Talent, speed, and God-given ability. One is young, the other is aging. Haney first won a title in 2019, the same year Lomachenko lost his WBA, WBO, and IBFbelts. Haney holds all the world titles now. Lomachenko, a former three-division world champion, wants them back.”I’ll be honest with you,” Lomachenko (17-2, 11 KOs) said last month. “It’s a last chance.”for me to be the undisputed world champion. That’s why it’s very important. “Lomachenko fights Haney on May 20th at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. He’s 35–11 years older than Haney. Haney (29-0, 17 KOs) wants to send Lomachenko packing.Permanently. “I don’t like Loma,” said Haney on ESPN’s Blood, Sweat, and Tears a few days ago. “II want to beat him badly. I want to send him into retirement.”Last year, Haney beat George Kambosos, who had upset Teofimo Lopez, in the latter’s backyard. Twice.The fights weren’t close. Haney jabbed Kambosos silly. It reminded me of that song, “Everything you can do, I can do better.”Haney was better.
Kambosos never stopped trying, but in the end, all he had was determination. Haney toyed with the Aussie. He was better by far, and he knew it. Lomachenko used to do the same thing. He won gold medals in 2008 and 2012.Olympic Games. His amateur record was a reported 396-1.In the professional ranks, he was so good that he made guys quit. The most impressive wasNicholas Walters, seven years ago.Nicknamed “The Ax Man, Walters’ ax was dull for six rounds. He quit in round seven.Three more stoppages followed. Lomachenko was rolling—until he fought Jose Linares in 2018.
The fight was a close one. Linares knocked Lomachenko down with a straight right hand inround six. Lomachenko rallied to win.His performances have been uneven since. Lomachenko looked good agains matched Anthony Crolla and so-so versus Luke Campbell. Then came brash Lopez in 2020. The New Yorker backed up his big talk. He won the fight. Lomachenko didn’t punch in the early going. His effort was a strange one. He did better in the later rounds, but it wasn’t enough. Lomachenko says his ego was out of control. He’s a different guy now and feeling more concentrated. He looked like his old self against Masayoshi Nakatani in 2021. He looked plain old against Jamaine Ortiz in 2022
Was he rusty? Lomachenko had gone home to Ukraine to bewith his family. Haney has stayed busy. His confidence, perhaps like Lomachenko’s a few years ago, is exploding. “Loma has never been the underdog,” noted Haney. “This time, he is fighting the champion. The bigger guy, the stronger guy, the faster guy, the younger guy All odds are stacked against him.”And quite the underdog. Almost 3-1. Canelo Alvarez and promoter Eddie Hearn picking Haney. Hearn believes Haney will win “almost every round.”It’s hard to pick against Haney. He’s longer. His jab will keep the smaller Lomachenko at bay and off balance. Lomachenko has to get inside and rough Haney up and make him fight, surprise him, and start fast.
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