Devin Haney passed his big test, retaining his undisputed lightweight championship by winning a difficult but unanimous decision over Vasiliy Lomachenko on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Judges David Sutherland and Tim Cheatham had it 115-113 for Haney, while veteran judge Dave Moretti saw it a bit wider for the champion, 116-112. Yahoo Sports had it 116-112 for Lomachenko.
Haney entered the bout seventh on the Yahoo Sports pound-for-pound ranking of the world’s best boxers. For much of the fight’s build-up, he was better than a 3-1 favorite to defeat the 35-year-old Lomachenko, but most of the late money was on the Ukrainian former champion.
The fight was close and there were a lot of difficult rounds to score. Haney did what he had to do and, at the very least, proved he was among the elite lightweights in the world. He had fought primarily B-level opposition until moving up to face Lomachenko.
He won, and he did good work to the body, particularly early. But he was hardly impressive, especially against a 35-year-old who had not fought to his normal high standards in his last few bouts.
It was hard to watch the fight and not think about what would have been happening if it were Shakur Stevenson in there instead of Lomachenko. Stevenson, at this stage, is significantly more advanced and likely would have won in a walk.
So after much pondering, I’ve decided to drop Haney out of the Top 10. There is a lot of competition for those final few spots, but I’m going to replace Haney with Stephen Fulton.
Haney will go out of the Top 10 altogether, with heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol and unified light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev each moving up a spot. My original plan to replace Haney in the Top 10 was to put in undisputed super welterweight champion Jermell Charlo. But Charlo hasn’t fought since unifying the belts on May 14, 2022, and I don’t rank fighters if they haven’t fought in a year. That’s the same reason that unified welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. is no longer ranked.
As a result, I’m going to put Stephen Fulton, the WBC-WBO super bantamweight champion, in at No. 10. He hasn’t fought since June 4, 2022, but I will consider fighters who are inactive for a year but have a fight scheduled. Fulton will fight No. 2 Naoya Inoue on July 25 in Tokyo in a bout postponed from May 7 because Inoue was injured.
With that, here’s the latest Top 10:
Boxing pound-for-pound rankings as of May 23
Terence Crawford (39-0, 30 KOs), WBO welterweight champion. Previous Ranking: 1
Naoya Inoue (24-0, 21 KOs), Undisputed bantamweight champion. Previous Ranking: 2
Oleksandr Usyk (20-0, 13 KOs), IBF-WBA-WBO heavyweight champion. Previous Ranking: 3
Shakur Stevenson (19-0, 9 KOs), Lightweight contender. Previous Ranking: 4
Gervonta Davis (29-0, 27 KOs) Secondary WBA lightweight champion. Previous Ranking: 5
Canelo Alvarez (58-2-2, 39 KOs), Undisputed super middleweight champion. Previous Ranking: 6
Tyson Fury (33-0-1, 24 KOs), WBC heavyweight champion. Previous Ranking: 8
Dmitry Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs), WBA light heavyweight champion. Previous Ranking: 9
Artur Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs), IBF-WBC-WBO light heavyweight champion. Previous Ranking: 10
Stephen Fulton (21-0, 8 KOs), WBC-WBO super bantamweight champion. Previous Ranking: NR