Undisputed lightweight champion Devin Haney and former three-division titlist Vasiliy Lomachenko are set to square off in a highly anticipated matchup on May 20.
The only missing piece to the puzzle holding back the official announcement of the fight is if the event will be staged in Saudi Arabia or Las Vegas.
Haney and Lomachenko have been linked to a potential fight dating back to 2019 when Haney was elevated by the WBC to be its 135-pound champion. The belt was held by Lomachenko at the time, who was instead labeled the WBC franchise champion.
The sanctioning body semantics may have prevented the fight then, but not now, especially since Haney and Lomachenko are both tied to Top Rank.
The 24-year-old Haney (29-0, 15 KOs) had a remarkable 2022 by twice beating George Kambosos Jr. via dominant decisions. The first fight made Haney an undisputed champion, and he defended his titles again versus Kambosos in a rematch months after.
The one-sided performances moved Haney up several notches on the mythical list of best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. Haney is ranked No. 9 on BoxingScene.com’s P4P list.
“Yeah, the tables turned. For a long time, Loma wouldn’t even say my name. At one point, I don’t think Loma even knew me because he wouldn’t even say my name,” Haney said in an interview with Marcos Villegas on Fight Hub TV.
“Eventually, the tables started turning, and now here we are, and I’m giving Loma a shot. I don’t have to. When it was his turn, he didn’t have to, and he didn’t.
“It’s different. I want to show the world my skills. I want to take on the best fighters in the world. I’ve been saying this for a while.”
Haney also shared that he’s taken offense to the Ukrainian not giving certain fighters a shot at facing him.
“He calls out a lot of fighters, but he doesn’t fight them. Anybody that I ever called out that was willing to fight me, I fought, and this is another time me showing that. I called out Loma years ago. Here we are, years and years, and we’re fighting,” said Haney.
“It’s about legacy. I’ve been wanting to fight Loma. I knew I could beat him back then. I still feel the same way, and I will show it. You got to see. You got to tune in. It’s definitely going to be a different fight than it was years ago.
“It’s going to showcase my skills and showcase that I’m the best fighter in the world. I am the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world. I’m just going to keep beating them one by one. Keep lining them up and knocking them down, and eventually, I’m going to get my respect.
“I’m definitely getting more respect than I was before, and after this fight [with Lomachenko], I’ll get even more respect after I’m victorious.”
Haney also acknowledged that Lomachenko looked shaky at times in his last fight against Jamaine Ortiz in October. The former two-time Olympic gold medalist still scored a unanimous decision in the 12-round bout.
Lomachenko (17-2, 11 KOs) has rebounded since his 2020 loss to Teofimo Lopez to also beat the likes of Masayoshi Nakatani and Richard Commey.
But is a decline on the horizon for the 35-year-old?
“They say that because he had a bad performance, but one performance doesn’t define you,” said Haney. “We’re not studying Loma after his last performance. We’re studying him off of all his fights. His best performances, his worst performances. We’re studying him all around. One performance doesn’t define you.
“He was coming off a war, Ukraine, a lot to make that fight happen, and he was victorious against a young, hungry lion, like Jermaine Ortiz. So we got to see. We’re expecting the best Lomachenko on May 20t, and the best Devin Haney will show up that night.
“I see myself being dominant from round one until however many rounds it lasts. I see myself being dominant the whole time. I’ve been feeling like that.
“It’s not confidence now because I’ve been saying that I want to fight Loma back for years and years ago. Nothing has changed.”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer, and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, through email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com, or via www.ManoukAkopyan.com.
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