Results and lessons from Devin Haney vs. Vasiliy Lomachenko: The performance of “Loma” is the best; the fight was not a robbery

Despite the contested decision made by the three judges seated ringside, the dramatic main event nevertheless delivered.

Devin Haney defeated Vasiliy Lomachenko to win the undisputed lightweight championship on Saturday after 12 rounds of exhilarating fighting.

But after a contentious decision and a thrilling contest at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, the boxing audience is still divided. Although Lomachenko (17-3, 11 KOs) threw more punches and made a significant comeback in the second half, Haney (30-0, 15 KOs) received scoring of 116-112 and 115-113 (twice) from the judges.

Let’s examine the pay-per-view thriller’s most important lessons.

1. This wasn’t a robbery, but it was a great fight

Did the scoring take away from the excitement of seeing such an instant classic? Without question for some. (For the record, I gave Lomachenko a score of 116–112). However, it would be incorrect to dismiss how many rounds were tight and how much larger it appeared that Haney’s shots were in the first half. Haney too lost steam for a while in the second half as Lomachenko adjusted to take advantage of him with powerful punches. It may be disappointing to witness a 35-year-old icon like Lomachenko turn back the hands of time without being recognized, as he appeared to win the rounds late by a much larger margin. However, there were unquestionably enough competitive contests to support Haney’s triumph on at least one scorecard. The unexpected element was that despite the fighter’s performance being far from complete, all three judges came to the same conclusion. Early on, Haney had a strong showing, but Lomachenko easily outperformed him. At the same time, this was a truly outstanding battle and a technical display of two top-level boxers. The decision was close for all three judges, and they all picked the incorrect winner. But that’s a contested fight, not a robbery. If there is a happy medium between dishonesty and stupidity, this is it.

2. Lomachenko’s loss might be the best win of his career

Despite the fact that Lomachenko has already won three division titles and won two gold medals at the Olympics, his performance against Haney was particularly brave and remarkable. After Haney started to hurt him to the body in the middle rounds, Lomachenko suddenly appeared to be an older fighter. Nevertheless, despite competing at a weight class two divisions above his natural one and facing a really large lightweight in the form of 24-year-old Haney, Lomachenko acted the bigger man in the second half by fighting more forcefully and connecting with more significant power punches. Clearly, Lomachenko learned from his initial setback. 2014 saw him compete for a featherweight championship in just his second professional match, losing a contentious decision to Orlando Salido. Without Laurence Cole, the referee was unaware that Salido had lost weight and was frequently striking Lomachenko low. But Lomachenko learned from the experience how to fight like a cunning veteran, and he used some of that knowledge to subdue Haney late and discourage him from throwing. Due to how far he dug and how well his technical mind and still-rapid hands and feet communicated, a win would have likely been the most impressive of his illustrious career.

3. Devin Haney bent but never quite broke

This is what happens when you are prepared to compete against the greatest in the world. Even though it’s challenging, Haney can learn a lot from this conflict. Down the stretch, neither his body language nor the counsel of his father/trainer Bill Haney nor his corner were very strong. The youthful champion, though, bounced back with a great Round 12 performance, pushing the pace to win it on all three scorecards and avoid a loss by split decision. Early on in the bout, Haney displayed strong offensive play and made the fight’s first significant adjustment by slowing Lomachenko down to the body. As the conflict continued, Haney had superior footwork and defense up until Lomachenko’s late triumph, which reduced his performance. Even with the triumph, there would still be cause for concern if Haney had entirely disintegrated. But he turned things around when it counted and survived all of Lomachenko’s best shots without faltering, putting his near-death experience against Jose Linares a few years ago even further in the rearview.

4. These two always had an answer for one another

We all enjoy good old-fashioned brawls, but for boxing fans with a real appetite for the sweet science, Haney-Lomachenko proved to be a high-octane chess thriller. The entire time, the tempo was fast, the moments of two-way combat were thrilling, and the ebbs and flows occurred on schedule. They took turns adjusting to one another and enjoying sustained streaks of brilliance, and it soon became evident how much these different talents made for great dance partners. The frequent trading off makes it simple for the results of close rounds to vary widely, and in this fight it also resulted in consistent drama between two of the most intelligent and astute boxers of the time.

5. The best matchups in boxing are between 135 and 140 pounds

Given that the blockbuster Gervonta Davis-Ryan Garcia PPV was just one month ago and that a tantalizing junior welterweight title fight between Josh Taylor and Teofimo Lopez Jr. is coming up in June, this was the perfect opportunity for Haney and Lomachenko to put on an outstanding contest. After the battle, former two-division champion Shakur Stevenson, who recently made the switch to lightweight, came in the ring to challenge Haney and declare his intention to pursue the title in the future. When it comes to emerging new stars, boxing is incredibly wealthy in and around the lightweight division. Additionally, it features personalities like Rolando Romero and strong guys like Frank Martin, as well as a living legend in Lomachenko and a ton of veteran talent like Regis Prograis and Jose Ramirez. The sport requires all of the top names to prioritize competing against one another, despite the obstacles in the way of such confrontations on the financial front.