By: Hans Themistode
The names associated with this weekend’s contest has everyone around the boxing world excited. So much so, that many observers have a difficult time pinpointing the lie even when its staring directly at them.
Vasiliy Lomachenko vs Teofimo Lopez is currently billed as one of the biggest fights in the sport of boxing. Something many would agree with. It’s also viewed as a grudge match. With all of the derogatory words and threatening messages that have been hurled at one another, there’s no doubt that both men will be throwing shots with a little something extra behind it.
Lastly, and most importantly, their matchup has been promoted as an undisputed lightweight contest. Something that Devin Haney and his trainer Mickey Bey are incredulous too.
“It’s a real big fight but it’s definitely not an undisputed fight,” said Bey to Boxinginsider.com during a recent interview. “Loma is an excellent fighter but Devin Haney is the WBC champion.”
The status of Haney’s title run has become a confusing one. In September of 2019, the Las Vegas resident dished out a one sided beating to then, undefeated contender Zaur Abdullaev. The win resulted in the interim WBC lightweight title and a supposed first class ticket to a showdown with Lomachenko who picked up the full title just one month prior against Luke Campbell.
Haney however, would have his dreams both realized and crushed soon after.
President of the World Boxing Council (WBC) Mauricio Sulaiman elevated Lomachenko’s status from full titlist to franchise champion. That in turn nixed any possible Loma vs Haney matchups, but it did push the 21 year old to full champion status.
Still, even with Haney branded as a world titleholder, Sulaiman made his words clear when discussing his championship run.
“Lomachenko is the WBC lightweight champion,” said Sulaiman during a recent conference call.
Bitterness and resentment would soon follow anyone who is being slighted. But for Bey, the always calm former belt holder understood exactly where Sulaiman was coming from. All he’s asking is that the winner of this weekend’s contest steps up to the plate.
“I don’t think they should be saying that Lomachenko is the WBC lightweight champion. But we know it’s business and they have to sell the fight. We don’t take it personal. I think the winner should step up and face the real WBC champion. The road to undisputed runs through Devin Haney.”
In terms of who travels down said road after Saturday night, Bey believes that although Lopez is a helluva fighter, experience will be the difference.
“If Lopez can fight the right game plan and stick to it then he has a chance. But it’s different from thinking you can do something to a guy like Lomachenko and going in there and actually doing it. Lopez has to hurt him because I don’t see him out boxing Lomachenko. I just don’t think he has the experience to beat a Lomachenko.”