Vasiliy Lomachenko and Richard Commey set for December 11 clash
Clearly looking to remain busy, former three-division champion Vasiliy “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko (15-2, 11 KO’s) is set for a December 11 return to action. On that date, the Ukrainian will face the challenge of Richard “RC” Commey (30-3, 27 KO’s) in the legendary Madison Square Garden Arena. Each of them is only one bout removed from their most recent defeat.
For Loma, he suffered his second professional setback last October. He lost via unanimous decision to unified champion Teofimo Lopez. Ironically enough, Lopez also toppled Commey by way of second round knockout, back on December 14, 2019. After those high-stake hiccups, Lomachenko bounced back with a June 26 ninth round stoppage of Masayoshi Nakatani. Likewise, Richard Commey hopped back in the win column after stopping Jackson Marinez in the sixth round of their February 13 duel.
NOT THEN, NOT NOW!
Certainly, this is definitely a solid match-up. However, it will only lend itself to the narrative that WBC lightweight champion Devin “The Dream” Haney is the division boogeyman. This is even more so due to the fact that Haney is looking to fight in December himself but has no dance partner. Why Hi-Tech, nor RC, are stepping up to a title fight is prime material for an episode of Unsolved Mysteries. The same goes for lightweights Ryan Garcia and Joseph Diaz. Both of them could have fought Haney next, as well. Still, both chose to compete in lower stakes bouts that held no title in the sway.
When Vasiliy Lomachenko was the WBC 135-pound champion, and Devin Haney was his mandatory challenger, he unloaded the title and picked up the farcical WBC “Franchise title.” With the designation, the “Franchise champion” doesn’t have to face mandatories. Therefore, Loma no longer had an obligation to face the Dream. At that point, there was a strong belief that the talented Ukrainian was dodging a fight with the Dream. This notion only strengthened when WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman contradicted his claim that neither he nor his team requested the Franchise title.
Yet, there was a healthy amount of folks who gave the decorated champion the benefit of the doubt. They couldn’t see him being wary enough of Haney to give up his belt simply to sidestep him. Now that Loma has no title, and Haney has his old belt with no dance partner, it’s a bit more of a paradox as to why Hi-Tech wouldn’t jump at the chance to reclaim his hardware. Provided he was successful, armed with the title, he could then apply a great deal more pressure on unified lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez with whom he’d love to stage a rematch. Since beating him, Lopez has displayed zero desire to provide Lomachenko with the rematch he so bitterly craves.
The same question marks and confusion surround Commey’s decision to go with the Ukrainian rather than the Californian. It’s not like RC was not aware that Haney was an option. For a brief moment, the two were woofing at one another via their social media accounts. During that exchange, it was stated that he would be happy to jump in the squared-circle with the Dream. As time has revealed however, his resolve must not have been all that firm.
There is the argument that perhaps Commey views Loma as the tougher challenge and more impressive scalp. While there is plausibility there, it’s still hard to get around maneuvering around a title shot. Provided that RC believes he beats Haney, does he think Hi-Tech would fight him without a belt but not with a title? Said to say, the title fight is bigger and, if victorious, the Lomachenko bout is still right there to be had.
Regardless of how we got here, here we are! And now we have an interesting prizefight of former champions trying to recover some of their tarnished glory. So putting the Haney business to the side, it will be fun to see how these two styles mesh on the canvas come fight night.
By: Bakari Simpson