Many fans are looking forward to a session of boxing in its purist form as Devin Haney defends his undisputed title against former three-division champion and legendary amateur, Vasiliy Lomachenko.
Whilst the bout is being promoted as a ‘chess match’ akin to an Olympic final, we may see the clash take a different shape after taking a look at the statistics.
With his well-documented amateur record of 396-4, Lomachenko has boxed his way to further glory in the professional game, with his ring generalship and IQ allowing him to dictate each of his wins and control his opponents.
Across all weight-divisions, ‘Loma’ has averaged the tenth highest number of jabs landed per round, scoring with 6.5 every three minutes.
Meanwhile Haney lands around 5.2 jabs per round, an efficient 24.8% of every jab thrown, the seventh best rate across all divisions and two places higher than Lomachenko (24.3%).
Haney vs. Loma – Undsiputed Lightweight Championship. Can Loma get past Haney's efficient jab? Loma opponents land less than 2 jabs per rnd. for more content, go to: https://t.co/X32c4rPP6Mpic.twitter.com/Lo4KqvdWTZ
— CompuBox (@CompuBox) May 17, 2023
These statistics, provided by CompuBox, detail exactly what the public believe ahead of Saturday’s fascinating match-up, with both men undoubtedly keen to win the ‘battle of the jab’ and in doing so, control the tempo of the fight.
However, it is both men’s ability to negate their opponents jab that could mean the ‘most important punch in boxing’ plays less of a part in the showdown than many anticipate.
On average, Haney’s opponents land just two jabs per round, with the Ukrainian’s counterparts struggling even further, landing just 1.8 per round.
Instead, the importance of the establishing the jab could well be replaced by establishing the role of the aggressor, in order to push or slow down the pace of the fight at will.
We have seen efficient power-puncher (lands 47.5%, 2nd highest in sport), Lomachenko, become keener to assume this position after losing his title as a consequence of allowing Teofimo Lopez to bank early rounds, and we could see him apply that same pressure on Haney on Saturday night as he did to Masayoshi Nakatani in 2021.