Devin Haney edges close fight with Vasiliy Lomachenko to retain undisputed lightweight title
LAS VEGAS — Devin Haney got the battle of his life Saturday and was able to answer the call to retain his undisputed lightweight championship.
Haney gutted out a close unanimous decision victory over Vasiliy Lomachenko that didn’t go over well with the crowd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Dave Moretti scored it 116-112 for Haney, while Tim Cheatham and David Sutherland scored it 115-113 for the undefeated Haney.
Yahoo Sports had it 116-112 for Lomachenko.
When ring announcer Mark Shunook read the verdict, the crowd of 14,436 erupted in a chorus of boos.
It was a pitched battle from the start and it probably was Haney’s body work that won him the fight. He invested in the body early and and consistently attacked the 35-year-old Lomachenko in the midsection.
Many of the rounds were close and could have gone either way. Haney never hurt Lomachenko, and there were no knockdowns in the fight. The fight was fought to a large degree in close quarters and Lomachenko seemed to be winning those battles in tight.
Haney was able to pop his jab from a distance and occasionally was able to come in with a lead right hand.
It wasn’t the kind of definitive victory he may have been seeking, but for a guy who hadn’t fought a high-level of opposition on his way to the undisputed championship, his performance was validation that he belonged at the top.
Haney’s biggest opponent before Lomachenko, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and a three-division world champion was George Kambosos Jr., a mid-level lightweight.
Even though Lomachenko is 35 and closer to the end of his marvelous career than the beginning, he represented Haney’s greatest challenge, and he fought like it. Any thought that he was on the way out after a lackluster win over Jamaine Ortiz in October was out the window by the time the third round ended, when he cracked Haney with a solid left hand.
The fight was fought on mostly even terms and how it was scored was dependent on perspective and where one was located.
But no matter how one saw it, it was a validation of Haney's status as a world champion.