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Devin Haney vs. Vasyl Lomachenko – preview for tonight

Image: Devin Haney vs. Vasyl Lomachenko - preview for tonight

By Brian Webber: Devin Haney appeared to rattle the normally calm demeanor of former multi-division world champion Vasyl Lomachenko by giving him a hard enough push to mimic a head-on car crash at the weigh-in on Friday.

Tonight, Haney (29-0, 15 KOs) will look to take advantage of Lomachenko’s ruffled feathers when they meet in the main event on EESPN PPV in a 10:00 p.m. ET event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

For Lomachenko to win tonight, he must get inside, and fight through the avalanche of tie-ups that spoiling, fight-slowing Haney will initiate. Loma doesn’t possess the size to fight the much taller, longer Haney from the outside, so it’s crucial that he gets in close and can find a way to work while being held.

Haney will put up his WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO, and The Ring lightweight titles tonight against Lomachenko.

That hardware is essential for Haney to hold onto, as they’re the key to getting lucrative fights against Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis and Shakur Stevenson.

Without those belts, Haney has no way of enticing Tank Davis and Shakur Stevenson into fighting him. Haney isn’t a star yet and doesn’t have a large social media following like Ryan Garcia to get fights based on his popularity.

Loma can’t let Haney clinch all night

Lomachenko is coming off of a disappointing performance against his ex-sparring partner Jamaine Ortiz in a fight he came close to losing. If not for Jamaine gassing late, the 35-year-old Lomachenko would have suffered his third career defeat, and he wouldn’t have been getting this title shot against Haney tonight.

For his part, Haney dominated former unified lightweight champion Georg Kambosos Jr last year, beating him twice. Still, the performances weren’t pleasant to watch because of the spoiling tactics that Haney used to win.

Haney utilized excessive holding, illegal stiff arms, and movement to make fight with Kambosos ugly to watch.

During clinches, Haney pulled a sneaky move where he relaxed, and then just before the two would be separated, h would hammer the unsuspecting Kambosos with clubbing shots to the head.

It made Haney look sneaky. Interestingly, Kambosos never caught on to this tactic, and Haney took advantage of this the entire night with his numerous clinches.

Nonstop clinching has become too embedded into Haney’s game for him to stop using that tactic for tonight’s contest with Lomachenko. Haney relies on his holding as his #1 defensive strategy to prevent his opponents from hitting him.

Haney’s #2 defensive strategy is the straight arm he uses, which is supposed to be illegal, but the low-quality referees that permeate the sport in this era of boxing don’t police this tactic.

Haney’s push was premeditated

“I was thinking, ‘Why did he do it? What’s the point?’  I don’t understand,” said Keyshawn Davis to Fight Hub TV when asked about his reaction to Devin Haney pushing Vayl Lomachenko at the weigh-in.

“It’s a push. We fighters are men,” said Keyshawn when asked about the risk that Haney did of possibly injuring Lomachenko with the way his head was whiplashed by the unexpected shove.

“Lomachenko came back after the situation, and they said, ‘Lomachenko, what did you think about the push?’ and he said, ‘No power.’ No, not at all [Loma is not intimidated by being shoved by Haney].

“That was bad. I think that was in his mind even before it came out,”  said heavyweight prospect Richard Torrez about his belief that Haney’s push was premeditated.

“I think he thought, ‘I’m going to go up there, and I’m going to push. No matter what happens, I’m going to go out there and push because Lomachenko just came out there like this,” said Torrez, imitating the calm, emotionless demeanor of Lomachenko during the face-off with Haney.

Battle of game plans for Haney vs. Lomachenko

“I think it’s a battle of game plans. I think whoever has the better game plan, it’s going to take their toll,” said Torrez. “People are going to say this wasn’t an even fight, but the thing is, I don’t know who is going to have that better game plan.

“Whoever comes across with the better mentality and better coaching behind it, I think they’re going to take the cake. 300 amateur fights, he has a lot of cards,” said Torrez about Lomachenko.

“That means things are getting heated up. Once the bell rings, they’re both going to work. Loma is mature, and he’s seen a lot. Haney is younger. Loma is like, ‘I’ll see you tomorrow,'” said trainer Robert Garcia to Fight Hub TV, talking about Devin Haney pushing Vasyl Lomachenko at the weigh-in on Friday.

“The underdog, the smaller guy, but I think that benefits him because he’s so good with his footwork,” said Robert about the two-time Olympic gold medalist Lomachenko, smaller than Haney.

“He fights on the inside and can give Devin a lot of trouble. If you ask myself, I still pick Devin to win by decision, but honestly, I think it’s close to a 50-50 fight because Loma is good with his footwork, good speed, and good combinations, and Devin has never really been hit with punches he doesn’t see.

“He will be hit with punches he doesn’t see with Loma, so it will be pretty interesting. I can’t wait to see the fight. It’s hard for me to pick a winner, but I lean towards Devin because he’s younger, fresher, and has the reach advantage, but I’m telling you, if Loma prepared well for this fight, he could pull off a surprise.

“Loma is a professional fighter, and I’m sure he and his dad did the right training camp and right game plan. I’m pretty sure they have a good game plan, and they will go out and do their best.

“Haney is more about building the fight, making sure fans get into the fight and tune in. They’re both doing their job, but Loma is a little more mature and experienced. He’s a professional; they’re both professionals and will put up a great fight,” said Robert.

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