By Sam Volz: Undisputed lightweight champion Devin Haney will have a tremendous weight advantage when he defends his four belts against Vasyl Lomachenko in their fight in early 2023.
The two are still in negotiations, but it’s a given that the fight will be made Lomachenko (17-2, 11 KOs) has already conceded that Haney (29-0, 15 KOs) is the A-side, and he’ll be willing to him the advantages in the talks.
Lomachenko still has the mobility to keep the welterweight-sized Haney off him, but he’ll be speared with the long reach.
Loma will be forced to get close to land, as we’ve seen with Haney’s fights against George Kambosos Jr; he’ll repeatedly wrap Lomachenko up in a bearhug to keep him from getting his shots off. Haney’s style is boring to watch but effective for him at 135.
If Haney had to fight against guys his size by moving up to 147 against killers like Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis, he wouldn’t be able to stay on the outside and jab. He’d be taken apart by Boots, and his career would sink rapidly in that weight class.
At the minimum, Haney could be two divisions bigger than Lomachenko on the night of the fight, and that could be too much for the two-time Olympic gold medalist to deal with.
The version of Lomachenchenko that we saw in his recent victories over Richard Commey and Masayoshi Nakatani would give Haney a run for his money, but not the old, small & shot-looking Loma that we witnessed struggling to defeat Jamaine Ortiz on October 29th. That version of Lomachenko would be over-matched against the welterweight-sized Haney.
Like a lot of younger fighters, the 23-year-old Haney can drain down in weight to game the system and fight smaller guys to gain an edge.
Haney can still get away with fighting fighters well below his natural weight, but he won’t be able to do it for much longer. It’s logical to assume that Haney’s career will go rapidly downhill like Adrien ‘The Problem’ Broner and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr’s careers fell apart when they moved up when they could no longer fight in weight classes below their natural body frames.
But while Haney still can make 135, he will be hard to beat, particularly against an old-looking Lomachenko, who has no business fighting at lightweight or even super featherweight.
There’s money to be made at 135 and none at 130 or 126, so it makes sense for Lomachenko to be where he’s at right now.
The way that Haney looked like a skeleton in his last fight against former unified lightweight champion George Kambosos Jr on June 16th, his days of being a weight bully at coming to an end.
Some would argue that Haney’s size and ability to drain down huge amounts of weight has helped him make ESPN’s pound-for-pound top 10 list.
If not for Haney still fighting at 135, it’s unlikely that he would make the pound-for-pound list at 140 or 147, where he would no longer have a massive size advantage over his opponents.
It was interesting recently to see Haney complaining about how tough it is for him to make 135, but he doesn’t have to do this. If he fought in the weight class at 147, which is natural for his huge body frame, there wouldn’t be any issues.
Haney has no power, and he would be a useless drone at 147, weak and taken advantage of in that weight class in a similar way that Broner was when he moved up to welterweight.
Broner’s power didn’t carry up with him from lightweight to welterweight, and once he moved up, he was living off his accomplishments from the past.
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