On Saturday, May 20, at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Devin Haney takes his next step towards boxing superstardom when he defends his status as undisputed, unified, 4-belt world lightweight champ against former 3-division world champ Vasiliy Lomachenko.
The kickoff press conference for this ESPN PPV event took place on Thursday and both fighters took the stage as proud, respectful fighters who understand the threat the other possesses, but who are eager to prove themselves the superior boxer.
“I’m blessed to be here,” unified IBF/WBA/WBC/WBO 135 lb. champ Haney told the assembled media. “It’s something that I’ve always dreamed of. I’ve been wanting this fight since 2019. I’ve been begging for it and calling for it. The time has finally come. The tables have turned this time around. When he had the belts, he didn’t want to fight me. But it’s a fight where I truly believe I am the better fighter. I’m the better competitor. I will be victorious. I’m happy that the time has finally come.”
“This is a legacy fight for me,” Haney continued. “Loma at one time was No.1 pound-for-pound. A few months ago, he was higher than me on the pound-for-pound list. Now that the fight has been made, he has dropped off the pound-for-pound list. But it is what it is. We know what type of fighter he is. He deserves to be on the pound-for-pound list. Not above me, but definitely on the list. But this is a legacy fight. This is a real fight. This is not an influencer fight. This is really for the belts. This is for the gold. This is possibly to determine the best in the world as well.
“The better the opposition, the better I am. Loma is a good fighter. But I’m on a totally different level. On fight night, the world will see that. The world will see how good Devin Haney really is.”
The 24-year-old Las Vegas native will be facing a fighter in Lomachenko who has been bathing in the fawning praise of the media since he made his pro debut in 2013, but who also has the pro and amateur credentials to justify that love. The Ukraine native is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, a three-division world champ as a pro, and, most recently, a 3-belt lightweight champ before being upset by Teofimo Lopez back in October of 2020. He is 3-0 since that setback and ready to re-take his spot atop the sport’s mythical pound-for-pound list.
“I’m excited for May 20,” the 35-year-old Lomachenko told media. “This is my second chance, and I will try my best. Thank you to Team Haney for the opportunity. We are all prepared for this.
“We never know what will happen. We can prepare for one strategy, but in the ring it can all change. Right now, I don’t know. I just train hard and prepare. I believe in God and in my team.”
Lomachenko, whose home country is still deep in defense from a Russian invasion, is as focused as possible with so much turmoil affecting his people.
“You can’t think about your future when there’s a war coming to your house. You just think about life and about your family and about the people around you. You think about how you can live another day. You can’t think about your job. You can’t think about a professional sport.”
Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum is as excited about this clash as anyone else.
“I’ve seen hundreds of great matches over the years,” Arum said at Thursday’s kickoff presser. “But when I see a match like this, it stirs my blood because it is such an interesting fight to watch. Anyone who considers themself even remotely a boxing fan has to be attracted to this fight. It has all the elements of the great fights of the past. These are two top fighters who have all the skills and determination to make it a great battle. Saturday night on May 20 at the MGM Grand, I’m looking forward to one of the historic fights in the sport of boxing.”