Haney and Lomachenko Give Lightweight Boxing Another Close Bout-News

When Devin Haney walked into the post-fight press conference at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, the 24-year-old undisputed lightweight champion knew that many felt the judges had made a mistake in giving him the victory decision. Vasiliy Lomachenko on Saturday night.

Haney, who holds lightweight belts from all four major championships, connected with the heavyweights in 12 bouts, but boxing statistics said Lomachenko, a 35-year-old Ukrainian, threw and landed more.

While many fans discussing the fight on social media complained about Haney’s victory, undefeated contender Shakur Stevenson, who had been feuding with the winner on Saturday night, called the result “a steal”.

Stevenson may have won the case – two judges scored it 115-113 for Haney, while the third had Haney winning 116-112, both close. But the result, and the return to it, shows the paradox that high-profile boxing is made of.

Fans are clamoring for matchups between elite fighters, and recently the lightweight division has delivered. April’s bout between Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia sold out the T-Mobile Arena and drew 1.2 million paychecks. Saturday’s fight between Haney, the undisputed lightweight champion, and Lomachenko, a former three-division world champion, had the highest stakes, with four top belts on the line.

But the most controversial arguments often lead to conflicting decisions. In a fight in which neither fighter had an edge, one judge, Dave Moretti, scored eight rounds in Haney’s favor.

Amidst all the controversy online, Haney told reporters that for him, his victory was certain.

“People can say what they want to say,” said Haney, who is now 30-0 with 15 knockouts. “The judges were unanimous.”

Before Saturday’s fight, Haney predicted that he would retire Lomachenko. He had the edge in length and reach, and said his striking power could help him make Lomachenko look middle-aged.

According to CompuBox, Lomachenko landed 124 of 564 punches, compared to 110 of 405 for Haney. In non-sporting boxing, where judges prefer power output over punch, and where Lomachenko won two Olympic titles, simply knocking out his opponent would have given him a decision.

Much of Saturday’s match was close, favoring the short-armed Lomachenko, who scored repeatedly with lead left hands to Haney’s forehead.

“For me it’s a big, big question,” Lomachenko, who is now 17-3 with 11 knockouts, told reporters at a press conference. “What happened?”

Pro bouts are scored on a round-by-round basis, so punch counts can be misleading. Lomachenko knocked out Haney in five rounds, and Haney knocked out Lomachenko in five more. In the remaining two frames, the fighters landed equal punches.

Most of Haney’s connections were very painful and hampered Lomachenko’s progress. At times he landed sharp left hooks to slow Lomachenko’s movement. Haney admitted that he took part in the Lomachenko fight, but said he did it on purpose.

“I knew I had to take him on, fight like you’ve never seen me fight,” Haney said. “Not every fight is going to be pretty.”

However, for people looking to reconsider the judges of this fight, Round 10 is a good one.

By the count, Lomachenko was lucky – 11 punches to Haney’s five. He also appeared aggressive, and appeared to shake Haney with his fists. But Moretti gave 10 to Haney.

His cards are one of several reasons Lomachenko’s manager, Egis Klimas, said he wanted to make the show on Monday.

“I guarantee that we will kill this decision,” Klimas told reporters.

The other two cards, which favored Haney in round one, featured a lot of tight races and fast pace.

During the break between Rounds 7 and 8, Lomachenko’s cornermen encouraged him to throw more. He opened Round 8 aggressively, and ran into a sharp body from Haney. When Lomachenko finally shot himself, the crowd chanted “Loma.” Before the bell, Haney had given up.

In the final quarter, Haney began a two-shot attack. When Lomachenko landed a straight left, Haney responded with two hooks. Just before the final bell rang, Haney hit a long left hook.

Lomachenko left the match impressed with Haney’s skills.

On point.

“If you’re talking about Linares, if you’re talking about Lopez – for me, they’re better than Haney,” Lomachenko said, referring to Jorge Linares and Teofimo Lopez, two former opponents.

Lomachenko’s domestic future remains unclear. He also proved that he is still the best fighter in a division full of lightweight talent, but admitted that this fight is his last chance to become the undisputed champion.

For his part, Haney hoped Saturday’s win would put an end to his doubts about the race, but the result appears to have strengthened his potential contenders.

“Devin is not at my level, and it shows,” said Stevenson, a former 130-pound champion.

Haney, who has been competing at 135 pounds since his youth, discussed the trial of the 140-pound super lightweight class. However, he does not plan to give up his light roles. Instead, he teased big fights against Stevenson and Davis, who was nicknamed the Tank.

“Tank and I have a big fight,” he said. “It will happen soon.”

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