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Devin Haney Should Be Favored vs. Vasiliy Lomachenko

Image: Devin Haney Should Be Favored vs. Vasiliy Lomachenko

By Vince Dwriter: When reports were published in July in regards to a particular lightweight making his return to the squared circle, the boxing community began to anticipate a clash between former three-division world champion Vasiliy Lomachenko (17-2, 11 KOs) and current undisputed undefeated lightweight champion Devin “The Dream” Haney.

Before the undisputed lightweight champ could think about Vasiliy Lomachenko, he had to stay focused on some unfinished business.

Devin Haney defeated George Kambosos Jr in June 2022 to win the undisputed lightweight crown, and he returned to Melbourne, Australia four months later to grant Kambosos his contracted rematch.

During the second fight, Haney put his boxing skills on display, and once again he thoroughly outclassed Kambosos, as he cruised to a unanimous decision victory. Two weeks after the undisputed lightweight champion successfully took care of his obligation, Vasiliy Lomachenko faced the task of getting passed an opponent who was categorized as a tune-up fight.

While the majority of the boxing public expected Jamaine Ortiz to play the role of a tune-up type of opponent, Ortiz entered the ring determined to prove that he was a legitimate lightweight contender.

He got off to a fast start, as he used his athleticism to dictate the pace of the early rounds, but the 34-year-old Lomachenko was able to rally back, and secure a unanimous decision victory.

Since both Haney and Lomachenko were able to make it out of their previous bouts unscathed, it seems like 2023 will be the time for them to finally meet inside of the squared circle. Some members of the boxing community believe a bout between Devin Haney and Vasiliy Lomachenko is a “50-50” fight, but that assessment could be slightly inaccurate.

Devin Haney holds the upper hand in regards to size, reach, and youth, therefore an argument could be made as it relates to those factors being valid reasons why the undisputed champ should be the favorite. However, despite the fact that Haney has those advantages, the real reason why this potential matchup is a “60-40” fight in favor of Haney is due to Lomachenko’s bad habit.

Vasiliy Lomachenko is one of the most talented boxers in the fight game, but in recent bouts he has consistently displayed a pattern of getting off to a slow start. Lomachenko has routinely given away the early rounds in order to download information, but using that specific tactic against Haney could equate to Lomachenko suffering the third loss of his professional career.

In his Oct. 29 bout against Jamaine Ortiz, most of the early rounds were won by Ortiz, but Lomachenko came storming back in the second half of the fight. By the time the fight reached the 10th round, Ortiz was gassed out, as Lomachenko was able to sweep the championship rounds and claim the unanimous decision victory.

If Lomachenko was to fall behind early against Haney, their is a good chance that Lomachenko would make a rally, but the rally would probably fall short because Haney has the stamina, the boxing skills, and the experience needed to win some of the later rounds, in rout to sealing the victory.

Devin Haney’s size and reach advantages will be extremely problematic early on for Vasiliy Lomachenko. The key to the outcome of this potential fight is wrapped around the question of how many rounds will Lomachenko lose before properly collecting the data and figuring out the required range and distance needed for him to achieve success.

The future undisputed championship bout between 24-year-old Devin Haney and Vasiliy Lomachenko is very intriguing, but due to the concept of simple mathematics, it’s not a “50/50” fight. Haney should be favored to win because he’s going to start the fight by isolating Lomachenko’s offense with his jab, controlling the distance, and boxing from the outside. This strategy will lead to Devin Haney banking the majority of the rounds during the first half of the fight.

Lomachenko will download the data, make the necessary adjustments and rally back, but with Haney’s skill set, stamina, and boxing IQ, he’ll be able to limit the rally and close the show during the last quarter of the fight. If Haney is able to execute and make the necessary adjustments during the last quarter, he should be able to successfully defend his crown and earn a unanimous decision victory.

Some individuals may think making Haney the favorite sounds ludicrous, but if you base the theory on the history and the numbers, then it makes perfect sense. When computing the odds of a fight based on percentages, you must take into account all of the variables, and Lomachenko’s slow starts should be part of the equation.

For example, it’s a very strong possibility that Lomachenko will get off to his usual slow start and drop at least the first three rounds trying to download the information. With a boxer as skilled as Haney, wouldn’t it be safe to say that if Haney starts the bout with a 3-point lead, he has a 60% chance of winning the fight?

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