Lightweight Boxing At The Ultimate Level: Vasyl Lomachenko v. Devin Haney

By Jeff Meyers - 05/21/2023 - Comments

On Saturday, May 20, 2023, undisputed lightweight champion Devin “The Dream” Haney (30-0-0, 15 KOs) battled Ukrainian veteran and future hall of famer Vasyl Lomachenko (17-3-0, 25 KOs) in a spectacular title fight at the MGM Grand in Vegas.

The bout was as high level skill-wise as you will see in any division; both fighters displayed uncanny ring IQ, adapting to the other’s style, and pure heart and skill as you can witness.

Bob Arum claimed that Lomachenko got “robbed.” Never believe the words coming out of a promoter’s mouth. (Larry Merchant told Arum after one fight “I don’t interview promoters” and for good reason—they are inherently biased.)

But was it a robbery? Maybe.

I scored the fight 115-114 in favor of Lomachenko. But it could have gone either way. Haney started the fight out strong, which is not uncommon in Lomachenko contests—Lomachenko often starts slow and comes on strong. But Lomachenko clearly won the championship rounds (rounds 10-12) and had the momentum in the late rounds while Haney seemed to fade.

Haney’s strength, ring intelligence and skills were on high display. There’s a reason why the San Francisco born Haney is undefeated and a future superstar. Haney never got rattled or hurt. He also had one punch Lomachenko couldn’t defend—the right hand body shot. Haney landed it over and over, reddening the Ukrainian southpaw’s left abdomen at will.

But so were Lomachenko’s. At age 35, Vasyl’s career is not ascending the way Haney’s is. But Lomachenko showed why he is so respected and feared. His straight left hand and creating of angles while moving forward were brilliant, and the eleventh round was textbook championship level boxing.

A rematch may be more difficult for Lomachenko given his age. Also, Haney is a more natural welterweight, so we may not see these two talented boxers square off against each other again. Hopefully, it will happen, however.