LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MAY 20: Vassily Lomachenko (L) and Devin Haney (R) strike during their Undisputed Lightweight Championship bout at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino on May 20, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Devin Haney fought for his life Saturday and was able to answer the call to retain his undisputed lightweight championship.
Haney won by a close unanimous decision over Vassily Lomachenko, which did not please the crowd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Dave Moretti scored 116-112 for Haney while Tim Cheetham and David Sutherland scored 115-113 for the undefeated Haney.
Yahoo Sports had it 116–112 for Lomachenko.
As ring announcer Mark Schnook read the verdict, the crowd of 14,436 started booing.
It was a fierce fight from the start and it was probably Haney’s body work that won him the fight. He invested early to the body and relentlessly attacked the 35-year-old Lomachenko’s midsection.
Many rounds were close and could have gone either way. Haney never hurt Lomachenko and the fight resulted in no knockdowns. The fight was largely fought at close quarters and Lomachenko seemed to be winning those close quarters battles.
Haney was capable of striking from distance and was able to land the occasional right hand.
It wasn’t the kind of final victory he was looking for, but for a man who hadn’t faced top-level opposition en route to an undisputed championship, his performance confirmed he was on top .
Haney’s biggest opponent before Lomachenko, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-division world champion, was George Kambosos Jr., a mid-level lightweight.
Although Lomachenko is 35 years old and closer to the end of his illustrious career than the beginning, he presented Haney’s biggest challenge and fought as such. Any thoughts that he was about to quit after a weak win over Jemaine Ortiz in October were dashed by the end of the third round, when he hit Haney with a solid left hand.
The fight was fought on mostly equal terms and how it was scored depended on perspective and where it stood.
But no matter how one looks at it, it was a validation of Haney’s status as world champion.