Home Boxing News Psychological edge goes to Vasiliy Lomachenko, says former world champion

Psychological edge goes to Vasiliy Lomachenko, says former world champion

Vasyl Lomachenko
Photo Credit : Chris Farina - Top Rank

Undisputed lightweight champion Devin ‘The Dream’ Haney 29-0 (15) might be a short-priced favourite ahead of his bout against Vasiliy Lomachenko 17-2 (11) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada tomorrow night, but not everyone is convinced he has the measure of the former three-division world champion.

The 24-year-old Haney is coming off back-to-back victories over Australia’s George ‘Ferocious’ Kambosos Jr 20-2 (10) last year, while Lomachenko has strung together three straight wins since losing his world titles to Teofimo Lopez 18-1 (13) in October 2020.

But retired former world champion turned pundit Paulie Malignaggi remains unconvinced that Haney will win the bout.

“I pick Lomachenko, I haven’t seen enough of Haney yet against that elite level competition,” Malignaggi told Betway.

“He’s got talent but in order to see how much that talent can actually blossom, you need to see it tested against a higher level of fighter in order to see what else is there. We know the talent is there.

“We imagine there’s more behind what we’re seeing because he is so athletic and gifted in so many ways. But we haven’t seen him at that higher level to understand if there’s any more to him, or if it’s just an athletic talent that’s just an illusion.

“The reason I pick Lomachenko is because I think Haney has had the opportunities to have these kinds of opponents, but he’s chosen to fight the weaker opponents instead.

“There were guys like Richard Commey hanging around in that area. There were guys like Jermaine Ortiz hanging around in that area. But Haney, instead, chose to fight shot fighters like [Jorge] Linares and [Yuriorkis] Gamboa to build up his resume against names who were, let’s face it, totally shot.

“Linares got knocked out by Pablo Cano in 2017 in one round. That just goes to show you the level of shot that Linares was when Haney fought him. He dominated but still got into trouble late in the fight. And Gamboa is more shot than him. It leaves some curiosity.

“Whereas Lomachaenko picks to fight these guys. And he’s still choosing to fight a higher level of opposition. Even in coming back from injury, coming back from the devastation of war in his country, coming back from his longest lay off out of the gym in his career, he’s still choosing tougher opponents.

“When I look at the level of opposition and the enthusiasm Lomachenko has to fight the high level of opposition. And the lack of enthusiasm which I’ve seen Haney try not to fight the highest level of opposition. It leads me to question Haney.

“It makes you start to wonder if Haney believes in himself as much as he says he does. So that’s why I end up picking Lomachenko on points. Lomachenko has beaten guys like this that he knows he’s the best fighter Haney’s ever fought, while he knows Haney is nowhere near the best fighter that he’s ever fought, and I think that that also gives you a little bit of a psychological edge.”