As the week rolls into a highly anticipated Saturday, boxing enthusiasts across the globe await the electrifying showdown between the undisputed lightweight champion, Devin Haney, and the former unified champion, Vasiliy Lomachenko. The match encapsulates a defining crossroads in the careers of both boxers.
For the decorated Lomachenko, this fight is a critical junction. At 35, fighting two weight classes higher than his optimum, he sees an opportunity for redemption and to accomplish his dream of becoming the undisputed champion. Despite holding world titles in three different weight classes and demonstrating a solid track record of seeking and overcoming significant challenges, time is a luxury that Lomachenko can ill-afford.
On the other side of the ring, Haney, the undisputed lightweight champion, finds himself in a fight of validation. Although he commands all four world championships, he did so without defeating any of his top-rated peers. The upcoming clash with Lomachenko presents a golden opportunity for Haney to bolster his position and continue his ascension up the boxing's pound-for-pound rankings.
Lomachenko’s legacy is well cemented in the annals of boxing. He won the WBO featherweight title in his third fight and continued showcasing his brilliant technical skills, winning eight consecutive finishes. Even after an unexpected loss to Teofimo Lopez in his quest to become the undisputed champion, Lomachenko’s spirit remains unbroken.
Haney, on the other hand, found himself in a somewhat confusing situation, winning the WBC interim lightweight title and subsequently being promoted to world champion after Lomachenko accepted the WBC's "franchise champion" designation. This decision stoked Haney's belief that Lomachenko was avoiding a fight with him.
However, after winning all the belts from George Kambosos Jr. in June 2022, Haney now stands as the undisputed champion. The upcoming fight not only provides a stage for Haney to showcase his skills but also an opportunity to settle a personal score with Lomachenko, whom he perceives as having ducked him in the past.
The undercard for this headline event features a vacant title fight, with super flyweights Junto Nakatani and Andrew Moloney vying for the title vacated by Kazuto Ioka. Nakatani, undefeated with a record of 24-0 and 18 knockouts, faces Moloney, who has steadily risen through the ranks since his trilogy with Joshua Franco.
Now, all eyes turn to May 20 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, as Haney and Lomachenko prepare to square off in a fight that will shape their legacies. The odds favor Haney (-280), but as we've learned from boxing history, anything can happen when the bell rings.
Prediction: The physical advantages that Haney brings to this fight — size, reach, and age — coupled with Lomachenko's known tendency to start fights slowly might prove to be decisive factors. But boxing is as unpredictable as it is exciting. While Lomachenko can never be counted out, the odds and styles seem to favor Haney. Our pick? Devin Haney via Unanimous Decision.
Stay tuned for this classic crossroads clash!