Antonio Tarver wants to see Vasily Lomachenko sit down on his punches and land some heavy shots against undisputed lightweight champion Devin Haney in their headliner on ESPN pay-per-view on May 20th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Tarver feels that the two-time Olympic gold medalist Lomachenko (17-2, 11 KOs) has gotten into a pattern where he throws nothing but weaker, point-scoring punches, and they’re making his fights harder for him since moving up to 135 in 2018.
Lomachenko has had eight fights since moving up to the lightweight division, many of which have been grueling. He’s taken punishment, which he hadn’t received when fighting at 130 and 126.
Haney, a monstrously substantial lightweight, will likely outweigh Lomachenko by 15 lbs, possibly 20 lbs on the night, and he’ll also have a six-inch reach advantage.
Lomachenko hasn’t shown much power in any of the weight classes he’s campaigned at, and it’s hard to imagine him making improvements in this area at 35 heading into his clash against Haney.
If Lomachenko loses this fight, he’ll need to decide whether it’s worth continuing to ply his trade at 135 or moving back down to 130 or 126.
“That’s going to be a tall order for Lomachenko,” said Antonio Tarver to Fight Hub TV about the May 20th fight between undisputed lightweight champion Devin Haney and Vasily Lomachenko.
“Lomachenko has some cute little fancy footwork, but I don’t see him dropping no bombs on these guys. All that pitty-pat boxing is cool, but we going to have to put some leather on these guys if we’re trying to do some damage like that.
“Everybody says that Haney can’t punch. That’s what they say, but I want to see that fight. If Haney can get by Lomachenko and you got Shakur Stevenson, too, the lightweight division can be great for years to come if we can get these fights made.
“With Ryan making this fight and Davis making this fight, it could be something these young guys would want to start doing. Making these types of legendary match-ups that these guys can become legends sooner than later, and that’s what we want to see,” said Tarver.
“All the accolades are great, but people are going to remember you on how you made them feel. When I look back at my career, that’s what I want to be noted for,” said Tarver.