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Again A Decision Not Justified

Image Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

NEW YORK — Don’t know what “Three-Blind Mice” judges at ringside were viewing again Saturday night from their perch at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas. I know we witnessed an outstanding lightweight championship fight.

Devin Haney, the 24-year old undefeated and unified champion won the 12-round unanimous and tight decision over the veteran Vasiliy Lomachenko, a Top Rank ESPN Pay-Per-View, another of the anticipated fights of the year. And a 12th round that went to Lomachenko should have made him a two-time lightweight champion.

This, though, is the boxing kingdom in Las Vegas and winner of controversial decisions. Lomachenko failed to dethrone Haney and become a two-time lightweight champion, though a close fight as this was always meant to be subjective.

Once again, I assure you there was another injustice rendered in the ring, second one in two weeks in Las Vegas. Last week, at the nearby Cosmopolitan, on the strip another injustice occurred. Referee Tony Weeks quickly halted a vacant WBA Super Lightweight championship bout that was televised on Showtime Championship Boxing.

Then, Rolando “Rolly Romero was granted a gift with a 9th round TKO against 40-year old Ismael Barroso (El Tigre, Venezuela). Romero said he thought the fight should have continued.

But look at the fight again, Barroso certainly was not out of gas, he could have continued. All questions have yet to be addressed regarding particulars of the stoppage. No statement either from the referee or sanctioning bodies, and nothing from the constant and controversial government appointees of the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

So, as it was, Saturday evening it wasn’t a referee. Rather, this time, those three judges I always refer to as “Three Blind Mice.” I will say that Haney was in control, that is until those late and championship rounds.

Because it was those later rounds, the 10th, 11th,and 12th, where Lomachenko was throwing and landing the better combinations. Till then, if you look again, Haney and Lomachenko on my scorecard was even, or Haney with the one- round advantage.

So the final verdict this time was not a referee. Judges again, too often the case in Las Vegas, probably denied Lomachenko a defining win or at least the draw. What can’t be understood is one score of 116-112 for Haney, too wide. I can accept 115-113 twice, though my scorecard had it that way for Lomachenko and not Haney.

The fight began with an aggressive start from Lomachenko, who used his signature combination of feints, footwork and head movement to close the distance against Haney.

On the inside, Lomachenko had success in landing combination punches, but on the outside, Haney was able to land jabs and hooks to the body. In the later rounds, Lomachenko had more success as his combinations became more frequent.

Haney, on his part, appeared to be hurt by Lomachenko’s combos, but he fought back strongly in the final round and managed to lessen Lomachenko’s aggression with additional body punches.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MAY 20: Vasiliy Lomachenko (L) and Devin Haney (R) exchange punches during their Undisputed lightweight championship fight at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino on May 20, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Again, a fight that can be said as too close to score. Or a fight that had all the makeup of a draw.

Regardless, Haney moves on and with many options of maga fights at 135, including possible tilts with Shakur Stevenson or Gervonta Davis. Lomachenko returns home to Ukraine and contemplates his next move. Sorry to say a well deserved rematch with Haney will not happen.

Haney also has his eyes on moving up in weight, 140, a junior welterweight division that also comprises the elite of Teofimo Lopez, Josh Taylor, Regis Prograis, and Ryan Garcia

Again, we should be talking more about another injustice in Las Vegas. Most boxing personnel I asked, well their consensus, a draw or win for Lomachenko, realize again going to the scorecards is the suspense and subjective aspect of boxing.

But Lomachenko was not a sore loser. Instead, disappointed and said “I don’t want to talk about [the decision]. All the people saw what happened today.

Bob Arum, the Hall of Fame promoter of Top Rank with both fighters under his wing, was asked about the decision.

“I am not a judge, just the promoter,” he said. Understood no preference from Arum, though expressions show his opinion of Lomachenko winning this fight.

What matters, though, another injustice and black eye for boxing. Because it was clearly seen that Lomachenko was on his way with that late fight finish. I looked at punches, jobs, connections, and it seemed like Lomachenko was doing more of that and made up for rounds that were lost.

Fans left the MGM Arena in disgust, Lomachenko disappointed, Haney said he was clearly the victor.

The loser again, though, is boxing. Like the referee last week the judges this time needed to be accounted for, subjective as it is with three different points of view.

Valdez Repeats Victory against Lopez: Co-feature of the pay-per-view, After more than one year of inactivity, Oscar Valdez (Nogales, Sonora, Mexico) made a successful ring return with a 10-round unanimous decision win in a rematch against Adam Lopez.

Valdez (31-1, 23 KOs) pushed the action early, using the head movement he polished under head trainer Eddy Reynoso. The pride of Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, had success in hurting Lopez in the third and fourth rounds, but Lopez (16-5, 6 KOs) began landing punches of his own in the following rounds.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MAY 20: Oscar Valdez (L) and Adam Lopez (R) exchange punches during their super featherweight fight at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino on May 20, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

However, in the later rounds, Valdez’s constant pressure began to take a clear toll as he nearly stopped Lopez in the final round. Scores: 98-92, 98-91 and 97-93.

Valdez said, “I was trying to be the better fighter. With someone with his speed, you can’t get too confident. I was just trying to be the better and smarter fighter.

“We all want Emanuel Navarrete. Nothing but respect for him. He’s a great champion. The whole world wants to see that fight. Let’s make it happen now.”

Rich Mancuso Co-Editor and Senior Writer Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso.

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