’s going to be a long night for Lomachenko unless he can hit Haney with something that really hurts him because Haney has a great jab and will control the range. Therefore Lomachenko is going to have to take a risk because he’s smaller and he’s going to be countered by Haney. I believe Haney will win the fight and dominate from range.”

 

Final Tally: Haney 16-3-1

 

 

Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright.

 

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