Devin Haney vs. Zaur Abdullaev for interim WBC lightweight title on Sept.13
By Chris Williams: The World Boxing Council has voted to sanction the September 13 fight between Devin Haney and Zaur Abdullaev for their interim WBC lightweight title. Haney-Abdullaev is also a WBC final eliminator. As such, the sanctioning body is basically boxing in WBC lightweight champ Vasiliy Lomachenko and his promoters at Top Rank to force their hand.
With Haney vs. Abdullaev being for the interim WBC belt, as well as a final eliminator, it permits no wiggle room for Lomachenko should he decide to keep the title.
This move is being made to determine a mandatory for newly crowned WBC lightweight champ Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs). There are a lot of boxing fans that want to see Lomachenko defend his WBC title against Haney, but it’s not happening.
Arum NOT interested in making Lomachenko vs. Haney fight
Top Rank boss Bob Arum said last week Lomachenko won’t be fighting Haney this year or in 2020. Arum says Haney needs to prove himself still before he’ll put Lomachenko in with him. If he made that fight now, it would be a “farce”, says Arum. You can argue that Lomachenko’s last two fights against Luke Campbell and Anthony Crolla would fit the description of being farces. Arum still made the fights though. It’s possible that Arum sees something in Haney that makes him believe that he’d be a bad fit for Lomachenko. Haney has got that Mayweather-esque fighting style, and he knows how to beat volume punchers with little power.
WBC let Lomachenko fight Campbell instead of Haney
A lot of boxing fans might not be aware that the WBC allowed Lomachenko to jump in front of Haney to fight Luke Campbell for the vacant WBC lightweight title. it was supposed to be Haney (22-0, 14 KOs) and Campbell fighting for the vacant WBC title, as they were the highest ranked contenders in the WBC’s rankings at lightweight. WBA/WBO champion Lomachenko made an appeal to the WBC to be allowed to fight for the vacant belt despite the fact that he already held two world titles at 135.
The WBC choose to grant Lomachenko’s appeal, and that effectively pushed Haney to the side. It was a controversial move on the WBC’s part in letting Lomachenko fight for the WBC belt instead of Haney. But now it appears the WBC is trying to make things right by letting Haney fight for the interim WBC lightweight title.
God put me in this position for a reason. I am built for it
— Devin Haney (@Realdevinhaney) September 4, 2019
Haney vs. Abdullaev winner likely to be next WBC lightweight champion in 2020
Considering the politics involved, this move by the WBC will likely determine who the next lightweight for their organization. Lomachenko wants to move back down to super featherweight after he unified the lightweight division early next year. He’ll be fighting the winner of the fight between Richard Commey and Teofimo Lopez for the IBF lightweight title. That’s the last remaining title not in Lomachenko’s possession. If Lomachenko chooses to stay at lightweight, the WBC is expected to give him their ‘Franchise tag’ so that he’s not required to make title defenses of their belt. That means that Lomachenko can’t be ordered to defend against the winner of the Haney vs. Abdullaev fight.
Loma doesn’t want to stay around and get caught up defending 4 titles. So, he’ll be moving down to 130 soon to face his promoter Bob Arum’s fighters. Lomacheno wants to go after the fighters in that weight class also signed with Top Rank. The CEO of Top Rank Arum has already said he wants to match Lomachenko against his 130-lb fighters: Miguel Berchelt, Jamel Herring and Oscar Valdez. Those are good fights, but not huge ones like Lomachenko vs. Gervonta Davis would be.
Lomachenko is going in the wrong direction to get the Tank Davis fight unfortunately. Davis is moving up in weight to 135, while Lomachenko is moving down to 130. It’s obviously a baffling move on Lomachenko’s part, but it’s an understandable one. He probably won’t get the Davis fight even if he stays at lightweight, and he doesn’t want to move up to 140.
Lomachenko lacks the size to fight at 140
With the way Lomachenko struggled against Luke Campbell, he would be easy prey for the talented light welterweights. Weak volume punchers like Lomachenko are a dime a dozen at 140. He wouldn’t stand a chance against the likes of Regis Prograis and Josh Taylor. Even if Lomachenko beat WBA/WBO 140-lb champion Jose Ramirez, he wouldn’t be facing the true talents in that weight class. Prograis and Taylor are considered the best at 140.
If Lomachenko moved up to 140, he would have to compete with the big dogs in that weight class. It wouldn’t be enough for Lomachenko to beat Ramirez, and try and hold down the WBC and WBO belts. The fans would insist that Lomachenko fight the winner of the Prograis vs. Taylor fight, and that would be a very a hard fight for him. Even Ramirez would be difficult fight for Lomachenko, because of his size, power and volume punching. Lomachenko might beat Ramirez, but he would know that he’d been in a fight. The punishment that Lomachenko would take against Ramirez would likely be the worst of his career.
WBC’s statement on Haney vs. Abdullaev fight
“The WBC Board of Governors has voted unanimously to officially sanction the fight between Devin Haney and Zaur Abdullaev for the WBC interim lightweight championship.The WBC announced back on May 7, a series of fights in the lightweight division when Mikey Garcia vacated the WBC lightweight championship. Vasiliy Lomachenko fought Luke Campbell and conquered the WBC vacant lightweight world championship in a spectacular fight in London this past Saturday August 31.
The fight between Devin Haney and Zaur Abdullaev had been scheduled as a final eliminator bout for the mandatory contender of the division. The WBC received a request to accept this fight to be contested for the WBC interim championship and consistent with a conversation with Top Rank and our proud champion Vasiliy Lomachenko with regards to the lightweight division and the so many important projects, the WBC Board of governors has approved the interim championship on this division.”