The prep work is done. The fight is almost here. Devin Haney vs. Vasiliy Lomachenko at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas happens this Saturday, with all four of Haney’s lightweight belts on the line.
Here are some final words from the combatants and interested media observers:
“I feel like he should have fought me four years ago. But now the time has come. It’s going to be worse for him than it would have been had we fought back then.”
“On paper, this is my toughest test. But I look to make it an easy night. I look to make it as easy as possible and come out victorious.”
“I have been calling for this fight for four years. But the time has finally come. I take my hat off to him. I respect everything that he’s done. I respect his decision to stay and defend his country. That gave me my shot to go to Australia, so it was only right that I give him the shot as well.”
“I know what he is preparing for. But at the end of the day, we’re prepared for whatever he brings to the table. If he wants to make it a dirty fight, we have answers for that.”
“Camp was hard like always. But I was very motivating. It was motivating because I understand. It is my last chance to become undisputed. So, I pushed myself in every training session. And now there are just four days left.”
“He talks about the past, but It’s hard to say things about the past. You can’t change it. Even if you talk about it, you can’t change it. Only God can change it.”
“He is a high-level boxer. He understands boxing. He knows what he needs to do. He can use his reach. He can use his feet. He can create distance. But I have a lot of experience in this sport. It will be very interesting for me.”
Timothy Bradley (Two-time former world champ and ESPN commentary [Speaking to ESPN+])
“Compelling styles, fantastic match-up. You have the highly experienced and well-accomplished Lomachenko, and he’s facing the young, hungry, talented undisputed champion in DevinHaney. It doesn’t get any better than this.”
Andre Ward (Two-time former world champ and ESPN commentary [Speaking to ESPN+])
“There are so many storylines for me going into this fight. I see a younger fighter in Devin Haney, who has the momentum.
“He’s done something that I didn’t get a chance to do, which is to go to another country to lift not only a belt but the undisputed championship in Australia in front of 60,000 fans. And then go back and defend.
“He’s better off because of that. He’s more confident, more sure of himself. I got that sense when I talked to him. He’s got the momentum going into this fight.
“…I give Haney a slight edge of 60-40 going into this fight, but speaking to Devin Haney; he’s not even putting stock into the Ortiz fight. He’s saying all the right things.
“He’s confident. ‘I just don’t want to beat him,’ talking about Loma. ‘I want to dominate him and beat him up, but I respect him.’ So this is one of those ones that you have to tune in for, or you have to be in the building because it’s going to unfold in real time.
“We can talk about it, we can assess it…but nobody knows who’s going to win this fight.”
Mark Kriegel (ESPN commentator [Speaking to ESPN+])
“The truth is that Vasily Lomachenko, who is widely accepted as the best pound-for-pound fighter, has been demystified. First, it was the loss to Teofimo, and then it was something a little more subtle against [last opponent] Jamaine Ortiz.
“The question is, is Loma still Loma? In a certain way, he isn’t. I sat down with him this week, and I remember the first time we spoke. He said, ‘I want to be remembered for decades after I retire. I want people to remember me forever.’ I said, ‘Do you still feel like that?’ ‘No.’ ‘What do you want people to say after the fight?’ ‘I don’t care.’
“‘What do you want people to say about you ten years from now.’ ‘I don’t care.’ I think he’s actually serious, and what he spoke of is something that he didn’t realize happened after the Teofimo fight. His ego broke down.
“He said, ‘I was essentially getting too big for myself,’ which I’ve never heard him say before. The question is, is he demystified in his own mind too? Does the loss of his excess ego make him more or less dangerous?”
Joe Tessitore (ESPN commentator [Speaking to ESPN+])
“[It’s] The fight with the more relevance with more on the line to define the actual merits of boxing.
“This is the biggest fight this year in boxing. The undisputed lightweight championship of the world between Devin Haney and Vasily Lomachenko.”