If Vasiliy Lomachenko knocks off Devin Haney on May 20, their promoter expects to match Lomachenko against Shakur Stevenson in his following fight.
If the younger, unbeaten Haney wins, however, Bob Arum anticipates that Stevenson will fight someone other than Haney for the WBC lightweight title. Haney holds the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO 135-pound championships, but Arum senses that his showdown with Lomachenko will be the 24-year-old Haney’s final fight within the lightweight division.
Lomachenko-Stevenson and Haney-Stevenson would both be marketable, meaningful fights, though Stevenson also has stated that he doesn’t think Haney will remain at lightweight after he boxes Lomachenko.
“That would be the plan, definitely if Loma wins,” Arum told BoxingScene.com in reference to Lomachenko-Stevenson. “If Haney wins, I’m not sure whether Haney is gonna stay at 135. In fact, I sort of doubt it. He’s a big, big kid. I don’t know with that, so nature will take its course. But if Haney beats Lomachenko, I can see him transitioning to 140 for his next fight.”
Haney (29-0, 15 KOs), the fully unified lightweight champion from Henderson, Nevada, has been installed by Caesars Sportsbook as more than a 2-1 favorite to defeat Ukraine’s Lomachenko (17-2, 11 KOs) in their 12-round, 135-pound championship match May 20 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Their fight for Haney’s four titles will headline an ESPN+ Pay-Per-View show.
Arum’s Top Rank Inc. has been Haney’s primary promoter for his past three bouts, but the Oakland, California native isn’t contractually committed to Top Rank beyond the Lomachenko clash. Top Rank has been the promoter of Lomachenko and Stevenson throughout their careers and they are under contract after their upcoming fights.
Stevenson (19-0, 9 KOs), a two-division champion from Newark, New Jersey, is scheduled to box Japan’s Shuichiro Yoshino (16-0, 12 KOs) in a WBC elimination match April 8 at Prudential Center in Newark (ESPN).
The 25-year-old Stevenson is the WBC’s third-ranked contender for one of Haney’s four belts. The 31-year-old Yoshino is rated fourth by the WBC.
The winner will become the WBC’s mandatory challenger for the Haney-Lomachenko winner. Caesars Sportsbook lists Stevenson as a 14-1 favorite to defeat Yoshino in the 12-round main event of ESPN’s tripleheader.
Stevenson, a 2016 Olympic silver medalist, will fight at the lightweight limit for the first time. He came in 1½ pounds overweight for his last fight, which cost Stevenson the WBC and WBO 130-pound championships the day before he beat Brazil’s Robson Conceicao (17-2, 8 KOs) by unanimous decision in their 12-rounder September 23 at Prudential Center.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.
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