There may not be one fight on Saturday in the world of boxing with more stakes than the undisputed lightweight championship match between unbeaten champions Devin Haney and George Kambosos Jr.
An expected crowd of 50,000 will be at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia. (ESPN, 9:15 p.m. ET. Kambosos (20-0-10 KOs) will be fighting on Australian soil for the first-time since 2017. He is looking to continue his meteoric rise which saw him defeat Teofimo Lopez Jr. to claim the title in the WBA, IBF, and WBO champions.
As with his win over Lopez, Kambosos, 28, will be entered as the betting underdog, albeit a small one, when he hosts Haney (27-1, 15 KOs), the WBC champion and phenom who is long considered a future star.
The fight was dominated by the fact that Haney’s father, and trainer, Bill was prohibited from travelling to Australia because of a 1992 felony drug conviction. The older Haney, however, was able to get late approval and is expected arrive in Melbourne to be with his son.
Haney stated that a win would be extremely satisfying as it means I made it against all odds even though things were not going my way. They were trying to disadvantage me. It's going to be even more rewarding when I win. I'm looking forward to showing my dad the accomplishments we made together and bringing the belts home.
Kambosos originally wanted to defend his title against Vasiliy Lomachenko (former unified champion), who had lost his three titles to Lopez in an upset decision in 2020. However, the ongoing conflict in Lomachenko’s native Ukraine ended these plans and Kambosos slid Haney to try for the eighth undisputed male champion of the four belt era.
Are you a fan of MMA and boxing? Two of the most respected names in combat sports provide the latest news. Get the latest news and analysis from Luke Thomas and Brian Campbell at Morning Kombat. Below, you can see a preview of Kambosos against Haney.
Haney, a network promotional agent and network representative, signed with Top Rank, a co-promoter, to bring the fight on ESPN for big money. The fight will be broadcast in Australia on Sunday. There is also a rematch clause in case Kambosos lose.
It has been a difficult, long journey. Kambosos stated that everyone knows this, but he is ready for Sunday. "All my tough moments have prepared me for Sunday and I will shock everyone again. Underdog? Beautiful. We are prepared. We are warriors. We are ready for whatever the outcome may be.
"I love being the underdog. They have been against me all my career. They have been saying this my entire career. "I'm still the top-dog, and I'll be the top dog after Sunday."
In recent weeks, the trash talking between the fighters has intensified with Kambosos admitting that he was having fun and enjoying the moment. Haney made it clear at every opportunity that he believes there is nothing Kambosos could do to stop him from playing his game, from his words to the fists.
Kambosos stated that he believes he has ruffled many feathers and that he is very frustrated with me and trying to keep me out of his head. "But I feel that I've been in his brain for a long time, and I'm having fun with it. I believe in the art of war, and have used some strategies to get under his skin. To be fair, I don't bring out the big guns, as I haven’t needed to. He is just falling for the traps. "I am his slave."
Haney stated, "I knew he would do anything to get me off my game or unfocused." He can say whatever he likes, but I will do what I do when I step into the ring. I will win by any means. "This is the most important stage, but it is something I have always longed for. I feel that I am the better fighter. He has far more skills than I do. It doesn't really matter how the betting odds are because I will show them, no matter what. He is a level above me."
Here is the rest of this fight card, along with the most recent odds from Caesars Sportsbook. Next, we will be providing expert predictions and picks on the main event.
Regardless of the tight betting odds, it is clear who is the better fighter in this fight.
Haney will be entering with a three inch reach advantage and is as well-rounded as any top fighter today. Haney is expected to have a power and speed edge over his opponent. He has already proven he's a master of technical control when it comes to distance control and how he can win fights.
It is not clear if Haney's exposure to the world and the pressures of being the hated guest in a huge stadium will cause any harm.
Although Haney's wins over Yuriorkis Gamoa, Jorge Linares, and Joseph Diaz Jr. are impressive and far surpass anything Kambosos did beyond the Lopez win in 2010, critics haven’t forgotten the Linares fight's final rounds. Haney was unable to take a power shot late, and was forced by critics to keep the fight going until the end.
Kambosos' aggressive combination punching style at close range makes him a perfect Kryptonite to beat Haney. He did the same against Lopez, forcing the fight into an altercation and showing that he is the more skilled competitor. Kambosos was able to trade with Lopez in a good deal of trouble. His mental state seemed to have been compromised by the fight, and Lopez's personal turmoil made it difficult for him to find a partner.
Will Haney be willing to fight in the same areas where Kambosos have great success? In this instance, the odds are against it.
We must not forget that Haney can remove all the excitement from a fight to win conservatively and control the action from outside. This is similar to Gamboa's 2020 performance. While it is unrealistic to expect Kambosos or his opponent to walk away peacefully, Haney has the length and speed to make him pay.
Kambosos' fighting style could work for Haney, provided that Haney doesn't get clipped by something large. There are many levels to this, as the old saying goes.
Haney via UD12
Who wins Kambosos vs. Haney? Which prop is a must back? Check out SportsLine to find Brandon Wise's top picks for Saturday. This is the CBS combat sports specialist.