Davin Haney, Vasyl Lomachenko and The Moment of Truth

Posted 05/15/2023

Make no mistake: Saturday’s undisputed lightweight title bout between Devin Haney and Vasyl Lomachenko represents the moment of truth for every fighter. For Lomachenko, the outcome of this weekend’s fight will dictate the course of the rest of his career. Should he lose, Lomachenko, the man once regarded as the best pound for pound boxer on earth, will be seen as a man whose time has truly come and gone. Should Haney lose, he will be seen as a man who has been sent back to earth from a great deal of aging, not quite as good a fighter as he was made out to be.

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Image: Top Rank

The 17-2 Lomachenko is now 35 years old. He was rightfully considered the greatest fighter to ever compete in the amateurs. In the early part of his professional career, Lomachenko was also considered well on his way to becoming the greatest professional boxer in history. This may have been part of HBO’s hype machine, as HBO was televising Lomachenko’s fights at the time. However, the man was incredibly impressive in the ring, turning his opponents at will and knocking many of those opponents out in a row on their stools. Then came Teofimo Lopez.

Unlike many of Lomachenko’s previous in-ring opponents, Lopez was neither impressed nor intimidated by the lauded Ukrainian. And indeed, he fought accordingly, using his height to avoid being shot and refusing to let Lomachenko win the all-important twelfth and final round. After the judge’s papers had been read, Lomachenko had been knocked off his pedestal, his WBA and WBO belts now in Lopez’s possession. Lomachenko has won three in a row since then, but has yet to be offered a chance to recapture his former glory.

Until now.

Unlike Lomachenko, the 29-0 Haney is, at 24, still a youngster. In fact, he’s about 11 years younger than Lomachenko, a lifetime in the fight game. Like Lomachenko, Haney has defeated an array of talented opponents. Jorge Linares, Yuriorkis Gamboa and Joseph Diaz all fell victim to the Vegas boxer’s remarkably smooth skills. Haney may not have tremendous knockout power, but he frankly doesn’t need it. Because Haney learned the number one rule of boxing: hit and don’t get hit. Should he take down Lomachenko when they meet in Vegas this weekend, Haney will have erased any lingering questions about whether he’s as good as advertised.

Unfortunately the Haney-Lomachenko fight will be broadcast on Pay Per View. Such a fight, interesting and relevant as it is, simply doesn’t warrant a foray into viewer wallets. The purchase rate will most likely be quite low. This encounter will most likely be a chess game rather than a fight. Haney-Lomachenko is, indeed, a struggle for those who appreciate the craft. We who appreciate it have reason to look forward to it.

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