Posted on 05/22/2023
By: Sean Crose
When the bell rang to end Saturday night’s extraordinary undisputed lightweight title matchup between Vasyl Lomachenko and defending champion Devin Haney, I had an uncomfortable feeling. Oh, the fight itself was amazing, a truly relentless contest of two walking, talking skill machines operating at the top of their respective games. What had me uncomfortable was the fact I had Loma winning the fight by two rounds on my private and completely unofficial scorecard. The truth, as I admitted to myself, was the fight could have gone either way (such things matter when you’re enough of fan to score fights yourself). Had I shaded my opinion on one or two of those rounds in the slightest, Haney would clearly have emerged the winner on my completely irrelevant scorecard.
Image: Top Rank
Of course, the judges Saturday night in Las Vegas – the ones whose opinions mattered – disagreed with me. Two of the three judges ruled reasonably while one appeared to have been watching another fight entirely. Still, it appears the public is infuriated with this past weekend’s result – or at least a good portion of the public is. I find this sentiment perfectly understandable. Had it been a fist fight, the result would have been obvious: That Loma had gotten the better of Haney. Sure, Loma had bruises on his face, but he fed so many straight shots to Haney throughout the night that Haney probably saw them in his sleep later that evening.
The truth, though, is that boxing isn’t a fight. Not when all is said and done. What boxing happens to be is a sport, an extremely violent sport, which resembles, and has many qualities of, a parking lot brawl you might see late one Friday or Saturday night. Ultimately it’s an athletic contest that’s scored by rounds. And the reality is Haney, the guy we often saw getting hit clean by Loma this past weekend, won a good many rounds. In the end, a probing jab can count as much as a left hook in this sport. It all comes down to who scores more effectively in the three minute chapters of action provided.
Frustrating? You bet. But dems the rules as they stand. And if a better way of scoring emerges, one where the fighter who actually beats up the other fighter gets a guaranteed win, I’ll be all for it. There’s something else to keep in mind, however, as we sift through the debris of Saturday night’s controversy: Loma allowed Haney to win the all important twelfth and final round. He said so himself. “I can give him this round,” he admitted after the fight. Considering the match may well have had a different ending had he been more aggressive in it’s final chapter, Loma does, in a sense, largely have himself to blame for Saturday nights’ outcome.