Bob Arum apparently does not agree with the judges who scored the undisputed lightweight title fight between Devin Haney and Vasiliy Lomachenko.
Last Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Haney fended off Lomachenko over 12 rounds to retain his four 135-belts with a unanimous decision. And yet, despite the spirited and competitive nature of their tussle, a vocal contingent of the public took issue with the results, with many—from actor Jean-Claude Van Damme to rapper Nelly—adamant in their belief that Lomachenko deserved to win.
Arum, the head of Top Rank, which promoted the fight, apparently shares their opinion.
In an exchange that was picked up by a microphone, Arum was seen and heard telling Lomachenko right before the beginning of the post-fight press conference that he believed the Ukrainian should have been declared the victor.
“You won that fight easy,” Arum said in a video published by FightHubTV.
Moments later, Lomachenko’s manager, Egis Klimas, walked up to Arum, who told him, “He won that fight easy, easy.”
“Yes! I know,” Klimas responded.
Scores for the contest were 116-112, 115-113, and 115-113. Many people took issue with the 116-112 card turned in by veteran judge Dave Moretti, who had given the 10th round to Haney even though it was a round in which Lomachenko appeared to do his finest work.
On Twitter, Haney responded to Arum’s “hot mic” moment with a sardonic tweet showing two images of Lomachenko bursting into tears in the dressing room after the fight. Haney then responded to a fan’s question about whether or not he re-signed with Arum’s Top Rank, saying “Absolutely not.”
It is understood that Haney is now a free agent, having fulfilled the terms of his contract with Top Rank.
Arum would go on in the post-fight press conference to question why the Nevada State Athletic Commission had hired three American judges and an American referee to work the fight when the fight was between an American and a Ukrainian—Arum’s point being that Lomachenko was possibly disadvantaged by implicit bias.
“It seems sort of strange to me when you have an American fighting a Ukrainian and all officials are American,” Arum said. “I mean, it doesn’t happen that way in any other place in the world. But again, that’s not my pay grade. I’m a promoter and the commission runs things in Nevada.”
Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.