LAS VEGAS – Bob Arum could see Devin Haney or Vasiliy Lomachenko winning their lightweight title fight Saturday night.

Their 91-year-old promoter considers Haney-Lomachenko a legitimate 50-50 fight that could go either way. Arum dismissed doubters who think Lomachenko is either too old to beat Haney and/or not good enough anymore after a subpar performance against Jamaine Ortiz in his last fight.

Arum reminded the 35-year-old Lomachenko’s detractors that the three-division champion came off a 10½-month layoff when he fought Ortiz. The outspoken promoter emphasized that Lomachenko was preoccupied prior to training camp for the Ortiz bout with assisting his native Ukraine’s efforts in its war with Russia.

“People forget he was coming from a battlefield,” Arum told “He wasn’t playing around. He wasn’t training for a fight. He had a gun and he was defending his homeland. And then he got permission to come here to the United States. We put him in a relatively tough fight [with Ortiz] and he didn’t look that great.

“But I’m not surprised [about the doubts]. People are crazy. You see one mediocre performance and they write the guy off. They forget the fact that he was a soldier, actually packing a gun in dangerous areas during all the previous time.”

Ortiz got off to a strong start against Lomachenko, who needed to rally during the second half of their 12-rounder to win. Though Lomachenko admits that he wasn’t at his best when he opposed Ortiz (16-1-1, 8 KOs), he won on all three scorecards October 29 at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater in New York.

Judges Frank Lombardi (117-111), Mark Consentino (116-112) and John McKaie (115-113) scored nine, eight and seven rounds, respectively, for Lomachenko.

“He won the fight pretty decisively,” Arum said, “and against a very good fighter in Ortiz.”

Lomachenko (17-2, 11 KOs), who won world titles in three weight classes, is 7-1 in lightweight fights since he moved up from the 130-pound division five years ago and the southpaw remains one of the most uniquely skilled boxers in the sport. Haney (29-0, 15 KOs) is 11 years younger than Lomachenko, completely out-classed Australia’s George Kambosos Jr. (20-2, 10 KOs) in back-to-back 12-round lightweight title fights and the Oakland native hasn’t come close to losing in 7½ years as a pro.  

“That’s why it’s such an incredible fight,” Arum said. “Haney has the advantage of youth, Loma of experience. Haney has never fought anybody like Loma. So, I mean, Haney is the naturally bigger guy and it’s gonna be a hell of a fight. I’ve never seen Loma look so good physically, as he looks now.”

Haney-Lomachenko is the main event of a three-fight ESPN Pay-Per-View show at MGM Grand Garden Arena ($59.99).

Mexico’s Oscar Valdez (30-1, 23 KOs) will battle Adam Lopez (16-4, 6 KOs, 1 NC), of Glendale, California, in the Haney-Lomachenko co-feature. Their 10-round rematch will take place nearly 3½ years after Valdez stopped Lopez in the seventh round of their 10-rounder in November 2019 at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

The pay-per-view portion of this nine-bout card is scheduled to begin at 10 p.m. EDT (7 p.m. PDT) with a 10-round lightweight fight in which Raymond Muratalla (17-0, 14 KOs), of Fontana, California, will meet Namibia’s Jeremia Nakathila (23-2, 19 KOs).

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.