Devin Haney is back in Australia this week, as he’s set to rematch George Kambosos Jr for the undisputed lightweight championship in Melbourne this Saturday evening U.S. time, Sunday afternoon Aussie time.
Will Haney repeat, leisurely dominating to a decision? Will he turn up the heat and go after a stoppage win? Can Kambosos get another stunner result and make it 1-1 against the American?
Scott Christ (69-31)
I made a calculated gamble picking Kambosos back in June. Didn’t pay off. Won’t be picking him a second time. I just don’t think he has the depth of skill to beat Devin Haney, but he did at least fight him, and will again. That’s more than can be said for Vasiliy Lomachenko or Ryan Garcia, both of whom avoided ordered (or would-have-been-ordered) fights with Devin.
Haney is never going to fully wow people the way, say, a young, pre-welterweight Floyd Mayweather did. He doesn’t have that sort of flash and pizzazz to his game. But he’s a smart, well-rounded boxer who knows his skill set and has worked to maximize it. In an era where we often talk about a decline in basic fundamentals among even world-level fighters and too many fighters trying to work against what could/should be their obvious strengths, Devin Haney is a jab machine who isn’t afraid to make a fight boring.
That said, while I don’t truly believe in the bluster of Kambosos and the familiar stories of going back to basics, no distractions in camp this time, local media doing their best to fawn over the training camp stories, I also know Devin Haney-level fighters have lost fights where they weren’t, for one reason or another, all that motivated to be there in the first place and came in as if the result was a foregone conclusion. We watched Zab Judah lose to Carlos Baldomir. Much more recently, we watched Teofimo Lopez lose to George Kambosos Jr. There are dozens of other examples.
Maybe Haney and his dad are just returning the bluster favor from the spring press conferences and build-up, but they’re indisputably not on their familiar wavelength. I think it’s likely nothing, and that even if Devin has an off-night, his style is one where he will claw and survive and win — and deserve it — anyway. But it’s the little itch. Boxing is a sport that delivers a lot of weird stories when it comes to upsets. Haney UD-12
Wil Esco (81-19)
Honestly, it’s really hard for me to see what John sees in George Kambosos besides the spartan tattoos. Maybe if he could peel Leonidas off his back to lend him a hand in the ring here he might have better odds, but poor ol’ Georgie is gonna have to go it alone. And in a one-on-one scenario with Devin Haney I don’t see any real clear path to victory.
Yes, I still think Haney’s reputation is largely overblown by his undisputed status because when you really looks at it, he’s had the easiest path to undisputed, by far, when compared to other recent undisputed champions like Oleksandr Usyk, Terence Crawford, and Josh Taylor. Haney was promoted into one belt, and then won all the rest off a guy no one regarded very highly until he managed to upset a compromised, near-death, Teofimo Lopez. To me, that’s about as impressive as Thanos winning all six infinity stones off Spider Man’s fat sidekick friend.
And now that I’ve thoroughly riled up Hansen, he’s just gonna have to stew in it for a couple more days until he, too, witnesses the inevitable Haney points domination. Kambosos couldn’t deal with the jab-and-grab before, and he’s not going to dramatically reinvent himself in this rematch. Haney UD-12
John Hansen (77-23)
Back in June, I suffered the pain and shame that nearly everyone else in the boxing community already felt quite keenly at least once before: Being wrong about the outcome of a George Kambosos fight.
Haney jabbed and clinched his way to victory last time, and Kambosos couldn’t get any sustained activity going for himself. Credit to Haney, who made it difficult and unpleasant because of that sharp, unyielding lead punch, but blame also falls on Kambosos, who fought too cautiously, as fighters with something to lose sometimes do.
This time around, Kambosos has nothing to lose but consciousness. And boxing has already seen what the man can do against a bigger, younger, more naturally talented opponent when he’s hungry, with a heart full of fire and the freedom that comes from the world underestimating him.
I don’t believe in the knock that Haney has a weak chin, but it isn’t made of steel, and it can and has been cracked. We saw it happen against Jorge Linares, who got into an exchange and caught Haney with a counter right hand that left Haney wobbling like Jell-O on a subwoofer. Had that punch come even 15 seconds earlier, it might have ended the fight.
Well, anyone that’s watched Kambosos vs Lopez like it’s boxing’s Zapruder film knows that Kambosos knocked down Lopez with a counter right hand of his own in the first round of their fight. We’ve seen Haney rocked by the same thing Kambosos worked to perfection against Teofimo Lopez. If Kambosos can will himself through the incessant jabs and somehow wrestle his way free from Haney’s non-consensual cuddling, the path to victory is there.
11 months ago, I encouraged you all to join me in “pulling an emotional oar for a righteous cause.” Now, it’s Halloween season, and I still believe wholeheartedly in the Great Pumpkin. Join me, if you’re brave enough, for a party in the pumpkin patch on Saturday night. Kambosos KO-9
Patrick Stumberg (82-18)
This fight is a poster child for why boxing needs to step back and re-examine its overuse of rematch clauses. There was nothing in the first fight to suggest that Kambosos was a tweak or two away from success; his style is built around capitalizing when his opponents overextend, but Haney’s length and craft meant he never had to. I cannot fathom this going better for Kambosos when Haney, who never needed to go past second gear to outclass him, now has 36 minutes of data to work with.
Their first meeting was the best chance Kambosos will ever have to topple Haney and he couldn’t even find enough success to sway hometown judges. Haney outclasses him again. Haney UD-12