Haney and Lomachenko Give Light-weight Boxing One other Shut Bout


By the point Devin Haney strolled into the post-fight information convention on the MGM Grand Backyard Area in Las Vegas, the 24-year-old undisputed light-weight champion was conscious of the widespread notion that judges had erred in awarding him a unanimous determination win over Vasiliy Lomachenko on Saturday evening.

Haney, who holds light-weight belts from all 4 main sanctioning our bodies, related with heavier punches over the championship bout’s 12 rounds, however the punch statistics mentioned Lomachenko, a 35-year-old from Ukraine, threw and landed extra.

Whereas many followers discussing the bout on social media griped about Haney’s win, the undefeated contender Shakur Stevenson, who had been angling for a showdown with Saturday evening’s winner, known as the end result a “theft.”

Stevenson might have overstated the case — two judges scored the bout 115-113 for Haney, whereas a 3rd had Haney profitable it 116-112, all comparatively shut. However the end result, and the backlash to it, spotlight a paradox constructed into high-level boxing.

Followers clamor for marquee matchups between elite fighters, and lately the light-weight division has delivered. An April matchup between Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia offered out T-Cell Area and generated 1.2 million pay-per-view buys. Saturday’s bout between Haney, the undisputed light-weight champion, and Lomachenko, a former world champion in three divisions, had even greater stakes, with 4 world title belts on the road.

However carefully contested bouts typically spawn debatable choices. In a bout the place neither fighter had a transparent edge, one choose, Dave Moretti, scored eight rounds in Haney’s favor.

Amid all of the arguing on-line, Haney informed reporters that to him, the win felt definitive.

“Folks can say what they wish to say,” mentioned Haney, now 30-0 with 15 knockouts. “The judges had a unanimous determination.”

Within the lead-up to Saturday’s bout, Haney predicted he would pound Lomachenko into retirement. He possessed edges in top and attain, and mentioned his improved punching energy would assist him make Lomachenko look common.

Based on CompuBox, Lomachenko landed 124 of 564 punches, in contrast with 110 of 405 for Haney. In novice boxing, the place judges favor output over punching energy, and the place Lomachenko gained two Olympic titles, merely outlanding his opponent would seemingly have earned him the choice.

A lot of Saturday’s bout came about at shut vary, which favored the shorter-armed Lomachenko, who scored repeatedly with lead left palms to Haney’s brow.

“For me it’s a giant, massive query,” Lomachenko, now 17-3 with 11 knockouts, informed reporters at a information convention. “What occurred?”

Professional bouts are scored spherical by spherical, so cumulative punch stats might be deceptive. Lomachenko outlanded Haney in 5 rounds, and Haney outlanded Lomachenko in 5 others. Within the remaining two frames, the fighters landed the identical variety of punches.

Lots of Haney’s connects had been heavy physique blows that blunted Lomachenko’s advances. Often he landed sharp left hooks to restrict Lomachenko’s lateral motion. Haney acknowledged that he fought at Lomachenko’s most well-liked vary, however mentioned he had completed it deliberately.

“I knew I needed to take it to him, and struggle a struggle you guys haven’t seen me struggle earlier than,” Haney mentioned. “Not each struggle goes to be fairly.”

Nonetheless, for folks trying to second-guess the struggle’s judges, Spherical 10 stands out.

Statistically, Lomachenko held a bonus — 11 landed punches to Haney’s 5. He additionally appeared the aggressor, and appeared to stun Haney with considered one of his punches. However Moretti awarded the tenth to Haney.

His scorecard was considered one of a number of causes Lomachenko’s supervisor, Egis Klimas, mentioned he deliberate to file a proper protest on Monday.

“I assure we’re going to kill that call,” Klimas informed reporters.

The opposite two scorecards, which favored Haney by one spherical, had been extra reflective of the struggle’s tight margins and brisk tempo.

In the course of the break between Rounds 7 and eight, Lomachenko’s cornermen urged him to throw extra jabs. He opened Spherical 8 aggressively, and walked into a pointy physique shot from Haney. When Lomachenko lastly landed his personal jab, the capability crowd chanted “Loma.” Earlier than the bell, Haney had given some floor.

Within the last spherical, Haney resumed his two-fisted physique assault. When Lomachenko landed a straight left, Haney answered with two hooks. Simply earlier than the ultimate bell, Haney landed an extended left jab.

Lomachenko left the bout impressed with Haney’s expertise.

To some extent.

“When you’re speaking about Linares, in the event you’re speaking about Lopez — for me, they’re higher than Haney,” Lomachenko mentioned, referring to Jorge Linares and Teofimo Lopez, two of his previous opponents.

Lomachenko’s in-ring future stays hazy. He proved he’s nonetheless an elite performer in a talent-laden light-weight division, however has acknowledged that this bout was seemingly his last likelihood to change into an undisputed champion.

For his half, Haney had hoped Saturday’s bout would erase doubts about his championship credentials, however the consequence solely seems to have emboldened potential opponents.

“Devin’s not on my degree, and I’m going to point out it,” mentioned Stevenson, the previous 130-pound champion.

Haney, who has competed at 135 kilos since his adolescence, mentioned a probationary transfer to the 140-pound tremendous light-weight class. He doesn’t plan to vacate his light-weight titles, although. As a substitute, he teased mega fights towards Stevenson and Davis, who’s nicknamed Tank.

“Me and Tank is a large struggle,” he mentioned. “It’s going to occur, prior to later.”


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