1. There is plenty Lomachenko left in Lomachenko
I’m an unashamed Vasiliy Lomachenko fan-boy, so it was a relief to see the 35-year-old back to his competitive best this weekend against Devin Haney. The Ukrainian may not have got the nod on the scorecards, but there was enough Lomachenko left in the Lomachenko tank to grant him a spot in the lightweight conversation going forward.
Whether the Ukrainian can force a rematch with Haney before the American jumps up to 140 remains to be seen, but Loma will go into match-ups with Shakur Stevenson, Gervonta Davis and other top lightweights as a credible threat despite continuing to fight above his natural weight class.
When Loma was in full swing, his punches flowed with precision and his ability to swarm an opponent from different angles while walking them down still seems pretty unique in the sport. Haney told his father in the corner that Loma knew exactly what he was going to throw – underlining the Ukrainian’s ability to read a contest.
But his inability to keep his attacks going for 12 rounds perhaps held him back again at the weekend, something that will only get harder as he grows older in an unnatural weight class.
2. A close fight doesn’t equal a robbery
I scored the fight 115-113 for Lomachenko, but I wouldn’t be happy going to trial and swearing an oath about how I came to that decision.
The term “robbery” was being thrown around on social media following the announcement of the 116-112, 115-113 x2 scorecards, almost discrediting the legitimacy of genuine robberies of old.
The fight was competitive and some of the early rounds were extremely hard to score. When fighters are pinching rounds by a couple of punches, then being outraged that rounds are being accumulated in the process seems unfair.
It raises the age-old question around the 10-point must scoring system in boxing. You get the same amount of points (i.e. a 10-9 round) for completely dominating your opponent with a savage attack that doesn’t lead to a knockdown, than you do by pinching a round by a jab.
But dabbling in conversations regarding boxing scoring usually hits a brick wall in the end. Is it the same as suggesting that a 30-yard screamer in football should be worth more than a tap-in at the far post?
3. Katie Taylor is fighting Father Time
I didn’t like Katie Taylor’s chances at the weekend on her Irish homecoming and reaped the rewards of a 2/1 (+200) price on Chantelle Cameron pre-fight.
Taylor has arguably been on the slide since tight wins over Delfine Persoon and Natasha Jonas in 2020-21 and a step up to 140 was unlikely to prove successful against a very good champion in Cameron.
At 36 and relying on such a consistent high-pace level of relentless attacks, it’s no surprise that Father (or Mother) Time has come knocking for Taylor. In her peak she may well have been able to spring more freely in and out of range of Cameron and picked her off a little more astutely, but pulling the trigger for 24-minutes is now an arduous assignment.
But a Taylor on the slide is still capable of more than most of her peers at their peaks. I wouldn’t write off a close win for the Irishwoman if she is able to drag Cameron down to 135 in the rematch.
4. Junto Nakatani has probably bagged KO of the year
It was bittersweet seeing Junto Nakatani’s brutal KO of Andrew Moloney this weekend.
Moloney – along with his twin brother Jason – are two of the nicest men you’d wish to meet in boxing, but even nice guys aren’t immune to getting sprayed onto the canvas by the vicious Nakatani.
WORLD CHAMPION— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) May 21, 2023
Nakatani does it in devastating fashion #HaneyLoma pic.twitter.com/PtGRLRp4g3
It was the shot we (well, fighters) all dream of landing. A beautiful overhand left in the final round that will surely be a prime contender for the 2023 KO of the Year. The two-weight world champion made a few more ripples in a career that has gone a little under the radar while amassing a 25-0 record.
5. Luck of the Irish is running out
Katie Taylor, Dennis Hogan and Gary Cully all lost on Saturday night in front of a passionate Dublin crowd, leaving hearts broken and Conor McGregor crying into his Irish stout.
It has led to questions regarding the matchmaking of Matchroom Boxing as once again a relatively unknown Mexican flew over the Atlantic to spoil a party (Jose Felix TKO-3 Gary Cully).
It’s great news for us fans, but perhaps young prospects will think twice signing with Hearn, especially if they see a Mexican pencilled in for a 6-rounder in their third fight.