Notebook: Haney-Loma fallout: PPV total, protest, lobbying, fine
Stevenson calls for mandatory title shot; Smith-Eubank II postponed again; Parker scores easy KO; Quick hits; Show and tell
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While undisputed lightweight champion Devin Haney and Vasiliy Lomachenko continue to insist that they were the rightful winner of their fight on Saturday night, the Top Rank event on ESPN+ pay-per-view produced in the range of what many predicted.
The event generated about 150,000 pay-per-view buys, multiple industry sources told Fight Freaks Unite. Another source said the fight did more than 150,000. The number includes streaming sales via ESPN+ as well as traditional cable and satellite services with around 115,000 coming via digital and another 35,000 to 40,000 via cable and satellite.
With a retail price of $59.99 for the pay-per-view that means it grossed about $9 million in domestic television revenue.
Top Rank announced on fight night that the event drew a sellout crowd of 14,436 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, which will translate to a low seven-figure gate not to mention additional revenue from sponsors, international television and merchandise.
The main event guarantees to the fighters were $4 million for Haney (30-0, 15 KOs), 24, and $3 million for three-division champion and former pound-for-pound king Lomachenko (17-3, 11 KOs), 35, a Ukrainian southpaw and two-time Olympic gold medalist.
It was the first pay-per-view main event for Haney and Lomachenko, who put on an entertaining and highly competitive fight that was extremely close and hard to score.
In the end, Haney won 115-113 and 115-113 on scorecards from Tim Cheatham and David Sutherland and 116-112 from Dave Moretti on a card that took heavy criticism. The result announcement elicited booing from the crowd as Haney, who lives in Las Vegas, retained his lightweight title for the seventh time and the four-belt undisputed crown for the second time.
Haney insisted the judges got it right but Lomachenko and his team complained bitterly about the decision. Lomachenko manager Egis Klimas promised to protest the result to the Nevada State Athletic Commission, despite their not being any grounds to do so.
Klimas also posted letters he wrote to all four major sanctioning bodies imploring them to rank Lomachenko No. 1 in their ratings, including the WBO and WBC, which had him in the top spot going into the mandatory fight with Haney.
“This past Saturday in Las Vegas, Vasiliy Lomachenko challenged Undisputed Lightweight Champion Devin Haney in Las Vegas,” Klimas wrote to begin each letter. “The crowd at the MGM and the boxing world reacted to condemn what it believes to be an unfair and unjust decision that denied Loma his rightful victory and his lifetime goal of being undisputed champion of the world.”
Haney, meanwhile, showed his frustration on Twitter and revealed that he was fined $400,000 (10 percent of his purse) by the Nevada commission for an unprovoked hard shove to Lomachenko’s chest during their face off at the weigh-in on Friday.
“This guy is a fucking sore loser,” Haney wrote about Lomachenko. “Get this privilege sore loser out of boxing. He makes excuses as he goes! Take your lost like a man & stop crying. It was set up for you to win for the 3rd time in your career & you failed! Tell the commission (to) give me my 400k back for that push!”
Stevenson wants Haney next
Shakur Stevenson was a very interested spectator at ringside for Devin Haney’s decision win over Vasiliy Lomachenko to retain the undisputed lightweight title on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Stevenson (20-0, 10 KOs), 25, of Newark, New Jersey, a former unified junior lightweight champion and featherweight titlist, moved up to lightweight for his last fight and knocked out Shuichiro Yoshino in the sixth round on April 6 in a WBC title eliminator to become one of Haney’s mandatory challengers.
Now the Top Rank-promoted Stevenson wants a shot at Haney for the 135-pound crown, although it is possible Haney, whose three-fight Top Rank deal ended with the Lomachenko fight, may move up to junior welterweight.
While he wants that opportunity, Stevenson was like many who thought Lomachenko deserved to win the extremely close fight.
“Lomachenko should be undisputed champion here, he won,” Stevenson said in the ring after the bout. “He won that fight. He landed the cleaner punches. He landed the cleaner shots on Dev, and he pushed the pace.”
Still, Haney won and that’s who Stevenson wants. He tried to confront Haney in the ring, but he and his father/trainer Bill Haney instead left the ring following Devin’s interview.
“Let's make it happen. I think it should happen next,” Stevenson said. “I think Devin is not on my level and I’m (going to) show it. I feel like Devin is a tough fighter, but there is a high skill level inside me and he's not on my level. Bill called me out after my last fight so now I'm here and they ran out the ring. They seen me just now and they ran out the ring. They got a little scared.”
Boxxer show goes on
Middleweight Liam Smith will need more than the two weeks initially expected to recover from what was termed a minor (but undisclosed) injury that earlier this month postponed his rematch with Chris Eubank Jr. from June 17 to July 1, but the show will go on.
With Smith-Eubank II postponed again Wednesday, Boxxer announced the event will go forward at AO Arena in Manchester, England with the fight between undisputed women’s super middleweight champion Franchon Crews-Dezurn against Savannah Marshall moving from the co-feature into the main event. The card will also move from Sky Box Office pay-per-view in the United Kingdom and Ireland to the Sky Sports subscription channel.
Boxxer said tickets remain valid for the show with refunds available for those who decide not attend but those that do will get a free food and beverage voucher and priority access and a 10 percent discount on tickets for the rescheduled Smith-Eubank II event.
Crews-Dezurn (8-1, 2 KOs), 35, of Baltimore, will be fighting for the first time since retaining the WBC/WBO titles and claiming the IBF/WBA belts by lopsided decision against Elin Cederroos in April 2022.
Former WBO middleweight titlist Marshall (12-1, 10 KOs), 32, of England, is moving up in weight and will fight for the first time since a decision loss to Claressa Shields in their meeting to determine the undisputed 160-pound champion in October.
“I’m gutted and sorry to all the fans about the postponement,” Smith said. “I’ve always said a fully fit Liam Smith beats Chris Eubank Jr. every time. I tried training through because I was desperate not to let anyone down but I’ve had to withdraw from the bout in July following the latest medical assessment this week. I’ll heal up now and then be fully fit for later in the summer.”
Parker gets quick KO
Former WBO heavyweight titleholder Joseph Parker (32-3, 22 KOs), 31, of New Zealand, needed just 86 seconds to knock out Australia’s Faiga Opelu (15-4-2, 11 KOs), 29, in the main event of a No Limit Boxing card on Wednesday at Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne, Australia.
Parker, with his good pal, sparring partner and heavyweight champion Tyson Fury cheering him on at ringside, floored Opelu with a series of clean shots, causing the referee to wave it off at 1 minute, 26 seconds.
Parker won his second fight in a row since an 11th-round knockout loss to Joe Joyce for the vacant WBO interim title in a September slugfest.
Also on the card, junior middleweight Nikita Tszyu (6-0, 5 KOs), 25, the son of Hall of Famer Kostya Tszyu and younger brother of WBO interim junior middleweight titlist Tim Tszyu, stopped Australian countryman Benjamin Bommber (5-1, 4 KOs), 21, at 2:09 of the first round in their scheduled six-rounder.
Puerto Rican junior middleweight prospect Xander Zayas (15-0, 10 KOs), 20, will have additional incentive against Ronald Cruz (18-2-1, 12 KOs), 31, of Los Angeles, in the Josh Taylor-Teofimo Lopez co-feature June 10 (ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN+, 10 p.m. ET) at New York’s Madison Square Garden Theater. Top Rank and MSG announced the fight will be for the second annual Miguel Cotto Award, which, according to the announcement, celebrates the career of the Hall of Fame four-division champion “and upholds the tradition of hosting a major fight card during Puerto Rican Day Parade weekend.” Zayas-Cruz is on the eve of the parade, a traditional Cotto fight date in New York with bouts against Muhammad Abdullaev, Paulie Malignaggi, Zab Judah, Joshua Clottey, Sergio Martinez and Daniel Geale. “I’ve always said that Miguel Cotto is my favorite fighter,” Zayas said. “He is the reason I decided to become a fighter. It’s a total honor and a dream come true to have the opportunity to fight for an award that has his name. This confirms for me that we are on the right path.”
Show and tell
When you look back at significant cards of the 1980s, the Don King-promoted HBO show that took place on Dec. 3, 1982 at the Superdome in New Orleans was certainly one of them. If featured two highly significant world title fights involving four greats who would eventually be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
In the main event, legendary Thomas Hearns, who moved up to junior middleweight following his loss to Sugar Ray Leonard in their meeting for the undisputed welterweight championship in 1981, got a title shot in his fourth fight in the division and squared off with Wilfred Benitez, who was making his third defense. They engaged in one of the most epic pre-fight staredowns of all time and then put on an excellent fight. Hearns was docked a point for a pulling Benitez’s head down in the fourth round and he dropped Benitez with his vaunted right hand in the fifth round. Referee Octavio Meyran ruled a knockdown against Hearns in the ninth round even though replays showed it was really caused by Benitez stepping on his foot. In the end, Hearns won a majority 15-round decision (146-137, 144-39, 142-142) to claim the WBC 154-pound championship.
In the opener, long-reigning WBC junior featherweight champion Wilfredo Gomez, one of Puerto Rico’s all-time best, made his 17th and final defense before vacating against Mexico’s Lupe Pintor, the bantamweight champion moving up in weight. They waged what many view as the greatest fight in the history of that famed national rivalry. The third round was picked as the 1982 round of the year by The Ring magazine. Gomez, who was trailing on one scorecard going into the 14th round, finally dropped Pintor twice for the knockout victory in an unforgettable fight.
The program for the card has been on my want list for many years but they’re scarce, expensive and even when one does surface the condition is typically far too rough for my taste. But finally, at long last, I recently found one that not only met my lofty standards but I got it for a great price. I was absolutely thrilled to add it to my collection.
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Photos: Haney: Sumio Yamada/WBC; Stevenson: Mikey Williams/Top Rank; Parker-Opelu: No Limit Boxing
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