Devin Haney may not have put in the most thrilling performance, but he became undisputed lightweight champion tonight, beating George Kambosos Jr by unanimous decision in Melbourne, Australia.
Haney (28-0, 15 KO) won on scores of 116-112, 116-112, and 118-110 from the official judges. Bad Left Hook’s two unofficial cards were 116-112 Haney and a controversial 115-113 Kambosos.
Haney, 23, came in with the WBC lightweight title, or you can say he didn’t, I guess, if you still need that, but either way he’s leaving with the WBC, WBA, IBF, and WBO belts, winning the latter three from Kambosos tonight, and also picking up lineal recognition at 135 lbs as well as the Ring Magazine championship.
Kambosos, 28, just never really got into this fight, never had a stretch where it looked like he was in control of the action, and always seemed to be either waiting for Haney to do something or trying to respond to Haney doing something.
But, being frank, Haney doesn’t do a whole lot that is easy to take advantage of, and was mostly content to work behind his jab, tie up when the fight got in close, and just win rounds, however unspectacular it may have been.
In short, it was a Devin Haney fight, for better or worse, and George Kambosos Jr just couldn’t do enough about it to make it any other way.
“This is a dream come true. I was going through it without my dad being here, because this was a big moment for both of us,” Haney said. “We both dreamed of this. Since we started out, we wanted to be the best. It would have hurt me to accomplish this without him.”
As for the fight itself, Haney said, “I was comfortable. I was sticking to the game plan. It was to hit and not get hit. I did that for the majority of the fight. I took the last round off because I knew I was comfortably ahead, but I fought a good, smart fight.
“I (took away) his best things. He wanted to land the overhand right hand and the big left hook. I (took those away). He couldn’t hit me with either punch.”
“I take my hat off to him. He’s a true warrior. Anybody that steps in the ring, I respect,” Haney said of Kambosos. “There was nothing but respect in the whole build-up. Even though he got disrespectful, I stayed respectful. I want to thank George Kambosos and all of Australia for coming out.
“Thank you, George, for giving me the shot. A lot of these so-called champions wouldn’t give me my shot. George was a true champion and he gave me my shot.”
Kambosos, who made sure to hand all the belts he had over to Haney, also had some comments.
“This is amazing for the sport, amazing for this country. At the end of the day, I want to take the best tests, the hardest tests. I’m gonna give him full respect after his victory today, let him have his time, and we’ll do it again.
“I thought the fight was very close, but I’m not gonna wreck his moment. I had my moment last November and my moment was wrecked. Let him have his moment, and I’ll see you again real soon.”
Kambosos also refused to blame his trouble making weight on Friday for losing the bout.
“No, no, that was definitely not a factor. He just boxed his game,” he said of Haney. “He moved, he boxed, he didn’t really want to come to fight too much, but that’s his game. I give him respect. I’m gonna change a few things and get him back later this year. All respect to him. I take the risk, I fight the best of the best, and at the end of the day, I didn’t have to fight him. Not many wanted to fight him, but I gave him the shot straight away. I’m sure we’ll do it again.”
“It landed a few times, I worked it to the body, but he had a smart game plan. He grabbed and held a lot, and did what he had to do to win. That’s what it’s about, you do what you have to do to win. Today, they gave him the decision, but I’m sure it will change when we get it on again.
“Respect to him. Respect to boxing. This is boxing. You fight the best. Win, lose, or draw, that’s what it’s about. Fuck protecting records. I’ve always been about fighting the best. I gave him a shot and we’ll do it again.”
As far as the rematch clause — which Team Haney said ahead of time was put into the contract and is required to be in Australia again — Kambosos stressed he wants to exercise it, and Haney was less committed.
“I’m a warrior. For me, this is adversity and I have to come back. It’s part of the game. I’m not here to protect zeroes,” Kambosos said. “We’ll do it again. This is going to make me hungrier. I gave him the opportunity and I’m sure he’ll give me the opportunity now.”
“Of course, if it makes sense, the people want to see it, the network wants it, then of course I’ll do it again,” Haney said. “If not, then I’ll fight whoever. I’m not ducking or dodging nobody, but it’s gotta make sense.”