By: Sean Crose
The world got an undisputed lightweight championship fight this weekend, as WBA, IBF and WBO world titlist George Kambosos defended his belts against the highly skilled and undefeated WBC titlist Devin Haney. Although the 27-0 Haney was the favorite walking in, the 20-0 Kambosos hadn’t been favored when he had won his titles from Teofimo Lopez, either. The Kambosos-Haney fight was scheduled for 12 rounds.
First though, there was a bantamweight affair to be had. The 28-4-1 Aston Palicte faced the 25-2 Jason Moloney in a scheduled 10 rounder. Both men traded leather early on. Moloney dropped his man in the third. Palicte bravely got up but the fight was stopped by the referee as he quickly went down for a second time.
It was time for the main event. The first was something of a feeling out process, though each man appeared to get more comfortable as the round went on. Kambosos landed a hard right in the second. Haney, however, used his jab to good effect. The Philadelphia fighter appeared to take control of the fight’s tempo in the third. Kambosos wasn’t able to do anything truly impressive in the fourth. An aggressive Kambosos was able to land on Haney in the fifth.
Haney could be seen giving Kambosos looks in the sixth, while picking at him with clean punches. Kambosos was aggressive in the seventh, but Haney’s ability to throw Kambosos’ timing off was telling the tale. It wasn’t that the Australian wasn’t having his moments. He just wasn’t having enough of them. Haney was also tying his man up extremely well. In between rounds, Kambosos was looking somewhat beat up on his stool. The eighth round saw Kambosos still being unable to put anything meaningful together. Were it not for fantastic conditioning, Kambosos might have started to be broken down by that point in the fight.
The ninth round showcased the fact that the match was closer than some might think – Kambosos was able to keep up the pressure and land. Haney’s smooth punching was telling, though, as was Haney’s accuracy. With that in mind, Haney did go down in the round for a moment or two, but it was ruled a slip. Kambosos fought rough in the tenth, making the round close. Was Haney’s accuracy in the round enough for the American to take it? The awkward Kambosos was hard for Haney to shake in the eleventh, but Haney’s clean single shots kept Kambosos from turning the tide in his favor. The twelfth and final round saw Kambosos go at Haney gamely and with ferocity.
It wasn’t enough. Haney got a unanimous decision win from the judges and walked out of the ring the undisputed lightweight champion of the world.