Vasily Lomachenko (left) and Devin Haney gave the fans a good fight, but not everyone agreed with the judges who won. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
It’s been five days since Devin Haney successfully defended his undisputed lightweight championship against former three-division world title holder Vasily Lomachenko via a highly controversial 12-round unanimous decision at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Since then, the debate about who should have raised their hand has continued. Everyone had a say and most believe the two-time Olympic gold medalist has done enough to snatch major titles from the young American’s grip.
Wrapping his arms and cutting Lomachenko, Russ Anber, a 43-year boxing veteran and founder of Rival Boxing Gear, had no doubts about who should win and didn’t throw punches.
“100 percent, I had no doubts,” Anber told The Ring on Wednesday night. “I was a bit surprised when I saw the judges’ cards. For some reason, they felt Haney dominated the early parts of the fight and to be honest when I shot the fight in the corner and when I watched it again in the replay I had Loma leading 3-0 and 4-2 after six rounds.
“I don’t understand how Haney got up early and then in the middle rounds like seven, eight I thought Loma lost those rounds and the judges gave him those rounds. So clear what I was watching and what the judges were watching (it was different) or how the judges were watching, which I think is the key.
The Canadian, who had a side view of the ring on Saturday, has watched the fight since and can’t justify Haney. He also believes that the 10-9 round system is deeply flawed.
“I don’t remember scoring that night, I just thought we were winning,” he said. “I was 4-2 after six and then we won 10 and 11 convincingly. I said, “That’s six rounds, we’ve got another round out there somewhere.” There was no doubt in my mind. I thought Loma was fighting to win and Haney was fighting not to lose.
“I (watched the fight replay and) was 7-5, 8-4. I’m not one to be afraid of using even rounds, and the thing that bothers me consistently is this hyperbole with people saying, “These are shuttle rounds, they can go either way.” This is the biggest shit in boxing. The idea is to win the round, and if you don’t win the round and it can go either way, that round ends in a draw. It’s not about who the hell you like! It pisses me off more than anything else, we give out 10-9 for fun. It was a close round so take your pick, this is not the way to score in a fight.
“You get judges who end up where their points might be the same, but the rounds they awarded are completely different. We don’t want to score even rounds. Why not? Why don’t we get where winning the round has to be decisive. If you end up with four even rounds in a fight, it’s because it’s competitive. And the rounds you give a fighter are because he rightfully won them.
Anber believes that the judges are ignorant of the mastery of Lomachenko and others such as three-time world champion and recent Hall of Famer Juan Manuel Marquez.
“I don’t know what they were looking at,” he said bluntly. “I have said this before, many years ago, in relation to Juan Manuel Marquez. I don’t think – I won’t say everything – that the judges are trained to understand the subtleties of great fighters, and Juan Manuel Marquez fell victim to terrible decisions that he should have won just because the judges underestimated his fine-tuned skill in the ring. They don’t see it. They don’t have enough skills, they don’t have gym experience, they don’t have training experience, they don’t have combat experience, they have no idea what he’s doing there and it’s hard to give points when they don’t know what someone is doing.”
The term “robbery” was circulated; Anber was eager to explore this reference.
“There are two types of heists, you have an absolutely corrupt, million-dollar job that drags you where the guy wins 10 out of 12 rounds and they don’t give him that,” he said. “Everybody sees it as a robbery and it happens in boxing, but just because the fight is close doesn’t mean there isn’t a clear winner.
“In this case, while the fight was competitive, it was clear who controls the fight, who controls the action, who makes the fight happen, who is the emotional aggressor, who lands more punches, who lands more punches, all in Loma page. It can be robbery when you see a clear winner. That’s not to say the fight wasn’t competitive, but it doesn’t mean you can say, “Well, it wasn’t a heist, because you could go the other way.” No you can’t because you can’t find seven rounds so Devin Haney can unequivocally say he won seven rounds. You can certainly find seven rounds for Loma.
The Ukrainian was inconsolable after the locker room fight. There were pictures of her crying with her head in her hands.
A clear outburst of emotion that has gone through a grueling training camp and hard fight only to feel what rightfully should have been taken away from him. There is little that can be said or done at this point.
“Only after that did I say, ‘That’s boxing policy.'” Anber said before continuing. “And I explained to him that he’s too talented for people to judge him, underestimate his talent, underestimate the captions he does, underestimate that he can block a punch an inch from the face, underestimate that he can catch a shot in the elbow. Haney landed some good body shots, I’m not taking that away from him, but you can’t turn around and pick four, five, six, seven body shots that landed cleanly on Loma as a factor in making him a fight. It does not bother me.
“I told him no one can take away what you’ve done, you’re a three-time world champion, you’ve had almost all of your professional fights – except three – for world titles. You are a two-time Olympic gold medalist.
At 35, what’s left of Lomachenko? Where can it go next?
“I don’t know, of course a rematch would be the best thing, WBA, WBC, WBO and IBF all need to come together and say, ‘It was a controversial decision, it was wrong.’ And the order and immediate revenge. That would be the case in a perfect world, Anber said. “Or if Haney decides he wants to go to 140, he can give up the belts and Loma can fight someone else indisputably. That’s all Loma is interested in.
“It seems like when you look back at his career and the controversy surrounding his failures, no one even gave this guy a chance to avenge anything. Why isn’t Loma getting her chance? He never got his chance against (Orlando) Salido who was overweight and played speedball with a bag of Loma nuts and then you had a fight with Teofimo (Lopez) which by all accounts should have been a rematch but they declined and avoided the rematch. The scoring was terrible there, not to say Lopez didn’t win the fight, I think the 12th round could have sealed the win, I think the best that can be said is a draw for Lomachenko.
“And now you have this one. There is no one worth mentioning, all boxing minds, guys who understand the game, fighters, even the people who picked Haney to win thought Loma won.
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