Handicapping Potential Fights Inside Boxing’s Lightweight Division

Potential Lightweight Fights

Boxing’s Lightweight Division has been one of the greatest of all time with multiple generations of superstars and rivals who have taken the 135 pound weight class to new heights each time.

Julio Cesar Chavez is a legend and in his home country of Mexico, nearly a god. Later on, Pernell Sweet Pea Whitaker came along and dazzled us with his speed, elusiveness, and some consider the Virginia native to be the greatest southpaw boxer of all time.

RIP, Sweet Pea.

There was Roberto Duran who gave way to Sugar Ray Leonard and eventually, the legends of the 2000s, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather defeated virtually everyone in their way through the ranks.

Next, was The Matrix himself, Vasyl Lomachenko, who took the sport of boxing and particularly, the lightweight division, to new heights with his style of fighting without fighting.

Vasyl Lomachenko Dodgingf

Yes, he hits people but he also breaks them and he doesn’t break them from hitting them. He breaks them because they can’t hit him.

Some of the best boxers in the division have quit on the stool against him, Olympians at that, and not at all from damage. Pure frustration.

This is Sun Tzu stuff, The Art of War. Loma began to have problems, though, when he moved up to 135 pounds. This is what great boxers do. They go up in weight in search of greater challenges and more world title belts. Loma doesn’t have much power so if his footwork and movement are somehow nullified and he has to trade at 135, he is in trouble.

Loma was dropped by Jorge Linares albeit in route to TKO victory but he can be hurt by these bigger guys.

When Vasyl fought Teofimo Lopez last year, he ran into a wall when Lopez was able to track some of his movement and force the smaller Ukrainian to exchange with him. What the young and cocky New Yorker was able to do was extraordinary and now that he is the champ, who is next?

Teofimo Lopez Vs Lomachenko

Loma is going to have to go to the back of the line if he wants another shot at the title(s). Lopez has almost all of them. He does have a mandatory defense of his belt against Australian George Kambosos Jr.

The Aussie brings some slightly different challenges to the ring than Teo has seen in his last couple of fights but I think very highly of the Brooklyn native and his ability to defeat anyone in the lightweight division.

Let’s put together some dream fights inside boxing’s most exciting weight class, the lightweights. After we make our dream matchup, then we can handicap the fight. Then, when the fight is announced in the next year or so, you will be that much farther ahead than your peers and ready to jump on a betting line that could be off.

Teofimo Lopez vs Devin Haney

These two fighters have been jawing back and forth and not in a respectable way at all either.

There is so much talk about sparring sessions between the two men that went down years ago and honestly, that means nothing to me. Sparring is sparring. I know that boxing kinda sets it up to be like a mini-fight with the headgear and even referee sometimes but it is still sparring.

Please Note:
Sparring is when you try things that maybe you wouldn’t try in the ring in a competition and that is the only way you’re going to be able to use this new move in a live competitive setting.

I believe that these two men are the cream of the crop at 135 pounds. I love Vasyl Lomachenko and he may come back and beat everyone. He has the style to do so but I think he is just out-gunned up here and if those big guns have boxing skill like Teo, Loma is always going to have a problem.

Lopez is big for 35, real big and he is as fast and sharp as you could imagine. I think he matches up very well with Devin Haney but we could say the same for the latter.

Devin Haney

The Dream is fighting out of Las Vegas, Nevada, the fight capital of the world, and currently has a professional pugilistic record of 25 wins with no defeats. He doesn’t quite have the professional resume as Teofimo Lopez who has already defeated a couple of top ten fighters, something Devin Haney has yet to do.

Do we rush this fight? Both guys are just 23 years old! Man, this division is sick! The time is now, also, because both men are so good that a respective climb up the weight classes from each boxer is expected.

One of the biggest things that stands out to me on the tale on the tape is the difference in reach. 3 inches go to the challenger, Devin Haney. The Dream also has more pro fights than Teofimo. This is a very difficult fight to handicap and an even harder one to predict. Teofimo Lopez has defeated Vasyl Lomachenko and Richard Commey already, both in convincing dominant fashion, and for that, I have to make him the favorite.

Haney is so freaking technical, though, and will probably give Teofimo Lopez his most difficult challenge of any of the lightweights.

These two definitely have the want to fight each other. Just check out the call and chat that went down on Mike Tyson’s Hotboxin’.

Handicap: Teofimo Lopez (-135) vs Devin Haney (+115)

Ryan Garcia vs Gervonta Tank Davis

Tank is not getting the respect he deserves. Did you guys miss his last knockout win or something?

You can’t go to the well that many times. Leo Santa Cruz threw three consecutive right hands in rhythm while he had his back to the ropes. On the third one, just like your coach queues you up on the focus mitts, Tank slipped outside of the lead right and promptly landed a powerful lead uppercut that slept his opponent resulting in his 23rd knockout in 24 professional fights.

Shout out to German Meraz, the Sonoran fighter who is the only man to go the distance with Tank Davis.

Tank who trains out of The Mayweather Boxing Club in Chinatown, Las Vegas, has a few years on his fellow lightweights as the elder statesman of 26 years old. His potential opponent today, Ryan Garcia, is just 22 but coming off of the biggest win of his career.

We picked right when we said Ryan Garcia was going to stop Luke Campbell.

Ryan Garcia Punching Luke Campbell

I admit that I was a little worried about that bet when Cool Hand dropped the kid with a super sneaky “underhand” left.

He set him up to the body first and then when he threw big with the elbow still pointing downward, Ryan braced for another body shot but caught one on the chin. His ability to recover was what impressed me the most but with that said, there wasn’t much of an attempt to finish the fight from the Brit.

Ryan Garcia would do the same thing to Luke later in the fight, just the inverse. Garcia is so fast that Luke Campbell had no choice but to cover when Ryan threw a left hook. The strategy was working out very well until it wasn’t. Ryan rared back big like he was going to the head but instead and without changing his level, closed the distance and dug a lightning left hook to the liver that left Luke laying there in agony.

Both men are coming off of incredible knockouts but strength may play a role in this fight. Also, if Tank would have hit Garcia with an overhand, he likely wouldn’t have recovered. Ryan will have 4 inches of height on his opponent and a few inches also in the reach department as you might expect.

Since we have seen Ryan dropped by a mediocre power puncher, a fighter who is just as crafty, faster, and much more powerful could really hurt the young man. This is another phenomenal fight but I have to give Tank Davis the edge here, albeit a slight one.

Handicap: Tank Davis (-125) vs Ryan Garcia (+105)

Teofimo Lopez vs Gervonta Davis

Tank is a broad guy. He has a solid reach of nearly 68 inches but only standing 5’5” in sandals leaves him 3 inches shorter than the world champion, Teofimo Lopez.

Teofimo Lopez WBC Belts Team

That, of course, leaves the overhand right for Tank which I’m sure he would try to land on the taller Teofimo.

The overhand right, whether it is being used recklessly or very tightly, is one of the most dangerous punches in boxing.

When I first came up, Chuck Liddell was all the rage and I thought that was the extent of the overhand right and my first coach never taught us when to look to land it or how to throw it with efficiency. I just thought it was a bar room wild punch but when I broadened my horizons in Las Vegas, it quickly became one of my favorite punches to throw. Any time someone is being lazy with their jab, you can come right over the top and land.

This works great for those taller than you and it is doable against the shorter fighter as well.

I think this punch will be Tank’s best chance to win is to land the overhand right with regularity and force if he wants to defeat Teofimo.

Gervonta Davis

He is going to have to do something to stop his forward pressure.

I don’t think Gervonta will be able to push Teo back and will have to rely on his big guns to halt the New Yorker and make him think about coming forward with possible impunity again.

I like the size advantage for Lopez here and I think he can match Tan’s power so I will give Lopez the edge here at (-200).

Handicap: Teofimo Lopez (-200) vs Gervonta Tank Davis (+150)

In Conclusion

I just want to fast forward time for a little bit until we can see some of these dream matchups. They are going to happen. I know that. There is too much money to be made for them not to go down.

  • Will one fighter make it to and/or stay on top for years?
  • Is Teofimo Lopez going to dominate the rest of the division or will we see the world title belts change hands several times?

I haven’t been this excited for a division in boxing since Mike, Evander, and Lennox Lewis in the 90s.

  • So, Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield are going to fight for 10 million dollars?
  • How crazy is that?

Hey, I’m all for it. Anything we can do as humans to keep the last great decade alive is cool by me. For me, music and movies peaked in that decade and as a Knicks and Redskins fan, well, it’s been a while.

Please Note:
As for today’s stellar stable of lightweight boxers, I think Teofimo Lopez is the best fighter but Devin Haney matches up very well with him because he has the size to match and maybe have slightly cleaner technique, particularly defense. I think Gervonta Tank Davis will have too much power and pressure for Ryan Garcia but we didn’t mention this but I think the kid, Ryan Garcia, has a decent shot at defeating Devin Haney. If he can continually beat him to the punch, Garcia has a path to victory over Devin Haney.

If Garcia fought Teo, I think Lopez would walk him down and eventually hurt him with a short shot over the top. Let’s hope for every possible matchup between these four fighters and Lomachenko as well if he is still interested.


Mike Pruitt / Author

Mike has been covering sports professionally since 2017 but on the amateur scene for 25 years since when he was 12. Before the internet changed the world, he would keep detailed statistical box scores of NFL and NBA contests, write recaps, and voluntarily commentate games and fights alone in his room. Mike's military experience, Bachelors Degree, and employment thereafter were always rooted in engineering, science, and teaching. Now he enjoys being able to express himself through writing about football, golf, and car racing among other sports but most of all fighting as his life has been rooted in mixed martial arts including competing and teaching for the past 15 years.

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