By: Hans Themistode
Vasiliy Lomachenko is busy putting the final finishing touches on his training camp as he prepares to return to the ring against lightweight contender Masayoshi Nakatani on June 26th, at the Virgin Hotels, in Las Vegas, Nevada. But even as the Ukrainian is fully focused on the task at hand, he still took a bit of time away from his busy schedule to flick on the television and watch some boxing. Just a few weeks ago, Lomachenko found one matchup, in particular, to be very intriguing.
Current WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney took on former multiple-time champion, Jorge Linares. Over the past few months, both Haney and Lomachenko have exchanged verbal jabs with one another over the possibility of a future showdown. Although Lomachenko believes he’ll punish Haney if the two ever did face off, he did give the 22-year-old his props for looking explosive in the ring.
“It was a very good fight,” said Lomachenko during an interview with SnowQueenLA. “He show us his skill. He’s a very smart boxer.
Haney, a Las Vegas resident, used every weapon in his toolbox on that Saturday night to pull off the win. While he looked impressive for the vast majority of their fight, Haney had serious problems going down the stretch.
At the tail end of the 10th, Haney was rocked and visibly staggered to his corner. For the remainder of their contest, Haney refused to let his hands go and held Linares seemingly every second he could. Before getting rattled, Lomachenko couldn’t help but be impressed with the young titleholder but considering how he finished the fight, all the Ukrainian could do was shake his head in disappointment.
“He had a problem in the fight,” continued Lomachenko. “The last three rounds were very hard for him. Nobody knows if Linares catches him one more time. Referee helped him a little bit because Haney always hold the last three rounds. If the referee take away a point from Haney, I think it will be another picture.
“Haney was trying to survive. He was trying to finish the fight somehow because he couldn’t do anything else. All he was able to do was wrestle and hold. That is illegal in boxing. By doing that, he was able to avoid the fight. But then again, before that one shot, he was winning the fight. He won this fight no question but it was not easy.”
In the mind of many, the criticism of Lomachenko would seem a bit unfair. Having shared the ring with Linares roughly three years ago, the pound for pound stalwart knows good and well how difficult he is to overcome. In May of 2018, Lomachenko was caught with a straight right hand from Linares and hit the deck for the first in his career. Despite the knockdown, Lomachenko quickly peeled himself up off the canvas to stop Linares in the 10th.
Lomachenko has no issue with anyone who brings up his hard-fought battle against Linares. All that he asks, is that everyone use the proper context when discussing it.
“It was flush. Yea I lost balance but I get up and feel good and was ready to finish the fight. When I fought Linares, he was in his prime. It was three years ago and I fought Linares with one hand because I had a problem with my shoulder in the second round. Before this knockdown, I didn’t have a problem. In my opinion, there is nothing to compare between Haney vs Linares and my fight vs Linares. It doesn’t mean anything to me because the time we fought Linares was different. He was at the top back then, right now he is an older fighter.”
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