By Hector Gonzalez – This story doesn’t begin with George Kambosos Jr. beating Teofimo Lopez or with Vasiliy Lomachenko losing his belts to Teofimo Lopez. This story actually begins back in 2010 when Top Rank made a move to set up fighters with extensive amateur records to immediate world title fights. It begins with Top Rank fighter Guillermo Rigondeuax getting a shot at the interim WBC belt after only 6 fights. In 2014, Zou Shimings, another Top Rank fighter was given a shot at the WBO international flyweight belt on his very first fight. That same year, Vasiliy Lomachenko was jumped over the line and made the WBO featherweight mandatory after just 1 fight. And in that same year Naoya Inoue, another Top Rank Fighter was given a shot at the WBO flyweight title after only 6 fights.
To add to the story, the original fight for the vacant WBO featherweight title back in 2014 was supposed to be between Gary Russel jr vs Orlando Salido, to be clear Vasiliy Lomachenko jumped over Gary Russel Jr to get a shot at the vacant WBO feather title even though Gary Russel Jr. was the mandatory. What’s worse is that Lomachenko actually lost the fight for the vacant WBO title and just two months later he was allowed another shot against the original mandatory in Gary Russel Jr. Perhaps, being that he went on to beat Gary Russel Jr, might make it seem as though him jumping over Russel was inconsequential, however, that’s not the point, Lomachenko was given unfair opportunities that other fighters don’t get.
Most so-called boxing fans don’t know anything about Francisco El Vandido Vargas. So for the ones that don’t know, Vargas became a pro years before Lomachenko did. The old veteran is in his late 30’s now, has only 3 losses, 2 times against the former boogieman Miguel Berchelt and most recently, at the age of 36 losing a unanimous decision against Little Mike Tyson, Isaac The Pitbull Cruz. The sad part to the story is that El Vandido Vargas was a featherweight contender years before Lomachenko was, what’s worse is that El Vandido Vargas didn’t get a title shot until his 24th fight, at the age of 32. Vargas defeated Takashi Miura in what was the 2015 fight of the year. In 2016 Vargas again had another fight of the year fighting to a controversial draw against Orlando Salido. This is just one example of how Lomachenko was able to jump the line, having an unfair advantage at a shot at the belts.
Lomachenko again gets an immediate title shot for the WBO Superweight belt. I say this with no disrespect to Rocky Martinez, but he was the weakest Superweight belt holder at the time, and I say this to say this…. There’s a science as to why Lomachenko lost to Teofimo Lopez and Orlando Salido, both of them strong body punchers, who were able to put Lomachenko on the back foot.. all that to say that at the time, in 2016 there were two fighters that Lomachenko could have faced but didn’t, Miguel Berchelt and El Vandido Vargas, in fact after Lomachenko lost to Orlando Salido he never fought another Mexican boxer puncher.
Again Lomachenko gets immediate title shots at 135 by simply moving up, his first fight at 135 was against Jorge Linares for the WBA title, again his very first fight at 135. His second fight at 135 is for the WBO lightweight belt… and again, automatically given another title shot for the vacant WBC against Luke Campbell.
This is where it starts to get interesting. Devin Haney was a WBC mandatory in 2018, that’s more than three years ago, yet he has not had one fight for the belt yet. Let’s give this context, more than 3 years ago, Haney was made mandatory and is yet to get 1 championship fight, yet Lomachenko automatically gets championship fights, fight after fight. To make matters worse, Devin Haney actually had to petition to the WBC to be mandatory, and in fact, he was denied and told to wait in line after Luke Campbell, something that Lomachenko didn’t have to do. There’s more, when Devin Haney finally is mandatory, Lomachenko petitions for the WBC franchise belt automatically denying him a shot at the belts even though he’s been waiting in line, even though he was the mandatory.
For one reason or another, there is a narrative that Vasiliy Lomachenko is automatically entitled to these title shots. Some fans seem to believe that although Vasiliy Lomachenko opted-out of the rematch clause against Teofimo Lopez, he’s somehow entitled to a rematch, and the same narrative is playing out now, some fans seem to believe that Lomachenko, even though he lost all of his belts to Lopez, automatically now deserves another shot when there are other fighters in line.
You see, in the eyes of Top Rank, Lomachenko losing to Lopez was not a big deal because Teofimo Lopez, another Top Rank fighter, was not supposed to lose to George Kambosos Jr., Lopez vacating to 140 would have made all the belts available again for Lomachenko. The problem is that Kambosos Jr. ruined the plan. Further more it also stops the pattern of Lomachenko collecting belts from weak opposition. No disrespect to Rocky Martinez, Jose Pedraza, or Jorge Linares, but none of them were ever top fighters in their respective weight classes. All three of them had been stopped before fighting Lomachenko and Luke Campbell had just lost to Jorge Linares just a year before. In fact Teofimo Lopez was the first undefeated fighter Lomachenko faced since Nicholas Walters, and Walters had just fought to draw against Jason Sosa just the fight before, a fighter that Berchelt brutally KO’d in 4 rounds.
Devin Haney has been waiting in line for over three years now, he deserves a shot at the belts. Also, lets give George Kambosos Jr his respect. He’s an undefeated bonified champion, who unlike Lomachenko actually beat the former undefeated champion.
Lomachenko lost the belts, simple as that. It’s Kambosos and Haney’s time now.