George Kambosos Jr takes on Devin Haney in an undisputed lightweight championship clash on Saturday night (U.S. time), plus Stephen Fulton Jr faces Danny Roman for two junior featherweight titles, and Kenichi Ogawa defends his 130 lb belt against Joe Cordina.
In other words, it’s a busy Saturday, and there are some good fights coming our way!
So who wins the biggest bouts? We’ve got our predictions for Kambosos-Haney and Fulton-Roman laid out with reasoning (mostly) and also quick picks for Ogawa-Cordina and David Morrell Jr vs Kalvin Henderson.
Bad Left Hook will have live coverage for all three events on Saturday, June 4, with Kambosos-Haney and Fulton-Roman coverage both beginning at 9 pm ET, as well as coverage for Ogawa-Cordina on Saturday starting at 2 pm ET.
George Kambosos Jr vs Devin Haney
Scott Christ (31-16)
It was a rare 4-0 week for the Big Dog (that’s me), including a true 4-for-4 on outcome method and all. If you followed my advice — which I do not generally suggest — and parlayed those outcomes, you made a little scratch. Uh, you’re welcome.
Anyway, let’s put aside my great gloating about being slightly less far behind third place than before and get to the weekend’s marquee matchup. Though I still have some questions about how good Kambosos really is, I am certain he’s really good at the very least, and while I didn’t do a bunch of words on it, I also have questions about Devin Haney still — more, in fact. But frankly Devin Haney isn’t as compelling a subject to write about.
We’ve seen Haney get rattled a bit against both Jorge Linares and JoJo Diaz, neither of whom are natural lightweights. Kambosos is a clever boxer, can pressure well when he needs to, and I’m not sure Haney is going to do well under pressure — much less the pressure of a proper lightweight, which Kambosos is. George may not be a “big puncher,” but he’s not feather-fisted, either.
With the home field advantage in Australia, I’m leaning toward Kambosos in a close fight. I can envision a scenario where Haney’s just got too much and sets the tone and tempo he wants and wins this 10-2 or something, too, but I don’t think Kambosos will go quietly, will be ready, and will make an argument out of it all. Kambosos SD-12
Wil Esco (34-13)
George Kambosos Jr made for a great underdog story in his upset win over Teofimo Lopez, and I think he’s made the most of his time in the spotlight. Unfortunately I think his time in the sun is coming to an end in this fight against Devin Haney. Sure, Haney hasn’t had the best of circumstances surrounding this fight with at least a couple of main staples of his corner unable to make the trip to Australia for the fight, but boxing is also a lonely sport where the combatant has to go it alone, anyway. I think Haney’s even keeled nature will serve him well in that regard, and he’ll pretty much do what he always does in terms of the kind of performance we can expect from him.
As for Kambosos, I think the biggest key to victory here will be to outpace Haney over the distance with consistent punching in combination. If he can manage to do that for long stretches of the fight I think he’ll give Haney some uncomfortable moments, but really I just think Haney’s a superior technician who’s more than willing to win a fight in dull fashion if that’s what it takes. I don’t see Kambosos overextending himself if the fight starts to slip away, so I think we’ll be seeing a contractually obligated sequel to this fight before too long. Haney MD-12
John Hansen (37-10)
(Editor’s Note: John did ask me to “let (him) know if (we) need a more serious pick” on this fight, but I decided this most accurately reflects his feelings, enthusiasm, and general energy about this fight. He was going to pick Kambosos one way or another. — Scott)
Patrick Stumberg (37-10)
I’m neutral on the Great Scott Debate, but I will say that George Kambosos Jr is certainly a quality fighter. It’s not just that he got in Teofimo Lopez’s head ahead of their fight; there are a lot of admirable gears that make up his game, and they meshed beautifully with those of Lopez.
The same can’t be said here. Kambosos’ best weapons are his sneaky, educated left hand and his ability to land precise volleys during and after his opponent’s punches. They worked a treat against Lopez’s disregard of the jab and tendency to rush in with his combos, but Haney simply doesn’t make those sorts of errors. He’s more than skilled enough to match Kambosos at range thanks to his speed, sharpness, and three-inch reach advantage, and his strong distance management has long given pressure-focused fighters fits. Kambosos just isn’t going to get the sort of opportunities that Lopez gave him and I’m not convinced he can make his own against someone this skilled.
That’s all moot if Kambosos’ trash talk can convince Haney to abandon his strengths, of course, but come on. Haney’s been a verbal punching bag for the boxing community ever since he was handed the WBC title; he would have blown his top ages ago if this level of uncivil discourse was enough to unnerve him. Expect him to keep Kambosos at the end of his jab for 12 full rounds. E-mail champ no more. Haney UD-12
Listen to our Kambosos-Haney and Fulton-Roman previews on this week’s podcast!
Stephen Fulton Jr vs Danny Roman
I’m a really big Stephen Fulton fan. I’m also a really big Danny Roman fan. As much as I’m excited for Kambosos-Haney, I’m bummed to miss this one live, because it’s a great matchup between two really good fighters.
Fulton has an elite-tier jab among today’s active fighters, and while he can “just box” really effectively, he’s not shy about getting into the trenches and mixing it up if opponents force it, and he can more than just hold his own. If you were mapping out a strategy to fight Danny Roman, you’d tell Fulton to jab and keep range, and I’m sure that’ll be at least a chief part of the plan, but Roman is good enough that he’s going to bring the pressure and bring some fight. Fulton will be there to meet him.
I think the Philly fighter takes it. Roman is a damn good fighter and should make this really competitive but I think he might be just starting to eke past his peak, while Fulton is right in his and might even have more strides to make. Fulton UD-12
Cool Boy Steph has been looked over more than deserved in my estimation. He’s a really good, complete fighter who has just about everything to offer from technique to a fan friendly style. Danny Roman has been the more established name thus far, but I think that’s mostly due to timing and Fulton just now starting to come into his own and get more and more recognition. I really don’t have anything bad to say about Roman, who is easily one of the nicest guys in the sport, not to mention have really good ability, but I also think speed kills and Fulton has a good deal more of that than Roman.
I think Roman comes out and tries to gauge Fulton’s speed and angles early, giving up early rounds while he gets his timing and tactics down, and then by Round 4 starts to apply more pressure and unload calculated counters. But I think by that stage he might have already taken enough shots to have dulled his blade while Fulton continues to carve him up like a ginsu. Fulton can really box, as can Roman, but Fulton’s athleticism and creative punching will be the difference. Fulton TKO-8
It’s a damn shame that a fight this good runs against Kambosos-Haney. It’s probably not going to be a rock ‘em sock ‘em affair, but this matchup promises to be a top level chess match between arguably the two most skilled guys at 122 pounds. We’ve seen both men tested and proven, Fulton in a majority decision win over Brandon Figueroa and Roman in a split decision loss to Murodjon Akhmadaliev.
I’ve gone back and forth on this one, and I’m ultimately just reverting to my first instinct of Stephen Fulton in a close decision. Expect a tense, tug-of-war type of match, the sort of fight that makes the commentary team inevitably lament the fact that someone has to lose.
We pick straight outcomes, but if we factored in betting lines and we could get 3-1 or 4-1 on our imaginary money? I’d go with Roman because this is such a tight margin, and the value leans to even a marginal underdog. Do with that information whatever you will. Fulton MD-12
This will mark the third (or fourth, depending on how you categorize Arnold Khegai) consecutive time that Fulton’s been tabbed to face an aggressive, high-volume body puncher, and his previous efforts have made two things clear:
- He’s far, far too willing to mix it up on the inside when he’s got a clear edge at range.
- He’s good enough on the inside to get away with it.
That’s really the long and short of it. The middle- and long-range battles are a wipeout for Fulton, seeing as Roman spent a good chunk of his fight with the aging, undersized Payano getting pieced up by combinations whenever he tried one of his many unsafe entries into the pocket. If Roman does have an edge in his wheelhouse, it can’t be a big one considering the way Fulton held his own there against the likes of Angelo Leo and Brandon Figueroa. I just don’t think there’s anywhere Roman can take Fulton where the latter’s not comfortable, especially since he seemingly lacks the one-shot power to throw Fulton off his game. Bring on MJ. Fulton UD-12
Kenichi Ogawa vs Joe Cordina
- Scott: Cordina UD-12
- Wil: Cordina UD-12
- John: Ogawa TKO-10
- Patrick: Ogawa SD-12
David Morrell Jr vs Kalvin Henderson
- Scott: Morrell TKO-6
- Wil: Morrell TKO-5
- John: Morrell KO-3
- Patrick: Morrell TKO-5