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“Devin Haney is going to duck Lomachenko” – says Paulie Malignaggi

Image: "Devin Haney is going to duck Lomachenko" - says Paulie Malignaggi

By Sam Volz: Devin Haney will soon be vacating his undisputed lightweight title to avoid losing to Vasyl Lomachenko, according to Paulie Malignaggi.

The fact that Haney, 23, failed to mention Lomachenko during the post-fight interview or at the press conference suggests that he will not fight Loma. That much is clear. Haney will give up the belts and move up to 140 rather than getting beaten by Lomachenko.

Devin’s first two fights of his three-fight contract with Top Rank were easy ones against George Kambosos Jr, a badly flawed fighter that got lucky fighting an injured & ill Teofimo Lopez.

However, now that Top Rank wants Haney to fight an elite guy in Lomachenko, he will quickly vacate his four titles and flee from the 135-lb division.

In terms of the sporting sense, it’s kind of pathetic that Haney would give up his titles, but he would be saving his career by doing so because Lomachenko is a fighter on another level than him.

Even at 34, Loma is in another galaxy in the universe than Haney, and he obviously knows it.

Haney (29-0, 15 KOs) is in the third fight of his three-fight contract with Top Rank, and Bob Arum wants him to defend against #1 ranked WBC contender Vasyl Lomachenko, as that would be passing of the titles to Loma to set up a bigger undisputed match with Shakur Stevenson.

Malignaggi says Haney doesn’t want to take that fight with Lomachenko because he knows he’ll lose. Haney would rather vacate his lightweight titles and move up to 140 as the unbeaten former four-belt champion instead of a fighter coming off a loss to Lomachenko.

“I said from the start that Haney isn’t going to want to fight Lomachenko. He’s going to beat Kambosos because those are easy fights. Then he’s going to vacate those titles and move up to 140 pounds,” said Paulie Malignaggi to Paulie TV, predicting that Devin Haney will vacate his undisputed lightweight championship to avoid losing them to Vasyl Lomachenko.

“If he [Haney] stays at 135, the plans for Top Rank was going to be Haney and Lomachenko to fight and Lomachenko to take the undisputed title from Haney and hold it for a defense or two until Shakur Stevenson was ready to move in and become the next generation’s star as he would take out the fading star Lomachenko by that point.

“That would have been a pay-per-view blockbuster. That’s the way Top Rank exits one superstar and creates the next superstar, and that’s what would have happened. I feel that Haney is going to avoid Lomachenko; I’ve said that from the start.

“Look what happened in the last week. Bob Arum had announced that the winner of the Haney fight [against Kambosos] and Lomachenko fight would fight each other. That’s what’s going to happen when Lomachenko wins on October 29th [against Jamaine Ortiz].

“So what happens? I’ve predicted from the start Haney wouldn’t fight Lomachenko. I predicted that he would vacate his titles because it’s better off business-wise for him to leave those titles and remain undefeated and move up as a vacated undisputed champion at lightweight and move to 140 lbs rather than lose all the belts and move up to 140 lbs with a loss on his record.

“No matter what, he’s going to duck Lomachenko just as I said because it’s never convenient to fight Vasyl Lomachenko. Lomachenko has fought them all and continues to fight top guys and searches for the most difficult fights. He’s not picking & choosing anybody.

“What happens if Haney refuses to fight Lomachenko? I’d like to see Haney against Teofimo Lopez. It’s his last fight on the Top Rank contract. Now you have to make a 140-lb fight, and Top Rank would probably make it against one of the 140-pounders, obviously.

“If Haney re-signs and extends, Top Rank will probably get him a more winnable fight.

“If Haney doesn’t want to re-sign with Top Rank, and this is the last fight on his contract, I think Top Rank will try and get him beat in his last fight with them because that’s how promoters do, unfortunately. It’s a scumbag business.

“If you’re not going to stay with them, they try and get you beat. I would probably pick [Teofimo] Lopez [to beat Haney]. The way that Lopez came back and looked and seemed to be his old self, I would pick Lopez to beat Haney. It’s a fight that I would like to see, to be honest. It’s a good fight.

I don’t think Lomachenko and Haney is a close fight. I think Lomachenko dominates Haney. There are too many variables. Lomachenko has in his arsenal.

“Yes, Haney is bigger, but there are a lot of variations that Lomachenko attacks you. I just haven’t seen enough variations and variables in Haney’s style to deal with those kinds of angle changes and those kinds of combinations and stuff like that.

“I believe Haney knows that too, which is why I don’t believe he’s actually going to fight Lomachenko. What happens to the lightweight titles if Haney moves up and they become vacated? I think Lomachenko probably wins one or two of them.

“I think Shakur Stevenson wins one or two of them as he’s now a lightweight, and I think we’ll still get that pay-per-view for the undisputed lightweight title eventually because Lomachenko and Stevenson where they’ll both come in as champions.

“I think that’s where Shakur will supplant Lomachenko and become the new superstar for the new generation with a pay-per-view win over Lomachenko.

“Top Rank will do it at the right moment when Lomachenko is just aged enough to be fading out, and Shakur is entering the prime of his prime. He’s already super good. You want to make that fight when Shakur is entering the prime of his prime, which I think is very close.

“Haney has all the titles. Going forward, Top Rank has a three-fight deal with Haney. Haney is in a situation where he doesn’t have to sign long-term contracts because he was well off going into boxing, and for that reason, he never needed to sign long-term contracts with anybody.

“It allowed him to shift and maneuver. That’s a major advantage when you never have to align yourself with anybody because he was in a Matchroom deal with a verbal agreement, and he was able to ditch Matchroom and go to Top Rank for a three-fight deal in exchange for a shot at the lightweight title against Kambosos.

“He would have never been allowed to do that had he been forced into a long-term contract with Matchroom. Having been well off going in, that helped him. That does make a big difference business-wise when you’re able to not only have that savvy business mind but also be in a financial position to make those savvy business moves.

“He was able to ditch Matchroom and sign a three-fight deal with Top Rank, which was going to be two fights. Beating Kambosos and winning the rematch with Kambosos.

“The third fight was always going to determine whether Top Rank was going to hold the belts or not because Top Rank is not in the business of letting you win belts against their guys and then letting you leave with their belts. So the third fight was always going to be against Lomachenko,” said Malignaggi.

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