Haney beats Lomachencko, retains lightweight title

LAS VEGAS — Undisputed lightweight champion Devin Haney retained his titles Saturday, May 20, 2023 (Sunday PH time), at the MGM Grand Garden, but not without a controversial decision that former three-division champion Vasiliy Lomachenko’s camp plans on appealing.

Lomachenko dominated the latter rounds and outpunched Haney, 124-110.

But much to the dismay of the 14,436 fans in attendance, all three judges had Haney winning. Tim Cheatham and David Sutherland scored the fight 115-113, while Dave Moretti had it 116-112.

Lomachenko’s manager said they plan to appeal the decision.

“The biggest robbery in the daylight. Haney’s team got Christmas in the Summer,” Egis Klimas said. “We’re going to appeal this decision. Those judges, they do not understand how the boxers are working hard. I guarantee we’re not going to let that go. We want to show there has to be justice.”

Haney improved to 30-0. Lomachenko, 35, dropped to 17-3.

Both fighters showed aggressiveness through the first half of the fight, Haney using his length and strength by working off his back foot, while Lomachenko continued to pepper the champion with a jackhammer left hand to the head.

But as the fight wore on, it was the elder statesman punishing 24-year-old Haney, stunning him with combinations, including a powerful ninth round, when the champion started showing his fatigue.

All three judges scored a relatively close 12th round that could have gone either way in favor of Haney, 10-9. A decision the other way would have made the fight a draw on two judges’ scorecards.

Moretti was opposite his colleagues twice in the latter rounds, giving Haney the eighth and 10th rounds, despite Lomachenko landing several headshots in the eighth, and delivering his most lethal blow in the 10th.

Haney was nothing short of complimentary of his challenger.

“Lomachenko is a future Hall of Famer,” Haney said. “It was a blessing. He was my toughest opponent. He was very crafty. He turns it up in the championship rounds. (This fight) put me in the history books forever.”

Now Haney has a decision to make, as he will be a free agent when he wakes up Sunday morning, May 21, as his three-fight deal with Top Rank and Lou DiBella is now expired.

Haney certainly has plenty of options, as he could stay at 135 pounds for one final fight, where a highly anticipated match awaits against fellow pound-for-pound contender Shakur Stevenson, who was in attendance Saturday.

Stevenson disagreed with the result.

“Lomachenko should be undisputed champion — he won that fight,” Stevenson said.

But if Haney is ready to step in the ring with another undefeated fighter, Stevenson said, “Let’s make it happen. I can’t wait.” (AP)