Light-weight champion George Kambosos Jr. will defend his world titles at dwelling in Australia on Saturday towards Devin Haney (ESPN, 9 p.m. ET with prelims on ESPN+ at 7:30 p.m. ET).
Greater than 50,000 followers are anticipated at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne to root for the native hero, who took the belts by defeating Teofimo Lopez final November. However Kambosos would be the underdog towards Haney, based on Caesars Sportsbook.
Kambosos (20-0, 10 KOs) has taken the lengthy highway to develop into champion, combating exterior his dwelling nation since 2017. Earlier than the Lopez struggle, he’d fought in Athens, Greece, New York and Wembley Area in London, the place he outpointed Lee Selby to arrange the title struggle towards Lopez.
Haney (27-0, 15 KOs) turned skilled at age 17 and fought 10 of his first 15 fights in Mexico. He gained the WBC interim light-weight title towards Zaur Abdullaev in 2019 and was then elevated to full champion when the WBC determined to call Vasiliy Lomachenko its “franchise” champ. And whereas Haney has defended that belt 4 occasions, there are doubters as a result of he did not win the belt by defeating one other champion. That is his alternative to show his standing.
Former two-division champion and present ESPN boxing analyst Timothy Bradley Jr. breaks down the struggle and picks the winner. ESPN betting analyst Ian Parker additionally supplies his take.
How Kambosos controls his opponent
George Kambosos Jr. shares his journey from being an unheralded Australian prospect, a daring transfer to the USA and now a world title protection on dwelling soil towards Devin Haney.
This can be a powerful struggle to foretell. It is loopy to me that Haney is the favourite. The oddsmakers are underestimating Kambosos. I consider he is like a snake charmer — out and in of the ring. He has a singular method of controlling his opponents, abusing them verbally and getting underneath their pores and skin exterior the ring whereas proudly owning the middle of the ring as soon as inside it.
There are two elements to Kambosos. He is actually good on the mic, and his work there will get his opponents to struggle the struggle he desires to struggle. We noticed this towards Teofimo Lopez. He acquired underneath Lopez’s pores and skin, and Lopez went into the bout uncontrolled. Kambosos was in a position to put him on the seat of his pants in Spherical 1 and management the struggle for probably the most half. All the pieces he does, Kambosos does with a objective.
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Saturday, June 4, 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN+: George Kambosos Jr. vs. Devin Haney undercard
Saturday, June 4, 9 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN+: George Kambosos Jr. vs. Devin Haney, 12 rounds, for the undisputed light-weight title
Kambosos’ complete recreation is constructed on manipulation and deception. Kambosos would not have the quickest fingers, like an Amir Khan or a Floyd Mayweather, however he is quick-fisted and makes use of his opponent’s offense to his benefit. He is a counterpuncher, and his bait, consider it or not, is his low guard. For those who watch his fights, you discover he carries his fingers sort of low. The proper hand is a bit beneath his chin, left hand down low, and what folks do not understand is that’s bait. He is permitting you to see holes and he desires you to throw punches so he can counter.
When you do not have your fingers all the way in which up, your peripheral imaginative and prescient is clearer and you’ll be able to see the punches coming. I’ve seen a variety of fighters which might be slick counterpunchers are likely to have their fingers low to allow them to see punches coming their method. It additionally permits them to get out of the way in which or step again and counter from numerous angles. Kambosos is nice at that.
I’ve additionally seen that he takes small steps contained in the ring, and if you take these brief steps you wish to pounce, searching for alternatives to land offense and reap the benefits of what’s coming your method. Kambosos is expert at reacting to what is going on on and it requires little or no considering. He simply must be positive he is on the correct distance and that any punch he sees coming, he has a set response.
Kambosos is sort of a shutdown nook within the NFL trying to intercept any ball that comes his method. You deliver your left hand again low, he is trying to time you excessive. You drop your proper hand, he is trying to counter. You are jabbing at him, he’ll attempt to take that jab away from you. That method he disables his opponent’s offense.
How do you beat a counterpuncher?
One factor you are able to do towards a prolific counterpuncher, one who can also be aggressive and might struggle off his again foot, is have an amazing jab. I do not actually like to speak about myself, however I can say I used to be a very good counterpuncher and I may struggle coming ahead and I may struggle going backward. I see small little issues that Kambosos does that I used to be fairly good at, too. And he is underestimated since you do not see something that actually stands out about him — not one factor — however I see why he grew to become the unified champ.
What Haney goes to need to do is dominate the struggle along with his jab. The jab is without doubt one of the most irritating issues for a counterpuncher. It would not matter no matter you wish to do, if you get hit within the face with the jab, it is an automated reset. It’ll take feints and many jabs simply to get some offense from Kambosos after which make him miss and pay.
Haney goes to need to not solely be first but in addition be final — and end his combos. When Kambosos strikes, he strikes quick and onerous and it’s together type. However he is there in entrance of you proper after, able to be hit. Haney goes to need to reap the benefits of that. Be first and in addition be final, and search for alternatives when Kambosos shouldn’t be set, shouldn’t be prepared. Haney goes to have the ability to arrange that along with his feints and his probes. Contact him, contact him, contact him and use numerous jabs, which Haney has.
I see Haney having an opportunity to land his jab as a result of, for those who have a look at the way in which Kambosos fights, a variety of his weight is on his entrance foot. He leans ahead so much and he is all the time able to push off to blow up, so a variety of his weight transfers over to his entrance leg. When he leans ahead, it brings his face somewhat bit nearer to the jab. And whereas all that’s arrange for deception, to make you miss and make you pay, he can be bringing his chin nearer to the jab of Haney, who could be very correct along with his educated jab. He ought to have the ability to land it successfully towards Kambosos.
The left hook is perhaps the important thing
I see a proper hand that may land for Kambosos excessive, and I additionally see Kambosos’ left hook being an issue for Haney. Kambosos shoots the left hook off straight pictures, so he’ll jab after which hook and he’ll sometimes lead with the left hook, too. Haney usually works out of the Philly shell (lead hand throughout your physique and again hand near your chin), and typically he misplaces his fingers by dropping one an excessive amount of or by not overlaying his chin. I believe Kambosos goes to reap the benefits of these alternatives.
I’ve seen Haney get hit by left hooks from Jorge Linares a number of occasions, and that is a shot that Kambosos must be searching for. That may additionally assist Kambosos switch his weight again onto his proper leg, and if Haney shoots the jab after Kambosos lands his left hook, Kambosos can be in place to land his overhand proper.
I see the left hook being a very good weapon for Kambosos. If Kambosos desires to win this struggle, he has to take the jab away from Haney. Counter it to be able to take it away as a lot as attainable.
How does Kambosos take away the jab from Haney? There are a variety of methods, however distance management goes to be crucial. He can knock the jab down, deflect it and misdirect it, which he is aware of the right way to do. Lots of people do not see what Kambosos does. He’ll flood the area along with his lead hand, nearly like a probe. He’ll stick it out, he’ll block site visitors simply by sticking a jab into that area to remove the jab of his opponent and any sort of offense coming again. We name that punch site visitors; you punch towards the site visitors so you possibly can deflect a variety of the offense coming your method. He clogs that area a variety of the time along with his lead hand. That ought to work towards Haney. Kambosos can even slip to the within and counter him.
Kambosos goes to be trying to catch Haney off rhythm; that a part of his recreation is why he is so good. Lopez is a implausible counterpuncher and was in a position to outbox Vasiliy Lomachenko. Then Kambosos outboxed Lopez. He lured in Lopez, the aggressor, and he made him pay for all his errors.
Kambosos has fast sufficient toes that he can get inside and counter off a single jab from Haney with combos. And the extra combos that Kambosos throws, the gang goes to go nuts and the judges are going to be extra entertained by his offense.
What can Haney do efficiently?
Haney is an ultra-technician with sharp reflexes and stylish boxing abilities. He has labored with Mayweather previously and embodied his ways, such because the shoulder roll, the Philly shell and an informed lengthy jab with a 72-inch attain. He understands vary and distance.
Haney is a slick fighter, fairly elusive defensively after unleashing his offense. He is not a man who will sit nonetheless and allow you to hit him again. He is a reactive sort of fighter. He is offensive-minded to a level, and he likes to dictate the tempo. I see Haney as a man who will take what he sees in entrance of him, take what’s given to him by his opponent and capitalize on it.
However due to his punching energy, Haney has advanced into a greater inside fighter, a greater physique puncher. He is advanced into what I’d name a long-distance swimmer. You realize Haney goes to go 12 rounds due to his lack of punching energy. I am not saying he cannot knock anyone out, however he is a long-distance sort of man. He is environment friendly, constant, a technical working machine. He is so clean with it — a pure.
A key punch for Haney on this struggle, apart from the jab, is the fitting hand. That can be an amazing punch for him, one he’ll have the ability to land successfully. However there’s one other punch he likes to arrange. He’ll set it up by throwing the hook after which, utilizing the identical physique mechanics, he’ll shoot a lead uppercut proper up the center. I see the lead uppercut being an excellent weapon for him on this struggle as a result of Kambosos will lean ahead and can be there to be hit.
In latest fights, Haney has develop into a very good physique puncher, dedicated to hitting the physique. While you try this, not solely do you weaken your opponent and produce down his protection, it additionally occupies the offense of the opponent as a result of he has to defend towards it. No fighter goes to sit down there and allow you to hit him to the physique and say, “OK, I am going to hit you on prime of the top.”
While you go right down to the physique, you decelerate your opponent’s offense, too. Physique punches do not solely come from the within, they’ll come whereas combating from the surface as properly. That is when you will notice that jab from Haney. He’ll probe, probe, get you trying on the jab up prime after which hit you down low with a jab to the physique.
If Haney’s recreation plan is to circle and take huge steps and transfer across the ring and dance his strategy to victory, I do not see that being profitable. I believe for Haney to win, he wants a mix of issues.
Haney goes to need to take average dangers on the proper time and take the initiative. He must step left, step proper — it is all about sudden actions and being set and able to punch on a regular basis. For those who let Kambosos achieve momentum and achieve confidence, he can develop into your worst nightmare. The truth that he is at dwelling means the stress is on him to carry out. Haney has to close him down, beating him at each facet of the struggle, within the inside, exterior, midrange, beat him from the surface with the jab, counter him and be energetic. And I consider Haney can do all of that.
Absence of trainers a giant drawback, however no excuse
Haney not having his coach and father, Invoice Haney, or his co-trainer, Ben Davison, in his nook Saturday is a drawback, however these are the playing cards he was dealt. On prime of that, and with all due respect, that is Haney’s first official title struggle. It’s important to keep in mind he was elevated from interim champion, he did not win the belt contained in the ring. He did not struggle a champion to develop into champion.
It is completely different if you end up going through an undefeated champion in his yard and you are attempting to take the titles away from him. The battle is way more intense, with nothing in Haney’s favor. All the pieces will really feel overseas to him. He is not accustomed to being in Australia and never having his trusted staff. I do know this sense as a result of I skilled it in Nottingham, England, once I confronted Junior Witter. I remoted myself and stayed near my staff, fully centered.
However Haney selected this path. He needed to do that. The good fighters reside for moments like this, as a result of now all the percentages are towards him. While you struggle in another country towards an area fighter, you do not belief anyone. Everyone will say they’re your pal, smile at you, need to provide you with issues, need to feed you, get you to signal issues — he must steer clear of all of that and simply deal with the struggle. Haney has to comprehend every thing he is finished up to now, every thing his father has finished with him all through his profession, has ready him for this second. Haney simply must execute his recreation plan.
Keep in mind, Haney’s attempting to do what Kambosos already did, when he traveled to America and defeated the champion, Lopez, to win the titles. Kambosos had some obstacles he needed to overcome, too. However he nonetheless did it. There should not be any excuses in any respect for Haney. And if he can pull this off, it is going to be large.
X issue: the jab battle
Whoever dominates the jab — not simply throwing it, however percentage-wise — goes to win the struggle. Additionally, this isn’t actually an X issue, however I am somewhat anxious about Haney’s chin. I noticed him get buzzed by Diaz and I noticed him get buzzed actually badly within the Linares struggle. That is two fights again to again. It was noticeable, so I am simply anxious about his potential to take a giant shot. And whereas Kambosos shouldn’t be the most important puncher, he punches onerous sufficient. We all know the punches you do not see coming can harm you, and we noticed Kambosos put Lopez down. One other factor is that Haney must attempt to win each single spherical or put Kambosos on his again. If he can put him on his again and dominate with the jab, he can get a choice win.
I am going with Haney. I believe he is particular. On the age that he’s, 23, he has finished exceptional issues in his profession. He turned skilled very, very younger. Nothing towards the champion, however I believe Haney is reduce from a special fabric and I believe he wins a break up resolution. A choose will give the struggle to Kambosos regardless that Haney might be going to win on the opposite playing cards by three or 4 rounds. I’d say seven rounds to 5 or eight to 4, however it is going to be a split-decision victory for Haney on the scorecards.
The wager, by Ian Parker
Kambosos is coming off probably the most spectacular win of his profession. He’ll be trying to defy the percentages because the betting underdog on this struggle, however may have his nation of Australia supporting him, providing up a home-field benefit. Kambosos must have the right struggle and land his energy pictures early if he’s trying to determine Haney. Haney, then again, must get previous combating overseas and deal with the ability of Kambosos. Being a defensive-minded fighter, this should not be a problem for Haney. If Kambosos cannot land early or throw Haney off his recreation, he’s going to be in for an extended evening. Search for Haney to make the most of his jab and unpredictable type to remove the ability of Kambosos and in the end get the win. Guess: Haney to win (-180)