By Keith Idec
Devin Haney would probably get his lightweight title shot faster if Luke Campbell upsets Vasiliy Lomachenko later this month.
From a personal standpoint, Haney hopes Campbell can beat the heavily favored Lomachenko on August 31 in London. From an objective standpoint, Haney thinks Lomachenko will win their 12-round fight for Lomachenko’s WBA and WBO lightweight titles and the vacant WBC championship.
Haney explained during a conference call Thursday, though, that he expects Campbell to provide a tougher fight for Lomachenko than many fans and reporters anticipate in their battle between left-handed Olympic gold medalists.
“I think that is a good fight,” Haney said. “Luke Campbell, he’s tall, he’s long, he can box and he has experience. But Lomachenko is obviously Lomachenko, and everyone has him the favorite to win. I don’t think it’s gonna be as easy as everyone thinks, but I do see Lomachenko being victorious.”
Most handicappers have installed Ukraine’s Lomachenko as at least a 16-1 favorite, even though their 135-pound title fight will take place in Campbell’s native England. The WBC ordered Campbell (20-2, 16 KOs), its mandatory lightweight championship challenger, to fight Lomachenko (13-1, 10 KOs) for the championship Mikey Garcia gave up in April because he decided his next fight will be contested within the junior welterweight or welterweight division.
The 20-year-old Haney (22-0, 14 KOs) will face Russia’s Zaur Abdullaev (11-0, 7 KOs) next month for the right to become the WBC’s next mandatory challenger for the Lomachenko-Campbell winner. Las Vegas’ Haney is ranked No. 2 by the WBC, two spots above Abdullaev.
If Lomachenko conquers Campbell, the Haney-Abdullaev winner likely would have to wait longer to get his mandated WBC title shot because Lomachenko could fight the winner of the Richard Commey-Teofimo Lopez bout before boxing the Haney-Abdullaev victor. The IBF ordered the bout between Ghana’s Commey (29-2, 26 KOs), its lightweight champion, and Brooklyn’s Lopez (14-0, 11 KOs), its mandatory challenger, on Friday.
Lopez is No. 3 in the WBC’s lightweight rankings, but he is considered unavailable to fight Haney in a WBC elimination match because he is in line to challenge Commey.
The Haney-Abdullaev bout will headline DAZN’s stream September 13 from The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York. ESPN+ will stream the Lomachenko-Campbell match August 31 from O2 Arena.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.