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Devin Haney-Vasyl Lomachenko: Who Wins The Chess Match?

Posted on 05/18/2023

By: Sean Crose

This one is for the purists. If you appreciate the fine nuanced skill that goes into professional boxing, Saturday’s undisputed lightweight title fight between defending champion Devin Haney and former world titlist Vasyl Lomachenko is right up your alley. Neither of these men are known as knockout artists, but their in-ring styles are dazzling none the less. Haney is younger and naturally bigger than Lomachenko, which understandably makes him the modest favorite walking in. There’s no writing off Lomachenko, though. The man has just looked too stellar in the ring too many times.

Image: Top Rank

So, who wins the chess match on Saturday? Let’s start with the challenger. Lomachenko is more than just a former champion. He was high – very high – on pound for pound lists for a while. It was even said he might be the greatest ever. That proved to be hyperbole, but there’s no denying Lomachenko has overwhelmed opponent after opponent. To be sure, the lauded Ukrainian led numerous opponents to quit on their stools. He’s regularly faced top competition, as well, and has only lost twice – both times by the slimmest of margins.

As for Haney, the 24 year old has amazing footwork and can maintain range better than anyone. He’s never fought anyone of Lomachenko’s caliber, but Haney’s proven successful in fight after fight. He’s also faced some high level competition in his own right. George Kambosos, Jorge Linares, Joseph Diaz and Yuriorkis Gamboa have all taken L’s from Haney. And not a one of them were slouches.

So, how’s this Saturday’s bout going to play out? Honestly, I have no idea. Both these guys are too good for me to have a degree of confidence in choosing one over another. With that being said, I think Haney has the better chance of winning over the two. His youth, size and overall ability to keep distance should give Lomachenko fits. Lomachenko, however, has well earned his stellar reputation. If anyone can get in on Haney, it’s him. And if he’s able to get inside with any regularity, all bets are off. The bottom line: if Haney can keep Loma off him, he wins.

One quick prediction: Lomachenko will go down. Does that mean I think Haney’s going to win by knockout? No. I see Lomachenko beating the count handily. Still, I see one of those one punch body shot specials Haney sometimes throws catching the shorter man off guard. And that can make a big difference on the cards when you’re talking about a close fight, as this weekend’s will likely to be.

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