By: Sean Crose
The world is in for an undisputed lightweight championship fight this weekend, as WBA, IBF and WBO world titlist George Kambosos defends his belts against the highly skilled and undefeated WBC titlist Devin Haney. Kambosos surprised a lot of people last autumn when he bested the popular Teofimo Lopez by split decision at Madison Square Garden. Rather than taking a light touch for his first title defense Kambosos will instead face the formidable Haney in the scheduled 12 rounder. Although the 27-0 Haney is the favorite walking in, the 20-0 Kambosos wasn’t favored when he squared off against Lopez, either. Australia’s Kambosos will also be fighting in front a home crowd, as the bout will go down at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne.
“George Kambosos holds most of the titles,” Kambosos’ promoter Lou DiBella said. “He’s earned this. He beat Teofimo Lopez. He’s taken every challenge put in front of him. At times, he’s fought in front of nobody. He’s traveled the world and has fought on other people’s territory time after time in order to get the opportunity to be the undisputed champion. And now he’ll have the opportunity to gather every belt if he can beat Devin Haney.”
“I have visualized victory by any means,” Kambosos has said. “I have manifested everything, every part of this journey. They said that we would never be here, but only two people really believed it, me and my father. So, I manifested my victory, and I visualize victory by any means on Sunday.” For his own part, Haney appears to see this as a story worthy of a Rocky flick.
“A win would be very satisfying,” Haney said at a Thursday press conference, “because that means I did it against all odds, even when things weren’t working in my favor. They were trying to do anything they can to put me at a disadvantage. But when I come out on top, it’s going to be that much sweeter. I look forward to bringing the belts back and showing my dad what we accomplished together.”
Kambosos’ last fight was against the then highly lauded Lopez last November. Having defeated Vasily Lomachenko previously, Lopez was viewed as a man on his way to superstardom. With smooth moves, determination and a solid strategy, Kambosos broke up the party. After dropping the overly aggressive Lopez in the first round, Kambosos made it a point to not let his more famous opponent take over, thus securing a win and earning Lopez’ title’s.
Haney’s last fight was a unanimous decision over Joseph Diaz last December. He’s also bested the likes of Jorge Linares and Yuriorkis Gamboa on his road to this title opportunity before him. The Kambosos-Haney bout will be aired live on ESPN Saturday night. The broadcast begins at 9 PM Eastern Time.
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