George Kambosos Jr did it. After months of being jerked around by incompetent hanpromoters, an opponent who always seemed indifferent to fighting him, and five venues and eight different dates, Kambosos got in the ring with Teofimo Lopez and shocked the world, winning the WBA, IBF, and WBO lightweight titles, as well as the Ring Magazine championship.
Right off the bat, let’s make this clear if anyone is still wondering: Lopez did not have a rematch clause. This was an IBF-ordered mandatory fight and went to purse bids. Kambosos does not owe Lopez a rematch. Kambosos is free to do what he wants from here, and he’s also not tied to any broadcaster, though you can be sure they’re all going to want him.
In fact, a lot of people are going to want Kambosos now. So let’s get into what might come next for the sudden star and newly-crowned king — er, “emperor.”
Rematch with Teofimo Lopez
Despite Kambosos (20-0, 10 KO) not having to give Lopez a rematch, it could still be an attractive option. George himself floated the idea of doing it in Australia in a big stadium when Teofimo interrupted his post-fight victory speech to claim he was robbed.
But the money would have to be right. And just like I think we have to give Teofimo some time and not completely judge him on the basis of a “heat of the moment” reaction, let’s also not hold Kambosos to “heat of the moment” stating a desire to rematch Lopez (16-1, 12 KO) in Australia. Maybe, when Kambosos really sits down to think about it, he’ll wonder whether or not he wants to give Teofimo a rematch.
After all, just to play devil’s advocate, why should he? Kambosos was treated like an afterthought by most fans and media, and he can probably brush that off pretty easily — especially since just like me, pretty much everyone is now falling over themselves to give him all the credit he deserves. But he was also treated like an afterthought by Lopez.
It was Lopez who had to pull out in June, not Kambosos. Kambosos was ready to go. It was Lopez who refused to fight in Australia, which Kambosos clearly took a little bit personally. And it was Lopez who, however you slice it otherwise, disrespectfully stepped on his moment of celebration in front of New York and the world.
And for the record, I’m also not saying Lopez should have been raising Kambosos’ hand and carrying him around on his shoulders, shouting, “This is the real champ! He beat me!” in the ring. The two got pretty personal leading up to the fight, or at least Lopez took it that way; Kambosos actually stated before the fight that it was not at all personal to him, and looking at it all now, he was clearly just doing what he thought would give him an edge. He was right.
Doing an immediate rematch would depend on a few things:
- Lopez staying at 135 lbs, which based on Saturday he probably should not;
- The money being right;
- Kambosos wanting to;
- Lopez being willing to accept that Kambosos now dictates a lot more things, like where the fight takes place.
I don’t think it’s going to happen. That’s a lot of boxes to tick off.
Devin Haney vs Joseph Diaz Jr winner
Next Saturday on DAZN, Devin Haney will defend the WBC lightweight title against Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr, a fight many are looking forward to, and one that should be plenty interesting.
Haney (26-0, 15 KO) and Diaz (32-1-1, 15 KO) both definitely had eyes on the fight last night:
The Haney-Diaz winner would be a natural fight to make, and would give us the chance to crown a true and actual undisputed champion at 135 lbs.
Haney is a Matchroom and DAZN fighter, and while Kambosos is tied to neither, he has worked with Matchroom a couple times now on DAZN, and obviously they’re going to want him back if they can get him. Diaz is a Golden Boy fighter and, for now, a DAZN fighter. We’ll see what Golden Boy and DAZN do with their current deal expiring. A logical thing would seem to be making a new deal with a broadcaster dug in with boxing and not going away any time soon, but Golden Boy don’t have the greatest history of doing logical things, in all honesty.
But if everyone wants it, Kambosos vs the Haney-Diaz winner should be easy enough to get done.
Gervonta “Tank” Davis
“Tank” is set to fight Isaac Cruz in a Showtime pay-per-view main event on Sunday, Dec. 5, and let’s be real, with what we saw on Saturday, let’s not fully write off Isaac Cruz. Boxing has been wild lately, and it’s been refreshing for fans.
But if Davis (25-0, 24 KO) does win as most expect, a fight with Kambosos would be a chance for Gervonta to — how to put this delicately? Actually win a real title anyone other than him takes seriously at 135 lbs. Hmm. Guess there’s no way to put that delicately, really.
Kambosos still has ties with promoter Lou DiBella, and DiBella did have something of a falling out with Premier Boxing Champions a couple years ago. But I’m guessing the fight could be hashed out if the fighters want to do it. Frankly, I bet Kambosos would love his chances to pull another “upset” against Davis, a small lightweight who has yet to look over 130 lbs the way he can look at 130 lbs.
Never one to let a trending topic pass him by, Garcia (21-0, 18 KO) hopped on Twitter quickly, too:
My return fight I’ll fight Kambosos— RYAN GARCIA (@RyanGarcia) November 28, 2021
Massive respect to kambosos for that performance honestly you deserve it and all love go celebrate— RYAN GARCIA (@RyanGarcia) November 28, 2021
It’s been about a year since the 23-year-old Garcia fought, when he beat Luke Campbell in Dallas, and he took time out earlier this year to deal with mental health issues, canceling a fight with Javier Fortuna, and just recently canceled a planned fight with the aforementioned JoJo Diaz to have hand surgery in mid-October.
Garcia would probably be smart to not go right at Kambosos upon return — not just the injury, but the rust and whatever else — but maybe the deal is the right one, and maybe he just thinks he’s too good.
Lomachenko (15-2, 11 KO) will return on Dec. 11, and his fight with Richard Commey should also not be chalked up to an easy win. He should win, he’s favored to win, but Commey (30-3, 27 KO) is no joke, he’s a big lightweight and punches like all hell. Lomachenko can’t look past him.
But if Lomachenko does win, he’ll absolutely want to fight Kambosos, and Kambosos may find the chance to fight an amateur/pro legend like Loma irresistible, especially given that Lopez did not want to give Vasiliy a rematch.
Like everything, the deal would have to be right, but like everything, for once, it’s truly possible. There’s no fundamental reason the fight “can’t” happen.
A “soft” return in Australia
Nobody will want to hear this, but let’s not disregard the chance this is what happens.
Think back to when Jeff Horn upset Manny Pacquiao — which was nonsense, but it gave him a welterweight title and made him a sensation, especially at home.
Sometimes it seems like people believe Horn went right from Pacquiao to losing to Terence Crawford. He didn’t. Horn took a home defense against Gary Corcoran in South Brisbane first, a victory lap of sorts, a chance to showcase himself as defending world champion at home.
Kambosos could do something similar. Between the WBA, IBF, and WBO, there will be plenty of relatively soft touches ranked highly enough to be approved for a title fight. If Kambosos did go this route, I think he’s the kind of guy who would do the one “easy” title fight in Australia and then look for a big one. What might prevent that is potential looming mandatory title defenses; if he doesn’t want to get stuck in fights below his current earning potential, he might not want to “waste” an optional title defense.
Bottom line: The lightweight division is Kambosos’ oyster
There is not going to be a shortage of top names and top money offers for Kambosos. A big thing is, fair or not, a lot of these guys going to think there are now three belts there to be taken. They’re going to think they’re just much too good for Kambosos, and that they can pluck the straps easily.
Teofimo Lopez thought he was too good, too.