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Checkmate: Devin Haney vs Vasiliy Lomachenko

Updated: Jun 4, 2023

The Bet: Devin Haney -275


Bay-Area native, Devin "The Dream" Haney, the best lightweight in the world and undisputed division champion, will risk his unblemished record as well as his complete collection of belts in his 30th professional bout, when he faces Vasiliy "The Matrix" Lomachenko on Saturday, May 20, 2023 at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, Nevada. Haney is coming off consecutive unanimous decision wins versus George Kambosos, Jr., the last of which was decided last October.


Vasiliy Lomachenko, on the other hand, is a two-time gold medalist whose 396-1 record before turning pro qualifies him as among the most prolific and successful amateur fighters in the world. Since making the leap in 2013, Loma has been heralded as a world-class fighter, earning belts, at various points, in the featherweight, super featherweight and lightweight classes, and amassing a 17-2 professional record.


Haney, though, possesses a couple of natural attributes that give him a decided advantage on Saturday. For one, per the following Tale of the Tape table from theScore.com, Devin boasts better than a five inch reach advantage, which will allow him to remain beyond Vasiliy's grasp, while keeping the challenger within his own range. A writer for FightMatrix.com observed that, based on data from BoxRec through 2008, boxers with two to eight inch edges in the reach department boasted win rates of 57-65%. Relatedly, we have repeatedly documented the statistically significant advantage reach implies in mixed martial arts competition (see here for a recent example). In fact, backing fighters with decidedly longer limbs is among our favorite angles for MMA action.




Additionally, Haney is more than ten years Lomachenko's junior, which we think also suggests a meaningful advantage for the champ. After age 30, fighters lose elasticity and resiliency, which is to say that the ability to recover is diminished. Further, movement becomes slower and more variable. As a result, older fighters matched up with younger opposition tend to absorb more punishment, and suffer knockdowns more quickly (thus age represents another factor we love to consider in our analysis of MMA action).


Accordingly, we expect Haney to prevail. But this perspective represents the overwhelming consensus outlook. Bookmakers are pricing Haney at around -275, which implies about a 73% chance of victory. In the world of mixed marital arts (for which we have solid data, thanks to BetMMA.tips), fighters with more than nine-year age advantages and four to six inch reach advantages are 50-20, for a 71% win rate. This observation hints that Haney's moneyline is roughly fairly priced. Given that, unlike in MMA, in boxing, the possibility of takedowns and submission attempts (which could negate combatants' reach advantage) is non-existent, there might actually be a bit of value on Haney's moneyline.



The Alternate Take: 'Haney by decision' prop -170


For bettors that find -275 too steep a price to pay, we offer the 'Haney by decision' prop for -170, a lower cost play that we think is likewise highly probable.


In his prime, Lomachenko was not only an elite boxer, with a style characterized by speed, footwork and head movement, but Vasiliy was also a finisher, ending eight of his first 11 professional fights inside the distance. Since turning 30, however (and moving up to 135 lbs), Loma's power has proven conspicuously absent. "The Matrix" has finished only three of eight opponents, including one stoppage in the three campaigns (against mostly hand-picked competition) since Teófimo López handed Vasiliy his first legitimate loss.


Similarly, Haney's style does not lend itself to flashy endings. Devin is more disposed toward defense and is not likely to take the kind of chances that are generally required to stop shows. As a result, only 11 of 29 of his contests have been decided without judges' input.



As such, we regard a stoppage as unlikely. But BetUS.com has priced o10.5 at a prohibitive -650, implying an 87% probability that this affair lasts longer than the midway point of the 11th. Such odds are vastly unpalatable, to say the least, so we are passing on the OVER. However, we are comfortable combining the expectation of a Haney win with the likelihood that Lomachenko lasts for the duration, and betting the aforementioned prop.


Happy betting!!


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