Vasyl Lomachenko can’t afford to start slowly against Devin Haney

By Boxing News - 10/30/2022 - Comments

By Jim Calfa: Vasyl Lomachenko’s slow start against his ex-sparring partner Jamaine Ortiz almost cost him the fight last Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York.

If Loma has serious designs about challenging undisputed lightweight champion Devin Haney next, he will need to come flying out of the gate and fight him the way he did Jamaine in the second half. The size difference between Lomachenkoa and Haney is enormous!

It just looked wrong with Haney standing across from Lomachenko inside the ring last night after Loma’s win over Ortiz.

Lomachenko (17-2, 11 KOs) seemed to realize at the fight’s midpoint that he needed to press the #8 WBC Ortiz (16-1-1, 8 KOs) because he was at serious risk of losing if he continued to battle at a leisurely.

When Lomachenko started fighting with a sense of urgency, Ortiz appeared to have won five of six rounds in the first half of the fight. Given that Ortiz had a strong eighth round, he arguably deserved a draw, if not a victory, against Loma.

If not for Ortiz fading in the second half of the fight, Lomachenko would have come out as the loser.

Lomachenko can’t count on the 23-year-old Haney gassing out like Jamaine did because he’s not shown to have stamina problems in the past. Going into the fight, it was common knowledge that Ortiz had stamina issues, as he had faded in the second half of his fight against Joseph Adorno in 2021 and had to settle for a draw.

Haney doesn’t possess the power or hand speed of Jamaine Ortiz, so Lomachenko won’t need to worry about that problem. What could give Loma problems is Haney’s powerful jab and his light welterweight size.

After Haney rehydrates, he’ll likely be in the 150s, making it tough on Lomachenko because he doesn’t add much weight after weighing in. If Loma is outweighed by 15 to 20 lbs by Haney, it will be a problem for him because he lacks the power to trouble him as Jorge Linares did.

Haney will likely use the same punch & grab strategy that he employed in his last two fights against George Kambosos Jr. Devin will punch Lomachenko and then collapse forward to immediately grab him in a clinch.

From there, Haney will use his size to throw short punches while holding Loma with his other hand. We saw Haney do that all night against Kambosos on October 15th, and there was nothing he could do because he clearly hadn’t planned for that to happen.

Lomachenko was doing nothing in the clinches against Ortiz, and he was getting hit a lot.

There were no adjustments from Lomachenko during the entire fight, which was odd because he has a great trainer in Anatoliy Lomachenko. Common sense would tell you that if Ortiz was using the clinches to stymie Lomachenko’s offense, he should have fought through them the way that fighters are taught in North America.

If your Lomachenko, it would be a good idea for him to put off fighting Haney and instead move back down to 130 or 126, and fight guys his own size.

Haney is clearly a light welterweight in size and looks bigger than 140-pounders like Regis Prograis, Josh Taylor, Jose Zepeda, and Jose Ramirez. Lomachenko shouldn’t be fighting guys that big because that’s just asking for trouble.

You wouldn’t see Haney taking on a junior middleweight like Jermell Charlo because he would be obliterated, but that’s basically the same position Lomachenko will be in fighting him. Loma is a true 130-pounder, whereas Haney looks big enough to compete at 147.

Even moving up to 140 will be difficult for Haney to make weight because he’s huge. The skeletal way that Haney appeared in making weight for his fight against Kambosos on October 15th tells you that he’s not going to look much better at 140.

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