By: Sean Crose
“I saw a guy who came too fast,” George Kambosos says of Teofimo Lopez on a recent Joe Rogan Experience podcast. “He needed to be matched with someone who was not going to take one step backwards.” Needless to say, Kambosos knows what he’s talking about when it comes to Lopez, as he recently lifted the lightweight crown from the man last month. “I was never going to take one step backwards,” he says, “I never gave him that inch.” Listening to Kambosos, one gets the feeling that he planned on defeating Lopez mentally as well as physically in the ring.
“I felt he was a bully kind of character,” Kambosos reflects on the lead up to the Lopez bout. “He bullied Lomachenko. He bullied Comey. He cullied all his past opponents.” Suffice to say, Kambosos had no intention of being bullied by the popular Lopez. “I’ve come from bullying,” he says to Rogan. “I was an overweight kid at a young age. I’ve been bullied my whole life.” Believing he knew the sort of person he was dealing with, Kambosos entered the ring feeling he had an edge on his foe: “I knew it straight away – ‘Okay, I know how to stand up to this guy. I know what I got to do in this fight,” and he saw how serious I was.”
Kambosos says he knew Lopez was going to come at him hard in the first round. “We stayed focused,” he says of Lopez’ initial onslaught, “we kept the tunnel vision and we done the business…I knew how to get his respect straight away. He would come out crazy. I stayed composed.” Kambosos says he even told his team that he was going to make his mark early in the fight, which he did by putting the overly-aggressive Lopez on the mat. “You watch in the first round,” he said to them, “I’m going to catch him early.”
When Kambosos did just that, it changed the entire tempo of the right. “I don’t think many expected me to even stand a chance in the first round,” he says. “They (Lopez’ team) were so vocal about one round, one round, especially his dad.” Kambosos also feels Lopez himself was shocked to his core by getting dropped in a round where he was clearly going for the knockout. “I saw it in his eyes as soon as I landed that shot and he got up,” Kambosos says. “He thought: ‘What the f–k was that?’”
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