This Saturday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Devin Haney puts his undisputed, unified lightweight champ status on the line against former three-division world champ and two-time Olympic gold medalist Vasiliy Lomachenko.
Here’s what both fighters had to say (during their respective grand arrivals at the MGM Grand) regarding this upcoming challenge:
“That was the goal to make the biggest fights happen and to have something for people to gain to want to fight me,” Haney told reporters. “Now that I have all the belts, my first assignment is to fight a future Hall of Famer with Loma, beating him, being victorious, and then we’ll see what’s next.
“Man, all the hard work, all the sacrifice has paid off. Everything is ready for these big fights. I’m happy that I didn’t cut no corners. I took the long route to get here, but it all paid off.
“It’s going to pay off on Saturday night when the world sees how great I am. They’ll see what I bring to the table and that I’m the best fighter in the world.
“I’m much more bigger, more mature, and much more experienced. Back then, Loma was the #1 pound-for-pound, he was the #1 guy. He would have been the favorite, but obviously, I’m the favorite. That just shows you how much better I’ve gotten since then.
“Like I said, he can watch a bunch more films on me. I got a lot more tools than just a jab. But like I said, I feel he’s a dirty fighter. I feel like he tries to fight dirty, and he tries to hit you on the break, hit you behind the head, and stuff like that.
“He has the right to feel how he feels, and I’ve got a right to feel how I feel. May the best man win. I’m going to go in and handicap him of his best attributes.
“I know the stuff that he doesn’t like, and he’s going to try and do the same things as me. Let’s see who’s victorious in that.”
When asked whether he considers Haney or Teofimo Lopez (who beat him via unanimous decision back in October of 2020) a more complete fighter, Lomachenko was diplomatic.
“I can answer after Saturday night, I can compare. I’ve (fought) with Teofimo but I have not yet (fought) with Haney, so I can’t compare. After the fight we can discuss.
“It’s two different styles from Lopez and Haney, two different styles, but it will be interesting.”
The 35-year-old veteran doesn’t seem too impressed with the 24-year-old Haney’s all-around skill set, stopping just short of declaring his opponent a one-dimensional fighter.
“Look, it’s the same like Ryan Garcia has a left hook but it doesn’t work with guys who know boxing,” Lomachenko told reporters. “So the same. We understand, we know it, but everything can happen during the fight. I don’t know what happen(s) but if you know about his jab, I know about his jab, too.”
As for being the underdog in this fight, the former three-belt unified lightweight champion knows it, understands it, but claims not to care.
“Absolutely I am not surprised. I understand why people are talking about the underdog from my side, but I don’t care, I just want to prove who I am, what I am, inside boxing.”
Expect an interesting, compelling world title fight this Saturday between two pros executing at the highest levels of the game. Like the fight posters suggest, this will indeed be high-stakes boxing chess.