2022 is red hot in the way of meaningful matchups, and yet again, boxing fans have plenty to sink their teeth in this weekend.
George Kambosos takes on Devin Haney at the Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia, live on ESPN. Let’s take a trip down under where we find Devin Haney trying to crack history, becoming undisputed in the lightweight division. In his way is the current lineal champion or undisputed champ; however, you want to look at it, George Kambosos. Of course, the WBC had to muck up things in 2020, creating a ‘Franchise’ designation for Vasiliy Lomachenko to keep a version of the belt and still fight Teofimo Lopez. Regardless of how you look at the situation, this Saturday barring a draw should clean up any debate or confusion.
Much has been made about Devin Haney tagged as an e-mail title holder and a poor resume before his last two outings. Jorge Linares and Joseph Diaz Jr. served as actual testing grounds, and Devin passed but felt short of flyer colors. There’s no doubt that Haney showed his high-level talent in those two bouts. The problem, especially versus Linares, was that Haney’s chin seemed to be a tad bit suspect. For me, it was no big deal Devin was hurt by Jorge. To be clear, holding when a boxer is hurt is a very smart thing to do, but it was the excess holding for too long of a period that had some folks question his ability to recover. To be fair, Devin got buzzed again with Diaz and responded a whole lot better, showing his growth.
Moving over to the hometown guy in George Kambosos, full credit goes to him for taking on a massive challenge after shocking the world last November. Now George is trying to prove to the boxing world that he is not a one-hit-wonder. Kambosos has called himself the ‘emperor,’ claiming he will be able to hold on to his lineal status and dominate 135 for years to come. Of late, some of the lines have been corny, along with his cheesy entrance to the press conference early this week, but at least Kambosos is consistent. Sometimes getting into a fighter’s head can have a lasting effect carrying it with them the night of the fight. The most recent attack was calling Haney a snitch because he gave inside info to George heading into his fight with Teofimo Lopez.
Instead of re-watching Kambosos versus Teofimo, this boxing podcaster decided to re-watch George’s bout against Mickey Bey. Plenty of media members and fans may scoff at that, but in reality, it’s an excellent comp considering the fighting style of Devin Haney. Haney loves to establish his excellent jab before he begins to pot-shot and land power punches. Bey isn’t quite as active with his jab, but similar enough, Bey also fights at range and was able to pot-shot, landing lots of clean punches. Just as Haney will hope to accomplish, Bey definitely kept Kambosos’ punch output lower.
Kambosos, at times throughout the fight, was a bit hesitant to work his way inside, but when he did, he generally threw his punches in bunches landing quick combos mainly to the head. It will be interesting to see if George will be able to counter punch and parry punches, then land the left hook on the quicker Haney. Look for George to throw uppercuts, and left hooks lead or behind the jab. Kambosos holds his hands too low, allowing Haney to turn his left jab into left hooks and land flush.
Will Haney be able to keep that same work rate he had versus both Linares and Diaz Jr.? Beyond fighting at range with a slight reach, advantage Haney will need to be dedicated to the body attack, something he did very well in his last two fights. One significant difference from what Haney will most likely bring compared to Teofimo Lopez is pressure. Lopez showed little to no respect for Kambosos, which turned out to be his downfall. One can assume we won’t see Haney winging looping homerun shots trying to score a one-punch knockout in the early rounds. Lopez did get back into the fight to his credit, making it a tightly contested after 12 rounds. Let’s see if Kambosos can hurt Haney; if not, it could be a long, frustrating night.
The last thing that must be mentioned is the judges, with Haney being the visitor on the road. Even Manny Pacquiao couldn’t get a fair shake against Jeff Horn when the scorecards read 117-112 and the other two 115-113 when it was pretty clear Manny won the fight. Haney will need to outwork Kambosos, and his defense will have to be on point to make it look as close as possible to a whitewashing.
This hack-of-a-scribe does believe Devin Haney has what it takes to win this fight from the 7-5 to 9-3 range. Kambosos did get the nod in a competitive bout against Lopez, so maybe I’m overdoing it by thinking Haney has to win at minimum eight rounds.
My Official Prediction is Devin Haney via Split-Decision.
Written by Chris Carlson, Host/Producer of The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast Available at www.blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio. Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio