Who will be the King of the 135-lb division in 2022?
By Allan Fox: New year, the lightweight division could have a King of the crowned when the 6 top fighters are involved in massive fights that will help clear the picture about who’s #1.
By the end of 2022, we should have a good idea of who the top guy is in the weight class as long as they fight each other.
The top lightweights are as follows:
- Vasily Lomachenko
- Devin Haney
- Gervonta Davis
- Ryan Garcia
- Isaac ‘Pitbull’ Cruz
- George Kambosos Jr
If the former three-division world champion Lomachneko (16-2, 11 KOs) was given access to fighting the other top lightweights in this six-fighter list, there’s an excellent chance that he would come out as the last man standing.
Unfortunately for Lomachenko, he’s likely to be boxed out by the other promoters, who won’t let him compete with their fighters for fear of them getting beaten by the talented two-time Olympic gold medalist.
Who do you think will be crowned king of the lightweight division in 2022? 👑
— ESPN Ringside (@ESPNRingside) December 21, 2021
There’s a perfect chance that 2022 will go by without Lomachenko getting a chance to fight for a world title against four-belt champion George Kambosos Jr., WBC belt-holder Devin Haney, or WBA secondary champion Gervonta Davis.
Lomachenko is too good, and the promoters for the other five would-be Kings won’t want the Ukrainian talent to wreck their money-making fighters. Hence, Lomachenko will likely not get a chance to fight for a world title next year.
I mean, this writer would be shocked if Lomachenko gets a chance to fight any of the other fighters on the six-man list.
What we’ve seen from Ryan Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) is a fighter with too many flaws in his game for him to be the #1 guy at lightweight.
If he goes ahead with his plans to fight Isaac ‘Pitbull’ Cruz next, he’ll lose to the tough Mexican fighter, and his career will take a significant hit.
One gets the sense with Ryan that he’s not really in love with the sport. Already at 23, Ryan has a net worth estimated at $10 million, and with that kind of money, it’s likely difficult for him to concentrate on boxing the way other fighters would if they were his age.
Although many other fighters have big money at a similar age in the past, those guys had long amateur careers that helped instill discipline in them.
Ryan didn’t have that, and he’s quickly made a mountain of money in the pro ranks without beating anyone of note.
It’s unlikely that Ryan will find the dedication needed to get the most out of his potential, and his career would soon deteriorate once he loses to Pitbull.
George Kambosos Jr
Of the six fighters, George Kambosos Jr. (20-0, 10 KOs) might be the weakest link and the least likely to be crowned the King of the lightweight division. Kambosos is incredibly confident, but his talent doesn’t match his ego. We’re going to see how limited he is when he defends his four belts in his next fight in early 2022, be it against Devin Haney, Vasily Lomachenko, or Ryan Garcia.
I guess Kambosos will choose Haney because he will have a lot of money thrown at him by Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn, and Devin is someone he can compete with but not beat.
Although he defeated the perceived top guy in Teofimo Lopez last November, the victory was a hallowed one because Teo was injured, weakened from weight loss, and directionless without a quality trainer in his corner.
The instructions that Teofimo was getting from his trainer/father, Teo Sr., were useless and not what he needed to help him deal with his injury & stamina problems that slowed him down.
Kambosos’ true talent is what we saw from him in his narrow victories over old-timers Mickey Bey and Lee Selby.
That’s Kambosos’ actual level, and if he’d been in the ring with a healthy Teofimo or ANY of the other five lightweights in this list, he would have lost badly.
What we’ve seen from WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney (27-0, 15 KOs) in his last two fights against Joseph ‘Jojo’ Diaz Jr. and Jorge Linares is a fighter that lacks the chin, power, and the necessary talent to be the #1 guy at 135.
An additional problem that has become apparent is Haney’s boring style, which makes it difficult to pick him as the top guy because he’s a terrible spoiler.
In Haney’s fight against Linares, he got away with running out the clock with his nonstop clinching once he started falling apart from the power shots from the Tokyo, Japan-based Linares.
Isaac ‘Pitbull’ Cruz
The tough Mexican slugger Isaac ‘Pitbull’ Cruz (22-2-1, 15 KOs) is coming off a fine effort in losing a close 12 round decision against Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis on December 5th.
The 5’4″ Cruz might be too short for him to be the #1 guy at 135, and he would probably be better off moving down to 130, where his size wouldn’t be as much of a disadvantage for him.
With that said, this writer believes Cruz beats Ryan Garcia, George Kambosos Jr, and Devin Haney. Those are fighters that won’t be able to keep Pitbull Cruz off, and they’ll get taken apart by him slowly. Vasily Lomachenko and Tank Davis are too good for Cruz at this point.
What may make it difficult to identify the #1 fighter is how the promoters are isolating some of the fighters.
For example, Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis is with Mayweather Promotions, and they’ve made it clear that they’re going got keep him fighting in-house guys with their company and PBC.
The real tragedy with Tank is he’s likely NEVER going to realize his potential and become the start that he could have due to Mayweather Promotions isolating him with their focus on keeping him in-house against less than stellar opposition.
If that type of match-making for the unbeaten WBA ”regular’ champion Tank (26-0, 24 KOs) in 2022, you have to remove him from the list because he won’t be allowed to fight the other champions.
Before Tank’s last fight against Isaac ‘Pitbull’ Cruz, many boxing fans believed he was the uncrowned King of the lightweight division.
But after his performance against Cruz and his flawed effort against the ring worn Leo Santa Cruz, it’s evident that Tank is not the fighter that some had initially been thought he was
At this point, Tank is more a #3 or #4 guy, and maybe not even that, but we’ll never know because he won’t be allowed to compete against other fighters, not with Mayweather Promotions or PBC. What a waste of potential.
- Tank Davis loses self-control, shoves Rolly Romero off stage at weigh-in
- Gervonta Davis 133.75 vs. Rolly Romero 134.25 – Weigh-in results
- Video Preview: George Kambosos Jr vs Devin Haney
- Bill Haney: “Kambosos fights off ego”