By Jim Calfa: Devin Haney doesn’t think Vasyl Lomachenko will take a loss hard enough to give up and retire from the sport after he loses tonight.
Instead, Haney (29-0, 15 KOs) predicts that Lomachenko (17-2, 11 KOs) will return to the 130-lb division, “dominate,” and become the undisputed champion in that weight class. But regarding their fight this Saturday, May 20th, Haney says Loma has “bit off more than he can chew by facing him.
Haney will defend his four-belt undisputed 135-lb championship in a voluntary defense against the former three-division world champion Lomachenko on ESPN PPV at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Devin could have picked another opponent to defend against, but he wanted Lomachenko because he feels a victory over the future “Hall of Famer” would “validate” him and show the boxing world how good he is.
Haney, if he wins, will find out that the fans won’t view him as the best fighter at lightweight until he beats Shakur Stevenson and Gervonta Davis.
Defeating the 35-year-old Lomachenko, who is undersized for the lightweight division and no longer in his prime, won’t be enough for Haney to be seen as the best.
If Haney moves up to 140 after Saturday’s fight, he’ll leave many unanswered questions, and boxing fans will see him as having fled to avoid fighting Shakur and Tank, who, unlike Loma, are in their primes.
Haney has got to stay at lightweight and fight or at least attempt to, fight Tank Davis and Shakur Stevenson so he can prove he’s the best.
Haney denies calling Lomachenko “old”
Vasyl Lomachenko: “If I were in his place, I would have more pressure. I would have a zero, four belts, and I would be worried because I can lose it,” said Vasyl Lomachenko to Top Rank Boxing. Now, I have two losses, I don’t have a belt, I’m old like he said.”
Devin Haney: “I didn’t say you were old.”
Lomachenko: “Excuse me. Now it looks like my jackpot in boxing, so I’m focused.”
Haney: “I never said you were old.”
Lomachenko: “You never said about my age?”
Haney: “I said I’m the younger guy. I never said you were old. Why would I say you’re old? I want the world to give me my full validation when I win.”
Lomachenko: “Maybe it’s not you.”
Haney: “Oh, I did say that actually on Twitter. I did say that one time on Twitter, but I was just talking s**t. You’re not old.
Loma feels Haney has same experience as him
Lomachenko: “No, I don’t think because he has the experience, big experience too, and has had a lot of fights, and he fought in Australia. I think we’re in the same position.”
Haney: “No, I think he has more experience than me and has been in more championship fights than me. I would say even as an amateur; he has more experience than me.
“He fought guys that were at bigger stages at the time, and he beat them. Once you beat someone, you gain their experience. So, I got to go through him to get his experience. All those fights bred me for this moment.
“Every fight from me fighting in Tijuana in my first professional fight. All those fights led up to me being victorious on May 20th. I’m excited for it.”
Lomachenko: “It will be different because a lot of people will be there and a lot of attention. A different style, different skill, and I’m excited. I hope I will be the best Loma on this night, I hope, and I do what I need to do. I do all that I have. I do what I can to prepare for this fight.”
Haney: “I feel the same. The best Devin Haney comes on Saturday night. I bring everything that I’ve been working on, everything that I’m made of, and all my experience pays off. All my sacrifices up to until I was seven years old, and I bring it all out on Saturday night, and I come out victorious.
Haney predicts Lomachenko will return to 130
“No, I think he’ll go back down to 130,” said Haney when asked if he thinks Lomachenko will retire if he loses. “I feel like he’ll dominate those guys at 130. I feel like they’re not even on his level whatsoever.
“I think he can be undisputed at 130, but I feel like he bit off more than he can chew with fighting me at 135.”
Lomachenko: “I don’t think about the future before our fight. I don’t think. Everything can happen on Saturday night. Of course, if I lose, I start thinking about my future, but right now, I’m only thinking about Devin Haney.”
Haney: “Oh, his ring IQ is what makes him special. He brings IQ to the ring. He’s a thinker. He’s a smart fighter.”
Lomachenko: “Devin Haney’s best performance was against JoJo Diaz. It was the best because JoJo Diaz is a tough guy. He found a way to win this fight. It wasn’t an easy fight for Haney. He proved that he was better than him, and it was a very interesting fight.”
Haney: “I like the [Orlando] Solido fight. He showed grit. Gary Russell too. Solido, he showed grit. He went dirty at times.”
Lomachenko: “Maybe quicker, maybe slower, we’ll see,” Loma said when asked if it will be to his advantage to start faster on Saturday night.
“I take my goal, I take my dream,” said Lomachnko when asked what a win over Haney does for his career. “You do your all in this professional sport and professional boxing because it’s high level to be undisputed world champion.”
Haney: “Once again, it validates me and puts me at the top of the pound-for-pound list. It puts a future Hall of Famer on my checklist, and it proves I’m the best. You got to see. I think Loma is going to come to fight.
“I think he’s going to come to fight dirty, but I got all the answers for him slipping the jab and coming to fight dirty. Devin Haney wins the fight because I’m the better fighter, and it’s my time.”
Lomachenko: “Okay, we’ll see.”