By Steve Kim Updated on May 22, 2023

Eye of the Beholder

Picture for Eye of the Beholder

Devin Haney retained his undisputed lightweight championship on Saturday night by winning a unanimous decision over Vasiliy Lomachenko. The scores read 115-113, 115-113 and 116-112, all in favor of the 24 year old, in what was an intriguing and entertaing chess match.

As Haney (30-0, 15 KOs) had his hands raised in victory, boos reverberated throughout the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Despite being in his hometown, it felt at times as if he was in enemy territory in the 702.

In what was a relatively tough bout to score, the majority of the patrons inside the venue, and on social media believe that it was the Ukranian who should've had been ruled the winner. It was Haney who walked away with his belts, while it was Lomachenko who truly earned the respect of even his last remaining skeptics with this performance.

Picture for Eye of the BeholderMikey Williams/Top Rank

"Lomachenko is a future Hall of Famer. It was a blessing. He was my toughest opponent by far. He is very crafty, and we put on a great fight for the fans," said Haney, who had vowed to retire the 35 year old prior to the fight. Coming into this contest, many questioned if Lomachenko had such an effort left in him after his struggles against Jamaine Ortiz last fall.

Haney & Loma Put On Instant Classic | Haney Retains Undisputed Belts | FIGHT HIGHLIGHTS

The majority of observers saw Lomachenko land the cleaner, harder blows up top, as he deftly found openings for his sharp left. Many times his backhand was utilized without the use of a jab, he either lead with his left, or he countered from the mid-range. But others will say that Haney's work downstairs to the smaller Lomachenko keyed his victory. He landed numerous arcing right hands to the body throughout this bout. 

Picture for Eye of the BeholderMikey Williams/Top Rank

Haney boxed well in the early rounds, as expected, but starting in the middle rounds he started to connect on more rapid fire combinations. In an unusual twist, it was the older fighter, who was the fresher one down the stretch. And perhaps even more surprisingly he was the aggressor, the one moving forward and putting on consistent pressure.

But alas, he joined the likes of Sergey Kovalev and Gennadiy Golovkin, in being deprived of their biggest victories in Las Vegas by the likes of Dave Moretti, who seems more entrenched that Supreme Court justices within the Nevada Athletic Commission. 

"I don’t want to talk about [the decision]. All the people saw what happened today," said a disappointed Lomachenko, who suffered his third professional loss (17-3, 11 KOs). They say that every fighter late in their careers, has that one great, last performance in them. You wonder if this was it for him. 

Picture for Eye of the BeholderMikey Williams/Top Rank

As for Haney, whose record remains unblemished, if not his reputation as a fighter, he now has some decisions to make. Does he stay and defend his titles at 135, or does he finally free himself from the arduous task of making the lightweight limit and move up.  If there is ever a fighter who truly fights two fights (one to make weight, and then the actual bouts itself) it is Haney.

“This is all experience. Me and my team are going to go back to the house, watch the fight and reflect on it. I’ve been at 135 for a long, long time. This is my 30th fight. I’ve been here at 135 since I was 16 years old. We’re going to go back to the lab and figure out what’s next," said Haney. 




Just a week after the horrible call made by Tony Weeks in the Rollie Romero-Ismael Barroso contest, referee Robert Hoyle made the decision to wave off the bout between Raymond Muratalla and Jermia Nakathila, as Muratalla buzzed his opponent from Namibia, and had him cornered in the second round. 

Nakathila took a few hard, flush shots from the hard-punching Muratalla, at which point Hoyle made his decision to stop the contest.  In the wake of what took place last week, many believe it was a terribly premature stoppage. But in looking at the replay, in defense of Hoyle, punches were actually landing on the hurt fighter, and he seemed to be in a good angle to make a proper call.

                       Picture for Eye of the Beholder
 Mikey Williams/Top Rank

But you could argue that it was early in the fight, neither boxer had taken much in terms of punishment prio, and you give a fighter a chance to work his way through the difficult moment. It's a tough call, regardless. And in the wake of what happened earlier in the night with Andrew Moloney, you could see why being cautious in the name of safety was the way to go. 

What Weeks did was indefensible, this call from Hoyle was much more justified. 

Raymond Muratalla KO's Nakathila in 2nd Round, Wants Winner of Haney Loma | FIGHT HIGHLIGHTS

The semi-main featured a 10 round scrap between former two-time world champion,  Oscar Valdez, and Adam 'Blue Nose' Lopez. This was a solid affair, with good, consistent action throughout. Lopez was slippery at times, and landed his share of leather on Valdez. But it was Valdez who really carried the action and landed the harder blows.

Picture for Eye of the BeholderMikey Williams/Top Rank

After 10 rounds, Valdez was up on all three cards (98-92, 98-91 and 97-93). Given his long layoff, it was a solid nights work for Valdez, who now looks ahead to a showdown with WBO junior lightweight champion, Emanuel Navarette. 



In what was a thoroughly dominating effort, Junto Nakatani, became a two-time world champion by stopping Andrew Moloney in the 12th and final round. From the very onset the rangy southpaw from Japan controlled the action, and sent down Moloney in the second with a series of left uppercuts, which would key his attack throughout the evening at the MGM Grand.

Junto Nakatani With The KO OF THE YEAR Over Moloney to Win Belt | FIGHT HIGHLIGHTS

While Moloney was game, he was repeatedly running into leather, and he really didn't have any answers for the constant barrage that was coming his way. He was out-boxed from the outside, and chopped up from in close. Nakatani (25-0, 19 KOs) sent him down again in the 11th with a long left. You wondered at this juncture if the fight should've been allowed to continue.

Picture for Eye of the BeholderMikey Williams/Top Rank

The decision was by Moloney's corner to let the bout go into the 12th. Nakatani finished him off with a huge overhand left that landed flush and sent the Aussie crashing to the canvas on his back. He seemed to be out cold for a few minutes.

If you ask Nakatani's trainer, Rudy Hernandez, he will tell you that this is the best current Japanese boxer not named Naoya Inoue. 

This was a statement made by Nakatani, one that ended with an exclamation point. 

At age 25, he's only ascending. 



A pair of 19 year old prospects shined on the undercard. First Abdullah Mason stopped Desmond Lyons in six rounds. The quicksilver southpaw from Cleveland, Ohio, improved to 8-0 (7 KOs) and will be returning on Jared Anderson's homecoming in Toledo on July 1. This is a young man with a lot of tools at his disposal. 

Picture for Eye of the Beholder
Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Later on, Emiliano Vargas(5-0, 4 KOs) impressively halted Rafael Jasso in two, the finisher was a digging bodyshot that sent Jasson down and out.  For Vargas, the youngest son of two-time junior middleweight champion, Fernando, this was his third outing of 2023. The plan is for him to return in August.

Emiliano Vargas Does it Again! Another Highlight Reel Knockout | FIGHT HIGHLIGHTS 

Mason and Vargas are part of an impressive young arsenal from Top Rank which has really loaded up for the future. 

About Author
Eye of the Beholder
  • Hosted 'the Main Event' on KIEV 870, and then later XTRA AM1150 ( a three hour show devoted to boxing) from 1996 to 1999.
  • Joined one of the first boxing websites, 'House of Boxing' in 1999, and then later became one of the founders of Maxboxing, that started in 2001, till his departure in 2014.
  • From 2014 to 2018, he was the lead columnist for
  • Was a boxing reporter for from 2018 to 2020.
  • He has written for Ring Magazine, International Boxing Digest and Boxing News.
  • Is the co-host of 'the 3 Knockdown Rule' with Mario Lopez, which has become of the most popular boxing podcasts the past several years.
  • Steve has also served as an announcer and analyst for RingTV, Thompson Boxing, 360 Promotions and CBS Sports Network.