‘No thanks’: Brutal US reality check for Kambosos

Devin Haney’s lopsided points victory over George Kambosos has fight fans and promoters wary over a possible rematch, despite the Australian former champion saying he’d activate the “tomorrow” clause if he could.

Kambosos was gallant in defeat against the classy American and was beaten to the punch all day through Haney’s snapping left jab, even though the box score does show the Aussie landed more power shots and may not have been beaten so convincingly when it came to the overall percentage of punches that landed.

Admittedly the optics weren’t great though, as Kambosos tried to get underneath the new 23-year-old champion, whose style was most pleasing to the eye. Every time Kambosos (20-1) tried to cut off the ring, Haney used his boxing smarts and either got tangled with the Aussie, stifling his rhythm, or slipped out working his way back to the center of the ring.

Kambosos paid the ultimate price for wanting to give the fans the best fight possible rather than cherry-picking another opponent for his first title defense in what was his first fight at home in five years.

As part of negotiations for Sunday’s fight, the pair agreed to a rematch clause that will see them fight again later this year in Australia, with Brisbane and Sydney touted as possible venues even though the Kambosos camp has a two fight agreement with the Victorian government.

While Haney expressed gratitude towards the former champion for giving him his shot, he was lukewarm when asked about the possibility of a rematch at his post-fight press conference, placing one condition on a follow-up bout, which has been panned by the US boxingworld.

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AS IT HAPPENED: Haney’s unanimous decision win over Kambosos Jr

“I gotta talk with my dad, Bob (Arum), Top Rank, and see what’s next, what makes the most sense,” Haney said. “At the end of the day, I’m a disciplined fighter, but everything’s gotta make sense.

“At the end of the day this is a business. The world knows me, they know my character, and I’m not ducking or dodging nobody.

“If they’re up for it (his team), then I’m up for it. This is a business, and before the fight, (Kambosos) told me, ‘It’s gotta make sense’. I made sure me and my team did everything that made it make sense. Whether I had to take less money, travel, come without my dad, we made a lot of sacrifices to make the fight happen. It all paid off.”

Speaking at the post-fight press conference, Kambosos Jr. was adamant he will exercise the clause.

“Yes, 100 per cent we will do it again,” he said.

“If I hadn’t given him this shot, he wouldn’t have had his moment right now. Today they gave him the decision, but I’m sure it will change when we get it on again.

“I felt the fight was very close,” Kambosos Jr. added.

“From what I’ve been told, I outlanded him, I outpunched him, you saw the fight.

“He had a jab but there wasn’t much else, I think he might have landed one or two right hands, but that’s about it. There wasn’t really nothing else. My body does not feel like I’ve been through a 12-round war, like it was with the Lopez fight.

“We will change game plans and go back to the drawing board but my confidence will always be sky-high.

“This is going to make me hungrier. True champions bounce back. The greats. Muhammad Ali, Roberto Duran, all these guys bounced back and that’s what makes their legacies. I will bounce back hungrier than ever.”

Nobody questions Kambos’ hunger, they never have. But Haney’s speed and natural talent will be difficult to combat. Kambosos needed to make the fight scrappy and fight close, and has done so in the past.

Yet Haney’s quick-fire jab, which didn’t connect at a high percentage at the start of the fight, was difficult to bypass. Legendary trainer Teddy Atlas also pointed out that the Sydney fighter will need the “right ref” to allow that kind of fight.

While Kambosos is convinced he can pull off another upset and claim the belts for a second time in a rematch, former fighters, fans and boxing writers in the US don’t share the Aussie’s optimism, and weren’t shy in expressing it on social media.

ESPN’s Mike Coppinger wrote: “George Kambosos is owed a rematch with Devin Haney later this year in Australia, and it’s not unfair after he did agree to give the American the shot. But after 12 mostly lopsided rounds, a rematch is a hard sell. “

US boxing expert Dan Rafael said: “Kambosos has a rematch clause. No thanks.”

MMA writer Ariel Helwani tweeted: “Kambosos has a rematch clause but not sure how they’ll sell this to the Aussie public again in a few months. That was quite one-sided.”

Haney and Kambosos continue slugfest

Robert Littal wrote: “Please Kambosos don’t exercise the rematch clause. Doesn’t have the power, speed or skill to deal with a locked in Haney. Just would be a repeat of what happened tonight. Let’s all move on to different things .”

Fighters also chucked in their two cents.

Errol Spence tweeted: “Shouldn’t be a rematch tho lol”.

Sergio Mora added: “Contractual rematch clauses should have ‘clauses’. NO Rematch unless needed, demanded or marketable.”

Erickson Lubin said: “Good work from Devin, I don’t see the rematch being no different, congrats champ. Undisputed!”

Badou Jack wrote: “No need for a rematch.”

Haney, Kambosos camps almost come to blows

Haney’s promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank, has never been a fan of rematch clauses and said so in the post-match press conference, while Kambosos’ promoter Lou DiBella described it as “promotional malpractice” not to get a rematch clause into a contract, even if it’s not popular.

“At Top Rank, we don’t look to give rematch clauses. You win, you win; you lose, you lose,” Arum said.

However, he was more diplomatic when asked if Kambosos should activate the rematch clause.

“Of course he should,” the 90-year-old added. “There was always a possibility that Kambosos would lose the fight, which he did. Therefore why wouldn’t you want to have a rematch clause?

“What I think is bad for boxing is like there’s a promoter in England named Eddie Hearn. You can’t do a fight with him unless you sign a rematch clause. That’s not good.

“I think that rematch clauses are bad for boxing. I understand why fighters and promoters want them, it’s business but it’s bad for the sport.”

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