By: Hans Themistode
At one point, it seemed as though we would never get here.
With both Teofimo Lopez and George Kambosos Jr. enduring months of unwanted delays, the pair finally squared off in the ring. And while Kambosos Jr. assured everyone who would listen that he was idoneous to truncate the title reign of the unified lightweight titlist, no one believed him until it was too late.
As the New York crowd burrowed into their seats at Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden, they immediately voiced their displeasures as Kambosos Jr. made his way to the ring. The smiling Australian native appeared unaffected as he shook his head and sauntered on.
In a contrasting manner, the jam-packed crowd stood to their feet and roared as Lopez marched his way to the ring. Moments later, following their respective introductions, Kambosos Jr. quieted the crowd.
With so much built-up frustration, Lopez came out like a man possessed. He winged a hard right hook to kick things off. While Kambosos Jr. evaded the hit, Lopez continued his all attack. Seemingly surprised by his man’s aggression, Kambosos Jr. back-peddled for much of the round.
Just when it appeared as though Lopez had pocketed the first round, the Australian native landed an overhand right that saw the unified lightweight titlist hit the deck for the first time in his career.
A smiling Lopez nodded his head in approval as he seemed to give Kambosos Jr. his credit. As the following round kicked off, Lopez appeared fine. He bounced up and down on his toes and began tagging his long-time rival with hard stinging shots. In round three, it was much of the same as Lopez appeared to grab the momentum. That said, Kambosos Jr. refused to allow an opportunity of a lifetime slip through his fingers.
The Australian product began tagging Lopez repeatedly in the fourth. Unwilling to allow Kambosos Jr. to command the round, Lopez attacked the midsection of his man. Regardless of his increased work to the body, Kambosos Jr. didn’t let up as he continued to dominate the period.
With the halfway point of their contest rolling by, Kambosos Jr. was in complete control. He showboated at the crowd and continued to make Lopez miss in the process. Seemingly irate at this point, Lopez finally began finding his rhythm in the eighth. With his father urging him to pick it up, Lopez began picking him apart.
In addition to the unified titlist finding his mark, Kambosos Jr. seemed to be running on fumes. In the 10th, things appeared extremely bleak for the road warrior as he hit the deck, courtesy of a right hand from the 24-year-old.
For the duration of the round, Kambosos Jr. back peddled and attempted to box and move. In a complete change of events, Kambosos Jr. seemed to catch his second wind. In the final two rounds, he connected repeatedly with overhand rights and straight lefts.
As the final ten seconds of the 12th began ticking away, both men stood square in the middle of the ring and slugged it out. Though their contest was officially over, Kambosos Jr. pushed Lopez as he ran around the ring fully convinced that he had done more than enough to win their contest, he was right.
Though it was ultimately tight, Kambosos Jr. was awarded the split decision victory. Referee Don Trella scored it 114-113 in favor of Lopez but he was overruled by Frank Lombardi 115-111 and Glenn Feldman 115-112.
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