By: Kirk Jackson
The “Dream” from America, the undefeated, Devin Haney (30-0, 15 KO’s), retained his undisputed lightweight crown with a close unanimous decision victory over Ukraine’s three-division world champion Vasiliy Lomachenko (17-3, 11 KO’s), Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The fight began uncharacteristically with an aggressive start from Lomachenko, who utilized a combination of feints, footwork and head movement to close the distance, in attempts to operate at an effective range against Haney.
His efforts were countered by Haney’s feints, prolific jabs and footwork to maintain his preferred distance. In addition, Haney mounted a consistent effort to touch Lomachenko’s body, landing significant right hands to the body of the former champion. Something the judges, if not disgruntled fans took notice of.
The overall flow of the fight was tremendous; good back and forth between one who would be considered the professor (Lomachenko) and the honors student (Haney). Haney would thwart something from Lomachenko, and in turn Lomachenko would counter Haney’s counter.
The rounds were close early, but the defending champion appeared to landing the more telling punches or do just enough to secure the rounds. There were swing rounds, in which could go either way, and important to also note the reaction from the audience anytime Lomachenko would come close to landing a punch.
In the later rounds, Lomachenko had more success, his combinations became more frequent and posted dominant rounds 10 and 11 against Haney. Albeit, one of those rounds was still scored for Haney in error (by the account of most viewers), but the outcome, not necessarily the score tally correctly dabbed the winner.
Something to note, the optics of the overall view of the fight may be skewed due to the dominance from Lomachenko in those two aforementioned rounds.
But two rounds do not tell the whole story. Just like, the bruising and battered visual appearance on Lomachenko’s face in comparison to Haney, doesn’t illustrate how close and competitive the fight was.
Ultimately heading into the final round, it was the defending champion displaying he wanted it more, in spite of the fatigue and damage he sustained in previous rounds.
Haney made the second defense of his undisputed title with scores of 115-113 twice and 116-112 for the other score card.
“Lomachenko is a future Hall of Famer. It was a blessing. He was my toughest opponent by far. He is very crafty, and we put on a great fight for the fans,” said Haney.
“He’s a crafty fighter. He turns it up in the championship rounds. I just have to take my hat off to him. He’s a great fighter.”
“I don’t want to talk about the decision. All the people saw what happened today,” said Lomachenko, post-fight.
“Before, I thought he would be better. He’s a tough fighter. He’s a good fighter. But he’s not a pound-for-pound fighter.”
“I think I showed that I can still be in boxing. I’m in good shape now. And see you next time.”
Whether Lomachenko or other detractors consider Haney pound-for-pound is irrelevant.
Haney is undefeated, undisputed and at 24-years-old, is just getting started.
“This is all experience. Me and my team are going to go back to the house, watch the fight and reflect on it. I’ve been at 135 for a long, long time. This is my 30th fight. I’ve been here at 135 since I was 16 years old. We’re going to go back to the lab and figure out what’s next.”