Devin Haney defends the undisputed lightweight championship of the world on Saturday, facing Vasiliy Lomachenko on a Top Rank PPV main event from Las Vegas.
Will the undefeated Haney further establish himself as the king at 135, or will the veteran Lomachenko get back into the top spot and become an undisputed champ for the first time in his Hall of Fame-bound career?
Scott Christ (43-20)
I really think Devin Haney should win this fight. He’s the natural lightweight, he’s a terrific technician, he’s younger and much fresher, and he’s just been able to pretty much have his way with everyone he’s fought.
He’s also never fought anyone as good as Lomachenko. He just hasn’t. Nobody he’s fought has near the depth of skill that Lomachenko has. That’s not saying I’m certain Loma can win this, because I’m far from it, but I think there’s a legitimate chance, just paying attention to Devin and Bill both, that they’ve put the horse in front of the cart just a little bit. Lomachenko will have to actually take this, though, and he’s going to have to start faster. He can’t afford to just “download information” for a few rounds, a lesson you’d think he’d have learned against Teofimo, but he’s also a 35-year-old fighter with his own ego about how good he is, same as Devin, and we saw him struggle a bit with Jamaine Ortiz last time out for that reason.
I’m not writing off the old lad being too old. I’m not taking what happened with Teofimo or Ortiz as evidence that Loma can’t win this fight. And I think the sort of very basic nature of Haney’s game leaves itself open to more dynamic fighters. Could happen here. Could be against someone like Shakur Stevenson or, in a pipe dream, Gervonta Davis. I’m gonna go with the upset in part because I think it can happen, and in part because I’m playing from behind in this little game. If you read only the bold part you will think I’m far more confident than I am, and the scenario I envision where this happens is Loma wins 7-5 in a fight that begs for a rematch and could easily have gone the other way. Lomachenko UD-12
Wil Esco (49-14)
It’s not like I’ve been shy about this in the comments section so I’m not going to backtrack any here. I fully expect Devin Haney to handle this version of Vasiliy Lomachenko. I’m well aware of the pearl-clutching crowd who believe it’s blasphemous to write off the storied Loma, but I think this will prove to be a poor style matchup for him given his age and the weight class.
The biggest issue I see for Loma is that he just is who he is, and I don’t see him having the ability to change his style in order to get off to a faster start, and I think that’s something he’ll need against Haney. He can’t just afford to ‘download data’ while dropping the first half of the fight, and then put himself in a position where he literally has to sweep the back half just for a chance to eke out a win. But, I just think that’s the kind of fighter Lomachenko is. He’s going to come out and play defense as he scouts Haney’s jab, but I don’t think getting past the jab is a riddle he’s going to completely solve, and with Haney’s being known for smothering inside work, I don’t know how effective he’ll be able to be there, either. I’m taking Haney by clear decision. Haney UD-12
John Hansen (45-18)
Someone with the size and talent to neutralize Devin Haney’s jab-and-grab style will beat him, eventually. I can’t see it happening with a substantially smaller opponent, not even one as talented as Lomachenko.
Lomachenko struggled for half the fight against Teofimo Lopez, and Lopez has a shorter reach and much less disciplined approach to his fights. Maybe Loma gets in and chins him in the 9th or 10th? Maybe? I wouldn’t bet on it, though. Haney MD-12
Patrick Stumberg (49-14)
Cards on the table: I want Lomachenko to win this fight. I think he’s got a better story and a much more visually appealing style. If he were just a little younger and a little bigger, I’d call the upset. Haney’s usual approach doesn’t lend itself to outworking Lomachenko the way Teofimo Lopez and Jamaine Ortiz did in the first half of their fights and he’s a very limited puncher besides.
What Haney does have is nearly half a foot of reach and over a decade’s worth of youth on Lomachenko. Even if he’s not likely to dazzle or overwhelm “Hi-Tech,” he’s got the craft to control the outfight behind his jab and smother Lomachenko inside whenever Lomachenko tries to unleash his signature angular onslaught. A Lomachenko that could maintain his output from the opening bell to the final bell would still have an excellent shot of claiming the titles, but I’m not sure that guy exists anymore unless the Ortiz fight was entirely a product of ring rust and his time on the front lines.
That said, Devin’s just keeping the belts warm for Shakur. Haney UD-12
Oscar Valdez vs Adam Lopez 2
- Scott: Valdez TKO-9
- Wil: Valdez TKO-9
- John: Valdez KO-6
- Patrick: Valdez UD-10
Raymond Muratalla vs Jeremia Nakathila
- Scott: Muratalla UD-10
- Wil: Muratalla UD-10
- John: Muratalla TKO-8
- Patrick: Muratalla UD-10
Andrew Moloney vs Junto Nakatani
- Scott: Nakatani UD-12
- Wil: Nakatani UD-12
- John: Nakatani UD-12
- Patrick: Nakatani UD-12