Undefeated and undisputed Lightweight champion, Devin Haney, attempts to secure his place atop the ultra-crowded division tonight (Sat., May 20, 2023) when he battles pound-for-pound legend, Vasiliy Lomachenko, inside Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE coverage of the Haney vs. Lomachenko main event right here. The ESPN+ Prelims begin at 6 p.m. ET, continue both there and on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET, then transition to ESPN+ PPV at 10 p.m. ET. Haney and Lomachenko are expected to make the walk closer to midnight.
The three-fight PPV main card also sees former two-division champion Oscar Valdez look to bounce back from his first-ever defeat against old rival, Adam Lopez, and prospect, Raymond Muratalla, take on the stiffest test of his career in hard-hitting, Jeremia Nakathila.
It’s the main event that’s got the boxing world buzzing, though, so let’s take a look …
Devin “The Dream” Haney
Record: 29-0 (15 KO)
Last Five Fights: George Kambosos Jr. (UD), George Kambosos Jr. (UD), Joseph Diaz Jr. (UD), Jorge Linares (UD), Yuriorkis Gamboa (UD)
Significant Victories (other than those mentioned above): Zaur Abdullaev
Vasiliy “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko
Record: 17-2 (11 KO)
Last Five Fights: Jamaine Ortiz (UD), Richard Commey (UD), Masayoshi Nakatani (TKO-9), Teofimo Lopez (UD Loss), Luke Campbell (UD)
Significant Victories (other than those mentioned above): Anthony Crolla, Jose Pedraza, Jorge Linares, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Nicholas Walters, Gary Russell Jr.
If you want to be a sweaty purist about it, Haney’s style isn’t particularly deep, just executed brilliantly. He’s got a genuinely world-class jab, manages distance well, and knows his way around a clinch to smother opponents who get inside his ideal distance. All things being equal, that should give Lomachenko plenty of hope, as Haney’s unlikely to try and overwhelm him with volume, power, or skullduggery as others have before. Haney is a puzzle rather than a force of nature, and someone as seasoned as Lomachenko has the tools to solve it even as the smaller man.
The complicating factor is that Lomachenko is 35 years old, over a decade older than Haney, and can struggle to produce 12 rounds of consistent output. There were extenuating factors in his loss to Teofimo Lopez (shoulder injury) and shaky performance against Jamaine Ortiz (ring rust), but his style is extremely physically and mentally demanding. Even if he’s correct in his claim that Haney only has a jab, there’s no guarantee that Lomachenko can both figure both it and Haney’s myriad physical advantages out in time to escape an early hole.
To be clear, I firmly believe Lomachenko is a marvelous fighter competing above his natural weight for the sake of chasing glory. I respect the hell out of that. Between Haney’s youth, length, and willingness to smother, I just don’t see Lomachenko finding his groove quickly enough to prevent Haney from building an insurmountable lead. Good late work from Lomachenko fails to carry him over the top on the scorecards.
Prediction: Haney def. Lomachenko via unanimous decision
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