By Vince Dwriter: The pound-for-pound list was initially created to give recognition to fighters in all of the lighter weight classes outside of heavyweight, but now it’s a glorified list that is used to highlight the best ten all-around boxers in the fight game.
The criteria needed to make the list is supposed to be based on a fighter’s skill set, boxing resume, and level of competition, but the pound-for-pound rankings have become too subjective.
Ukrainian boxer Vasiliy Lomachenko is a former world champion in three different weight classes, and he’s currently ranked number six by Ring Magazine and number nine on the ESPN list. Lomachenko is a highly skilled boxer who has achieved a great deal of success inside of twenty fights, but at the present time, he doesn’t have a belt.
Lomachenko secured a spot with Ring Magazine and ESPN, but the undisputed champion who competes in the same weight class as Lomachenko is absent from both lists.
Devin Haney is the undisputed lightweight champion of the world, and for some odd reason, he failed to make the final cut for Ring Magazine and ESPN. The 23-year-old Haney (28-0, 15 KOs) conquered the lightweight division two months ago. Haney’s past four fights include unanimous decision victories over Yuriorkis Gamboa, Jorge Linares, JoJo Diaz, and George Kambosos Jr.
Vasiliy Lomachenko is a pound-for-pound talent, but as of right now, does he deserve to be on the list? In his last four fights, Lomachenko beat Luke Campbell, lost to Teofimo Lopez, collected a TKO victory against Masayoshi Nakatani, and won by way of unanimous decision when he faced Richard Commey.
Haney deserves a spot on both lists, and if they need to manufacture room, they can easily make the adjustment by removing Vasiliy Lomachenko’s name. When you compare both fighters, Haney is undefeated, and Lomachenko holds a career record of (16-2, 11 KOs). Lomachenko lost the second fight of his pro career when he was roughed up by Orlando Salido. He would come back and go on a thirteen-fight win streak before losing his title to Teofimo Lopez in October 2020.
The most noteworthy common opponent the two fighters faced is Jorge Linares. Lomachenko went up against Linares in May 2018. He was knocked down by a Linares right hand in the sixth round, but Lomachenko was able to bounce back and knock Linares out in the tenth. Haney faced Linares in May 2021, and Linares used that same right hand to wobble Haney in the tenth, but Haney was able to recover and cruise to a unanimous decision victory.
Present day Haney is preparing to defend his lightweight crown in a rematch against George Kambosos Jr on October 15, while Vasiliy Lomachenko will make his return to the ring when he squares off against undefeated lightweight prospect Jamaine Ortiz on October 29.
If both Haney and Lomachenko are able to win their individual matchups, fight fans may receive the opportunity to finally see these two phenomenal boxers face each other inside the squared circle in 2023.
At this point in time, the Ring Magazine and ESPN pound-for-pound rankings are severely flawed due to the absence of Devin Haney. The undisputed lightweight champion took to social media to voice his opinion. “The youngest undisputed champion of the 4 belt era….& not on the pound 4 pound list is crazy especially when guys who don’t even hold the ring magazine belt currently made the list gtfoh…..” Haney posted on Twitter.
The rankings compiled by Ring Magazine and ESPN are truly disrespectful because Devin Haney is the undisputed, undefeated lightweight champion, and he was left off, while Vasiliy Lomachenko has two losses on his resume, been inactive since December 2021, but he is still included on both lists. What is even more comical is the fact that Devin Haney has the Ring Magazine belt, but he was unable to crack Ring Magazine’s top ten list.
Vasiliy “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko is an extraordinary boxer, and in the near future he will have the opportunity to earn his position on the pound-for-pound list, but at this juncture, he shouldn’t be included. His name being on both lists raises questions. The biggest question that should be directed towards Ring Magazine and ESPN is how in the world did the undisputed, undefeated lightweight champion Devin “The Dream” Haney not meet the criteria to be ranked in the top ten?