Opinion: Lomachenko Frozen out at 135?

The lightweight division continues to gain high praise amongst boxing analysts due to its young talent but one veteran star stubbornly clings to the limelight. I and other boxing writers have discussed the lightweight division as the next “Fab Four” type of scenario that we saw in eighties with Marvin Hagler, Tommy Hearns, Roberto Duran and Ray Leonard. Today we discuss the prospects of Teofimo Lopez, Tank Davis, Ryan Garcia and Devin Haney as they are all under twenty-five years-old and positioned to square off to decide supremacy in boxing between lightweight and maybe even as high as welterweight. There is a monkey wrench in this design and that is Vasiliy Lomachenko. Lomachenko has been one of the elite boxers over the last eight years and had been a dominant lightweight from 2018 to the fall of 2020. Lomachenko was viewed as a number one pound for pound type of fighter when he faced the young Teofimo Lopez this past fall. Despite the many that thought that this was too much too soon, Lopez came out with his hand raised in a clear decision victory. In the aftermath of this fight Lopez is moving on without a rematch for the defeated former champion and the rest of the division seems uninterested in facing Lomachenko.

Lopez has since moved on from the victory to face mandatory IBF challenger George Kambosas rather than face Lomacenko who did not put a rematch clause in the contract. Lopez has since called out Haney to end any argument he is undisputed at lightweight and has hinted at a move north to 140 to take on the best in that division. Devon Haney pushed hard for a bout with Lomachenko prior to Lomachenko being elevated to “franchise champion” only for him to win a title via email. Haney continued to claim he was ducked and Lomachenko avoided him. The feud was on full display on Twitter this past week or so with Lomachenko accusing Haney of not fighting anyone while Haney said Lomachenko ducked him to get his “franchise status” to avoid a fight. Tank Davis never showed any real interest in meeting Lomachenko at 130 when the two held belts there either. Ryan Garcia has called out Davis, Lopez and Haney but I have not seen him call out Lomachenko.

While I feel Lomachenko’s reaction to his defeat to Lopez was a lot of sour grapes I still feel he is a big time player in the division. I really do get the feeling that the boxing establishment whether it be the promoters or the TV channels/streaming platforms have hitched their wagons to the young talent in the division, Lomachenko is still the inconvenient talent among the unproven pups. My only hope is that he will get a chance to face Haney or Lopez in a passing of the torch type of fight either as a confirmation of Lopez’s ability or as a true test for Haney who really has not faced anyone as a pro thus far.

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