By Mark Eisner: Unbeaten lightweight contender #2 WBC Devin Haney (22-0, 14 KOs ) says boxing fans will start demanding that WBA/WBC/WBO 135-lb champion Vasiliy Lomachenko fight him if he destroys #3 WBC Zaur Abdullaev (11-0, 7 KOs) in their fight on September 13. Haney and Abdullaev are fighting for the interim WBC lightweight title, and their fight is also an official WBC eliminator match at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Haney vs. Abdullaev winner will be mandatory for Lomachenko

The winner of Haney-Abdullaev fight will be the mandatory for Lomachenko. Haney, 20, isn’t worried about Lomachenko potentially vacating his WBC lightweight title without fighting him. He feels that Lomachenko will fight him eventually, and it’ll come at the right time. Lomachenko will run out of guys to fight after he moves down to 130, and he’ll need Haney at some point. Lomachenko’s promoter Bob Arum is in no hurry to make the fight against Haney. Arum’s view may change overnight if Haney looks spectacular in beating Abdullaev on September 13.

Haney says Floyd Mayweather was on higher level than Lomachenko

“I think Floyd was on a totally different level as Lomachenko,” said Haney to Fighthype. “Lomachenko did lose to [Orlando] Salido. They try to forget about these things.  I don’t know if they’re sweeping these things under the rung or what. He did lose to Salido. So whether they like it or not, he lost. I like there are some similar things that we do, me training with the Mayweather’s for so long. Me being young when he was young. I do think we do some similar things. And, I always watch Pretty Boy Floyd and Roy Jones. I watch those guys. It may have an influence on some of my performances. And, I watch Canelo a little bit, but not for my last fight. I didn’t watch Canelo. I watched Pretty Boy Floyd and I watched Roy.

Mayweather obviously fought at a higher level than Lomachenko during the prime of his career. ‘Pretty Boy Floyd’ has far better wins on his resume from earlier in his career than Lomachenko, and he never lost. Lomachenko was beaten by Orlando Salido by a 12 round split decision in 2014. Although Lomachenko likes to complain about Salido hitting him low, and weighing more than him, but the fact is that he lost to the talented Mexican. It’s hard to picture Mayweather losing to Salido. For that reason, you have to say that Mayeather was the better fighter than Lomachenko during his prime. 

Haney: Lomachenko can’t go up to 140 without struggling

When you’re at the top level, all these things mean something; reach, height, speed, power. All these things,” said Haney. “When fighters are evenly matched, these little things play a roll. I do think they play a roll between me and Loma. I don’t think Loma can go up too much more. If he goes up to 140, he might be a good match where they find him a good opponent or world champion, who maybe just one a title on an upset or something like that. I just think if he goes up anymore, it’s going to get harder and harder,” said Haney. 

What we saw from Lomachenko last Saturday night against Luke Campbell, he wouldn’t last long in the 140-pound weight class. If Loma’s promoter Bob Arum chose to throw him to the wolves at 140, he’d lose. Without Arum’s skillful match-making for Lomachenko, he would get beaten by the elite level fighters at light welterweight. Lomachenko has too much pride to admit it to the boxing media about him not moving up to 140, but that’s going to be the situation. He’s already planning on moving down in weight to 130. That’s going to make it all but impossible for Lomachenko to ever go up to 140.

Fighting Lomachenko will take me to next level says Haney

“We’ll have to see, but don’t forget, I have more pro fights than him. I do have more pro experience than him,” said Haney about Lomachenko. “And, I think Lomachenko is a really great fighter. I don’t want anyone to get confused. I think he’s a really good fighter. That’s why I want to fight him. I don’t want to fight him, because he’s a bad fighter or because or because I think I can beat him or anything like that. I think that’s far from an easy fight. But I think that fight will take me to the next level, and show the world what Devin Haney is made of. And it may put me on the pound-for-pound list. Who knows? It may be the fight that makes Devin Haney a superstar. We never know.

I think Lomachenko is a top 5 in the pound-for-pound list. So that says a lot. Not too much longer. 135 is really hard to make. It takes a lot of sacrifice, and a lot of dedication. I’m happy I’m fighting for the interim world title. Everything is falling into place. If Lomachenko vacates, I’ll become world champion after he becomes undisputed. We’ll see what happens. We never know. Things change everyday in the sport of boxing. I’m blessed with the opportunity. I’m happy. This is the fight that’s going to take me to the next level. I’m going to go in there, show my full arsenal, and I’m going to look good doing it, and hopefully we get another sensational knockout,” said Haney.

Haney will need to do more than just fight Lomachenko for his career to go to the next level. He’s going to need to beat him without controversy. And, Haney might need to beat Lomachenko twice to get the full credit. Salido never got any credit after he beat Lomchenko. He got through the fight without being blamed by fans.

Haney: I want Lomachenko fight to come at right moment

“That’s what they’re doing. They’d developing me for the world stage, that top level, that I feel like after this fight, ‘ll be ready for,” said Haney about his fight against Zaur Abdullaev on September 13. “Hopefully, I’ve been training hard. I’m hoping there’s a sensational knockout like that. Who knows? We’ll see. If I get a crazy knockout like that, I’ll go through the roof. People will demand the fight with the top guys.

I’ll take me to the next level as far as people demanding these fights. This is a dream come true. I never thought it would come this early. I’m blessed, I worked hard for it. We’ll have to see. I don’t want it to come too early. I want it to come right on time,” said Haney about a fight between him and Lomachenko. “If it happens too early, it may be too much. If it’s right on time, I go there, look good, and look good doing it. I said Lomachenko would beat Luke Campbell. I don’t judge anyone off of one performance,” said Haney. 

It’s pretty clear that if Haney beats Abdullaev, and looks sensational, boxing fans will demand Lomachenko fight him. He probably won’t though, because Top Rank boss Bob Arum doesn’t want that fight yet. It’ll likely happen, but only if Lomachenko looks good enough to beat Haney. Arum won’t stick Lomachenko in with Haney if he thinks he’ll lose.

Haney: I would beat everyone Lomachenko has fought

“In boxing, you can have an off night any night. It’s just like boxing, football or whatever,” said Haney. “Before that fight [Lomachenko vs. Luke Campbell], I said I could beat Lomachenko, and after that fight, I feel like a lot of people are starting to believe me. I’m starting to see it. I’ve been reading a lot of blogs, and a lot of stuff people are saying, ‘Devin Haney could beat Lomachenko.’ Before, they were saying, he will blow me out of the water.

Timing is everything. When the time comes, hopefully, they’ll make the fight [with Lomachenko]. I just think that I’m on a totally different level than the guys that he’s been fighting. All those guys that he fought, I would beat too. Everyone can say he was a monster, because he did this, this and this, and beat these guys, but I would beat those guys too. We just got to see,” said Haney.

This is a reasonable assumption on Haney’s part to say that he could beat everyone Lomachenko has fought. These are the best guys Lomachenko has fought:

  • Orlando Salido
  • Nicholas Walters
  • Jason Sosa
  • Miguel Marriaga
  • Roman Martinez
  • Guillermo Rigondeaux
  • Luke Campbell
  • Jorge Linares
  • Gary Russell Jr.
  • Jose Pedraza
  • Gamalier Rodriguez

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