By Sam Volz: Devin Haney was strangely quiet about Vasyl Lomachenko after beating George Kambosos Jr last Saturday night in their rematch in Melbourne, Australia.
It’s becoming clear to many fans that Haney wants no part in fighting Lomachenko because of the threat he poses to him and his career.
When interviewed afterward, Haney (29-0, 15 KOs) didn’t speak Lomachenko’s name, nor did he say anything about him at the post-fight pressure conference.
This suggests to some that Haney isn’t keen about defending against the former three-division world champion. If not, then it will be interesting to see who Haney fights instead.
He can’t trot out another Kambosos-level opponent without it becoming obvious that he’s only intent on facing weaker opposition. Boxing fans want to see Haney start facing elite-level fighters like Lomachenko (16-2, 11 KOs), Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis, and Shakur Stevenson.
“We take on all comers. No matter who it is, we want to fight the best fighters in the world,” said Haney. I believe I’m the best fighter in the world. Whoever is next, bring him on!”
At the post-fight press conference, Haney said he would speak with his team and his promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank, to decide who he’ll be fighting next. Arum has already been quite vocal about wanting Haney to defend against Lomachenko next.
The problem is, Haney hasn’t been fighting the best fighters in the world during his seven-year professional career. The best opposition that Haney has fought are Kambosos, Jorge Linares, and Joseph Diaz. Those aren’t great fighters, though, and neither are the other 26 guys Haney has fought.
It would be bad for Haney to swerve Lomachenko to face a lesser fighter or vacate his four titles to move up to 140. Boxing fans will only give Haney a pass if he fights Tank Davis or Shakur Stevenson.
Fighting Ryan Garcia isn’t good enough because Lomachenko is world’s better than him, and there’s already the perception that he will relieve Haney of his belts if they fight.
You can argue that Lomachenko’s next opponent Jamaine Ortiz is a better fighter than anyone Haney has fought during his career.
Ortiz (16-0-1, 8 KOs) is coming off a 10 round unanimous decision win over former WBO super featherweight champion Jamel Herring. Ortiz arguably would have done a better job beating Kambosos last weekend than Haney did because he’s that good of a fighter.
Lomachenko is fighting ‘The Technician’ Ortiz this month on October 29th on ESPN at Madison Square Garden in New York.
This is Lomachenko’s first fight since defeating Richard Commey last December. He’s been busy in Ukraine in the war and is only now resuming his career.