Real or not – Vasiliy Lomachenko will return to form; Naoya Inoue ready to become undisputed at bantamweight


The world titlists held serve Saturday night time in Las Vegas, as Naoya Inoue, Mikaela Mayer and Jermall Charlo efficiently retained their belts. However whereas this upcoming weekend does supply up one other world title struggle within the type of Gervonta Davis going through Mario Barrios at 140 kilos — maybe Davis’ finest preventing weight — there’s a unique little bit of intrigue heading into Saturday.

Vasiliy Lomachenko hasn’t stepped within the ring since dropping his light-weight titles to Teofimo Lopez final October. Since that point, he has had surgical procedure and loads of time to get better, however will we get the Lomachenko of outdated on Saturday night time’s High Rank card in Las Vegas? Will he showcase his extremely efficient rhythm, which takes his opponents out of their very own recreation, or will Masayoshi Nakatani show to be an excessive amount of for a primary struggle again?

As we glance additional into the long run, can we anticipate extra gold from Inoue because the bantamweight division strains up one other unification bout? And regardless of her clear win this weekend, is Mayer prepared for Katie Taylor?

On the boxing sideshow entrance, Oscar De La Hoya returns this September to face Vitor Belfort, however will he endure the identical destiny that Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. did this weekend in opposition to Anderson Silva?

Michael Rothstein, Ben Child, Cameron Wolfe and Brett Okamoto supply up their takes on what’s actual and what’s not relating to boxing’s greatest headlines.

We are going to see the Vasiliy Lomachenko of outdated on Saturday

Actual. Within the latter half of Lomachenko’s upset loss to Teofimo Lopez, we noticed what made Lomachenko among the finest pound-for-pound fighters on the earth. Lomachenko, 33, has numerous beginner mileage on his physique however simply 16 skilled bouts. And regardless of final 12 months’s defeat contained in the High Rank “bubble,” Lomachenko nonetheless has so much to supply within the light-weight division.

Nakatani is an efficient opponent, however he will likely be a heavy underdog in opposition to somebody who remains to be in ESPN’s pound-for-pound high 10. And despite the fact that Lomachenko doesn’t appear to have the identical energy within the 135-pound division that he did at junior light-weight, he ought to nonetheless be thought-about one of many high lightweights till he reveals in any other case. — Child

Can Naoya Inoue unify all 4 bantamweight belts?

Actual. Very, very actual. Inoue is, at worst, one of many high 5 pound-for-pound boxers on the earth, no matter division. On the age of 28, he’s nonetheless in his prime and appears to get higher each struggle. He’s additionally very cognizant of the place he sits within the pound-for-pound rankings.

So, in different phrases, he understands what is required to attain generational greatness. Plus, he needs these fights — craves them. He’ll struggle anybody, and has already mentioned he’ll await the John Riel Casimero-Nonito Donaire winner.

That struggle will likely be difficult when it comes for Inoue, however he has proven nothing to point he has holes in his method that might hold him from turning into undisputed at bantamweight. — Rothstein



Mikaela Mayer goes the gap to efficiently fend off Erica Farias and defend her WBO junior light-weight championship.

Mikaela Mayer is prepared for Katie Taylor at light-weight.

No, not actual — not but. Earlier than Mayer may even take into consideration a superfight in opposition to Taylor, she ought to concentrate on unifying her division — Maiva Hamadouche is subsequent later this 12 months. If Mayer can unify two world titles, and particularly if she places on a robust efficiency in opposition to Maiva Hamadouche, she’ll have a greater case to make.

Mayer is extremely proficient, however Taylor is perhaps the perfect within the recreation, together with Claressa Shields. I might additionally wait to place this struggle on, as a result of having two unified champions in opposition to each other is a struggle that may promote.

And this is perhaps a stretch however one thing to think about: It could be a heck of a struggle to introduce utilizing three-minute rounds for ladies’s bouts. — Rothstein

Gervonta Davis ought to keep at 140

Unclear. Davis has to determine what he needs to do subsequent, and decide to it. Proper now, it’s unclear what Davis needs his profession to be. He hasn’t stayed in a single division lengthy sufficient to essentially develop into a major participant. There’s little question he’s one of many 4 large names across the 135-pound division, and Davis, Devin Haney, Ryan Garcia and Teofimo Lopez are all younger, rising stars who’ve the potential to hold the game.

However who, precisely, does Davis wish to face? None of these fighters are beneath the Premier Boxing Champions umbrella, in order that requires PBC’s Al Haymon to do enterprise with different promoters to make these large fights occur. Haymon has definitely proven the willingness to do this if it makes monetary sense.

Davis is preventing Mario Barrios at junior welterweight for one of many secondary belts within the 140-pound division. It is sensible for Davis to remain at that weight provided that Josh Taylor vacates the undisputed title and strikes as much as welterweight. That leaves a path for Davis to struggle somebody like Regis Prograis after which make a push for one of many 4 main belts at 140.

Mapping out all these paths is a enjoyable train. The massive questions, nonetheless, stay. How nice does Tank Davis really wish to be? And is he keen to struggle the names that matter to make that occur? — Child

Oscar Valdez will beat the winner of Shakur Stevenson-Jamel Herring at 130

Not actual. Valdez would defeat Herring if that bout occurred. However in what would possible be deemed near a 50-50 bout between Valdez and Stevenson, Stevenson’s protection, footwork and method would assist him outbox the extra highly effective Valdez to earn a call victory, in my eyes.

Valdez is the king of the junior light-weight division proper now, however Stevenson is probably the most expert fighter of the group. I consider he beats Herring later this 12 months, after which Valdez subsequent 12 months, to develop into a unified champion. — Wolfe

Oscar De La Hoya will lose to Vitor Belfort

Actual. Effectively … I suppose that relies on whether or not a “winner” is even declared. This struggle was introduced as an exhibition, presumably which means there gained’t be an official end result. However that didn’t cease offshore books from opening Belfort as a small betting favourite.

With out query, De La Hoya is the extra skillful boxer. Belfort has had one skilled boxing match in his lifetime, and it befell in 2006. De La Hoya is a former world champion boxer in a number of weight courses. The very fact I’m even writing that sentence — Oscar De La Hoya is a extra skillful boxer than Vitor Belfort — reveals how a lot fight sports activities have jumped the shark in 2023. The plain nonetheless must be said in occasions like these.

However De La Hoya hasn’t been a fighter since he retired in 2008, and at 48 years outdated, there are legit questions as to how match he even is to compete in a fight sport at this level in his life. Belfort, who’s 4 years youthful at age 44, had been competing in MMA often (at a excessive stage) up till 2018. Whether or not or not De La Hoya is the superior boxer (he’s) gained’t matter as a lot because the period of time he has now spent as a civilian. Frankly, I anticipate Belfort to knock him out. — Okamoto

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