HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – In a matchup that is nearly four years in the making, undisputed lightweight champion Devin Haney and former three-division titlist Vasiliy Lomachenko will finally fight on May 20 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on ESPN+ pay-per-view. 

Back in 2019, Lomachenko was on the shortlist for being boxing's top pound-for-pound fighter. After beating Luke Campbell in September of that year, the Ukrainian held the 135-pound WBO, WBA, and WBC titles. 

Shortly after the Campbell fight, the WBC muddied waters and elevated Lomachenko to "Franchise Champion" designation and awarded Haney the belt without having to beat anyone.

Haney found himself having to fight for the right to hold the title at the time. 

A fight with Lomachenko did not become a reality until Lomachenko lost the titles to Teofimo Lopez Jr., who lost to George Kambosos Jr., who then ultimately twice-lost to Haney. 

Once Haney (29-0, 15 KOs) formed a pact with Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions, a fight with Lomachenko (17-2, 11 KOs) became a foregone conclusion. 

“It's a dream come true. It's a blessing that it finally happened. This is a fight that I have always wanted. I've been screaming for this fight for a long time,” said in an interview with BoxingScene.com and other reporters.

“I told [Lomachenko] to fight me then because it will only get worse, and it will be a worse [beating] than it was four years ago, that's for sure … When Loma had the belts, he didn't want to fight me. He went in a different direction. When I got the belts, I fought him.”

The 35-year-old Lomachenko’s best days appear to be behind him. 

After losing to Lopez in 2020, he stopped Masayoshi Nakatanim, dominated Richard Commey, and looked lackluster in a close decision win against Jamaine Ortiz.

Haney wants to make sure he gets the credit that he deserves should he beat the two-time Olympics gold medalist. 

“Loma is definitely no slouch. He's not a guy you can go in there and do anything with. It takes strategy and a lot of skills. If the [stoppage] opportunity presents itself, of course,” said Haney. 

“He has skills. He has a lot of IQ and great amateur pedigree. 

“I'm going to turn all of the non-believers into believers.” 

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.