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Fight Picks: George Kambosos Jr. vs Devin Haney

George Kambosos Jr. (left) and Devin Haney (right) face off in Australia - Photy by Darren Burns courtesy of Top Rank
01
Jun

On Saturday, Ring Magazine and IBF/WBA/WBO lightweight champion George Kambosos Jr. and WBC titlist Devin Haney will meet to decide who is the four-belt unified champion at 135 pounds at the Marvel Stadium, Melbourne, Australia.

​The two will collide on ESPN, the broadcast begins at 9:00 p.m. ET/ 6:00 p.m. PT.

Kambosos turned professional in 2013. He won the Australian national title and an assortment of regional titles before moving his operations to America. The 28-year-old remained under the radar but stayed undefeated. He edged past tricky Micky Bey (SD 12) and then heading to the U.K. to do the same against former featherweight titlist Lee Selby (SD 12). Nothing on his record suggested he would be good enough to beat Teofimo Lopez. However, Kambosos dropped Lopez early and held on late to win a split decision to collect his current collection of Ring Magazine and IBF/WBA/WBO belts.

Haney, who is rated No. 3 by The Ring at 135-pounds, turned professional at 17 in Mexico. This super talent fighter built his record and experience scoring wins over Mason Menard (RTD 9), Juan Carlos Burgos (UD 10) and Antonio Moran (TKO 7). After being upgraded to full WBC titleholder following his dominant win over Zaur Abdullaev (RTD 4), the 23-year-old has since made four defenses, notably beating former three-weight world champion Jorge Linares (UD 12) and former 130-pound titleholder Joseph Diaz (UD 12).



Can Kambosos (20-0, 10 knockouts) capture lightning in a bottle for the second consecutive fight and upset the more naturally talented Haney? Will Haney (27-0, 15 KOs) be able to keep Kambosos honest on the outside and silence the home crowd? Or will Kambosos we able to rough up Haney and take him out of his comfort zone and make it a fight? How much will not having his father in his corner affect the American?

Online gambling group William Hill lists Haney as a 8/13 (-163) favorite, while Kambosos is priced at 13/10 (+130); the draw is 16/1 (+1600).

Here’s how the experts see it:

THE RING MAGAZINE/RINGTV.COM

DOUG FISCHER: KAMBOSOS UD/ MD

“It’s an intriguing lightweight matchup. Both young guns enter the bout with momentum and maximum confidence. George Kambosos Jr. shocked the boxing world by upsetting Teofimo Lopez for the Ring Magazine/unified championship in his last bout. The Greek-Aussie is an ultra-motivated aggressive boxer with underrated quickness and craft. He seems like the kind of competitor who will only get better as champion. Devin Haney is arguably the most gifted lightweight. The WBC beltholder has a near-perfect blend of athleticism, technique and skills, and he earned his two most significant victories — unanimous decisions over Jorge Linares and Joseph Diaz — last year. Those 24 rounds will serve him well vs. Kambosos, who will have the home country advantage defending his titles in Melbourne in front of 60,000 fans. Neither lightweight is a big puncher, but Haney gets respect with his hard jab and well-timed right hands. Kambosos is often able to score knockdowns due to his deceptively quick hands and punch creativity. I see a tit-for-tat distance fight, a high-speed chess match with Haney scoring well with his educated jab but with Kambosos coming on strong down the stretch and earning a slight edge on the official scorecards due to his aggression and a few well-placed shots that cause the American to wobble and hold on in a few rounds.”

TOM GRAY: HANEY SD

“I’ve gone back and forth with this one and could change my mind tomorrow. At his best, Haney is a beautiful technician and he’s the superior athlete. Kambosos’ desire and fighting guts just about evens that out, but I think Haney will bank enough rounds to win a close decision.”

ANSON WAINWRIGHT: KAMBOSOS MD

“I’ve never been that high on Kambosos and was shocked he beat Teofimo Lopez. That said I think Teofimo was distracted and had all sorts of issues going on outside the ring and took his eye off the ball. That allowed Kambosos to be the best he could be and upset Lopez. However, since then, I’ve been very impressed by how Kambosos has carried himself. He really believes in himself and will welcome the theatre of fighting at home in front of a huge crowd. Haney has also grown into his role as WBC champion. He’s added some seasoning to his game beating Jorge Linares and Joseph Diaz. No doubt in my mind Haney is the more talented man but I’m not sure if that will be enough. I don’t think Haney will be able to get Kambosos respect and Kambosos will bring the pressure and will be tough to dissuade in front of his home fans. I also think Haney will miss having his father, Bill, in his corner. I think it will be close but Kambosos will be spurred on by a partisan crowd to edge home a 12-round majority decision.”

LEE GROVES: HANEY SD

“If this fight were staged anywhere else, I would consider Haney a stronger favorite to win, but because the fight is in Australia, because (as of this writing) Haney will be fighting without his father/chief second, because Kambosos will be fighting before what is expected to be the largest crowd in Australian boxing history, and because Kambosos is riding the wave of the biggest victory of his career, Kambosos’ chances of victory are greatly enhanced. As for the fight, Kambosos’ best chance is to start quickly, hurt Haney early, and use the sonic support to keep driving forward from start to finish. But I believe Haney’s late-round scares against Jorge Linares and Joseph Diaz Jr. has helped him gain valuable experience because he handled the Diaz episode better, and he will use those experiences to help him here. I can’t forget that although Kambosos beat Teofimo Lopez, he fought a depleted and distracted Lopez who still managed to cut and floor the Australian. Just imagine what would have happened had the Lopez who fought Lomachenko showed up. I believe Haney’s boxing skills will accumulate just enough points to win by split decision in a fight that may well be scored unanimously for him elsewhere.”

MARTY MULCAHEY: HANEY UD

“I was expecting to find more support for George Kambosos Jr. after an impressive victory against Teofimo Lopez in America. Despite fighting on home soil this time, I see American challenger Devin Haney effectively keeping the distance and using his faster hands to score as his faster feet keep him safe from Kambosos’ counters. Kambosos will have some success in the later rounds, but I don’t see him overcoming an early deficit as Kambosos finally cuts off the ring in the championship rounds without landing that big fight-changing punch. Bottom line, Haney is just too tricky on defense and accurate on offense making Kambosos look ineffective with reaching punches. Scoreline of 116-112 seem right, but the fight is taking place in Australia (large crowd, jetlag, final training preparations, etc.) so a small side bet on a draw is not a bad investment.”

MICHAEL MONTERO: HANEY PTS

“Despite all the obstacles, I believe Haney will out-box Kambosos comfortably to win a unanimous decision in Australia. This is the American’s big moment, and he will seize it to become the undisputed lightweight champion of the world.”

NORM FRAUENHEIM: KAMBOSOS UD

“Devin Haney is a long way from home. His dad and trainer, Bill Haney, isn’t there. Australia denied him a visa because of an old drug conviction. Ben Davison was supposed to be in his corner. But he, too, is having trouble acquiring a visa. Now, Yoel Judah is expected to be in Haney’s corner. It’s hard to know just how all of the uncertainty will affect Haney’s chances. The odds favor him. But the Melbourne crowd won’t, especially over 12 rounds. There’s not enough power in Haney’s versatile skill set to silence the crowd or score an early stoppage of the aggressive Kambosos, who will stubbornly move forward for a narrow victory on the cards.”

DIEGO MORILLA: HANEY

“As much as I acknowledge that Kambosos is in a great place to win this, I really can’t see how he’ll be able to deal with Haney’s speed and accuracy, or sustain an effective attack long enough to do some damage. Haney’s defense is top notch, and if Kambosos gets frustrated early and starts looking for a big bomb to destroy his opponent in front of his fans, then he will have a long night ahead of him. Early pressure will be key to Kambosos, but Haney has more than enough tools to get the job done even in the most hostile environment possible.”

George Kambosos Jr. (left) and Devin Haney (right) face off in Australia – Photy by Darren Burns courtesy of Top Rank

BOXING INSIDERS

DUKE MCKENZIE (FORMER THREE-DIVISION TITLEHOLDER/TV ANALYST): KAMBOSOS

“They say every underdog has his day; well, I think Kambosos is about to have another day. Firstly, he beats the hotly favored Lopez to win the undisputed lightweight world title. Now he gets another massive scalp in the form of Haney. I don’t think Haney’s smooth boxing skills will be enough to rip the title away from the champion. Home advantage is massive in this fight. I’m going with the champion Kambosos via unanimous decision.”

CAMILLE ESTEPHAN (PROMOTER, EYE OF THE TIGER): HANEY UD

“Patience is a virtue for Haney. I certainly don’t see him wanting to go toe-to-toe with Kambosos. I think he will steadily wear down Kambosos on the way to a clear unanimous decision victory.”

RAUL MARQUEZ (FORMER WORLD CHAMPION/COMMENTATOR): HANEY UD

“Haney has all the skills speed footwork defense. Has to be in shape to box all 12 rounds. Kambosos will be motivated by the hometown crowd. Will make it uncomfortable for Haney.  I’m going with Haney in a close unanimous decision.”

KATHY DUVA (PROMOTER, MAIN EVENTS): HANEY PTS

“Haney has his back against the wall in this one, fighting in his opponent’s backyard and doing so without his corner. His jab could save the day if he commits to it throughout the fight. But it is going to be a tough task to keep Kambosos off of him all night.  Haney needs to come out and make a statement in the early rounds because if he gives up those early rounds in Kambosos’ backyard he will lose any chance of winning a decision. However, I do think that Haney will dictate the pace of the fight with his jab and will have success countering George throughout the fight. Haney by decision.”

JOLENE MIZZONE (MANAGER): KAMBOSOS UD

“I think Haney should win every day of the week, but I just think Kambosos has the upper hand with the fight in his home country and Haney fighting for the first time out of North America as pro may not work well for him mentally, but if Haney can overcome all of that and wins then I will stand corrected. Kambosos by 12-round unanimous decision.”

ROBERT DIAZ (MATCHMAKER, GOLDEN BOY): KAMBOSOS UD

“Very intriguing fight, two top young, confident and undefeated champions. How will Haney react to the crowd? Will he handle the pressure that Kambosos will bring? Devin is very talented and has the skills to win this fight, however I have a feeling that the home field advantage will play a huge part. I see a rugged Kambosos throwing Devin off and making him uncomfortable. Kambosos unanimous decision. ”

MARC RAMSAY (TRAINER): HANEY UD

“I think Haney has got all the credit he should have. He is an excellent technician with very good speed. Even if Kambosos has been very combative in the past, I think Haney is too talented and complete for him and I see a not too complicated fight. Haney unanimous decision.”

ALEX STEEDMAN (COMMENTATOR): HANEY PTS

“Fighting away and without both recognized coaches in the corner presents an enormous test for Devin Haney, but I’m certain he’s up to it. Haney might not be the otherworldly talent that he is proclaimed to be, but he’s mature beyond his years. He can match Kambosos for speed, and looks the more talented and varied of the pair. Great credit to Kambosos for the way he beat the man who beat the man, but the truth is we don’t quite know where he fits in yet. He might step up again, particularly as champion and at home, but Haney can find a way past that even though both still have something to prove.”

STEVE FARHOOD (TV ANALYST): HANEY

“I’ll go with Haney by controversial decision. He’s not hesitant to box, box, box, and move as much as is needed, and that will accentuate his speed and defensive ability. If he can get his jab untracked, he can do enough to steal a sufficient number of rounds.”

ERIC BOTTJER (MATCHMAKER): HANEY PTS

“Devin Haney is up against it. He’s traveling halfway around the world to face the man who whipped Teofimo Lopez in that man’s backyard. He’s going there without his trainer/father, who is always the lead in his corner. All that said, Haney wins. The talent gap is too deep, and Devin Haney is as prepared for this. He travels well, he trains like a monster and he’s had the right fights to prepare him for this moment. He wins a convincing decision.”

JOHN SCULLY (TRAINER): KAMBOSOS

“I like Kambosos and Haney as a fight. Normally I would pick Haney but all things considered I think the Australian is also the real deal and will prevail by decision.”

KALLE SAUERLAND (PROMOTER, WASSERMAN BOXING): KAMBOSOS PTS

“Kambosos wins in a great, back and forth fight via decision.”

SERGIO MORA (FORMER WORLD CHAMPION/ COMMENTATOR): KAMBOSOS PTS
“Great fight at right time. Haney has one of the best jabs in boxing. Likes to keep his range and fight at his pace. Kambosos is one of the best at timing opponents and breaking their distance. He also has the momentum. I see this fight being close with Haney controlling, but Kambosos pushing harder. Add the “home court advantage” And see the decision tilting in Kambosos favor.”

Final Tally: Haney 12-9

Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on [email protected]

 

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