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George Kambosos Jr reacts to win over Teofimo Lopez

Image: George Kambosos Jr reacts to win over Teofimo Lopez

By Huck Allen: George Kambosos Jr. looked relatively unmarked a day after his 12 round split decision victory over Teofimo Lopez last Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Kambosos (20-0, 10 KOs) weathered an early storm of heavy artillery fire from the big-punching undisputed lightweight champion Teofimo (16-1, 12 KOs) to wear him down and win a decision.

By championship rounds, Teofimo, 24, looked shelled-shocked from the mentally draining hit & run tactics employed by Kambosos. Teofimo wasn’t prepared for this kind of warfare, and he and his trainer Lopez Sr. had no answers to this battle strategy.

When Teofimo did attack in straight lines, he was met with a barrage of fire from Kambosos, frequently stopping his forward momentum, paralyzing him.

One could tell that the stress of continuous attacks from the more energetic Kambosos wore Teofimo down to the point where he looked like a tired fighter by the 11th.

Teofimo was climbing out of the trenches into no man’s land, pushing his attacks in predictable straight lines, which proved ineffective due to the circular movement Kambosos utilized.

Teofimo predictably started fast

“It feels good. All the hard work and the many years in the dark and in the trenches to pay off last night,” said George Kambosos Jr. to Matchroom Boxing a day after his win last Saturday night against Teofimo Lopez.

Image: George Kambosos Jr reacts to win over Teofimo Lopez

We knew he was going to come out firing, and that was part of the psychological games to get him, and I knew he’d come crazy. I just stayed calm, stayed composed through all his shots.

“I took a couple, but I knew his power wasn’t going to phase me

“You saw me in that fight, and in that battle, I had everything. No matter what, round by round, I was still going to be there and win by any means.

“I knew when I stepped inside those ropes; every stone was not left unturned because I put so much work when I stepped in there.

“I knew that when I stepped in there and that I knew it got tough, I had to be in the trenches, I was fully prepared,” Kambosos said.

Kambosos played the mentally weak Teofimo like a violin by getting him worked up in the weeks heading into the fight by talking of inevitable victory and showing no signs of self-doubt.

Teofimo looked angry in the first two rounds, scowling and loading up on everything he threw.

George knew Teofimo couldn’t break him

“I put in the work, and I really believed in myself. Many didn’t, but the most important thing is I believed in myself. I went in there round by round, dissected him, and took all his belts.

“I believed probably from my grandparents and from my ancestors. That lineage of Spartan warriors that we have, and I think it’s from there. It’s that mental toughness that I have; I feel like I’m unbreakable.

“What was he going to break me with? He hit me with his best shots, put me down, and I was going to get back up no matter what,” said Kambosos on Teofimo.

“I knew he made a mistake when he stepped in a little bit too heavy, and I lined him up with a beautiful right hand, caught him clean, and put him down [in the first round]. My life changed.

“That was what my plan was, and that’s what I did,” said Kambosos on his strategy to hit Teofimo with his best right hand in the first round to get respect right away.

“Round by round, that was the game plan,” Kambosos said on his game plan to win round by round. “He said he was going to be over with in the first round, but what was he going to do in the next eleven?” Kambosos said

Teofimo only fought in a sustained manner in rounds one and ten. Other than those two rounds, Teofimo only threw sporadic shots and looked for one big knockout punch rather than throwing combinations.

Likely, Teofimo didn’t possess the energy needed to throw combinations and put constant pressure on Kambosos the way he needed to win a decision or score a knockout.

You hate to discredit Kamnbosos for his win, but against a fighter with a better gas tank and ring IQ like Vasily Lomachenko, Devin Haney, or Gervonta Davis, he would have been fighting an uphill battle.

Kambosos’ strategy of using movement to find weak points in Teofimo’s defense wouldn’t have been effective against quality fighters like Tank, Lomachenko, or Haney.

Kambosos learned to stay calm under fire

“I knew after the first round was done, I was going to keep dictating and picking away, grinding away, being in the trenches, and doing what I had to do to win this fight,” said Kambosos.

“It was more of a flash knockdown. I think I got a little bit too excited with the crowd, and I felt that I was going to run him over and put him to the sword,” said Kambosos on him getting knocked down by Teofimo in the tenth round.

“I was picking him apart, and that’s a good learning curve too. Don’t get too emotional, and I got a little emotional at that stage and lost my composure, and that’s when I got put down.

“I got back up, and I was, ‘Okay, I’m going to get back to the game plan. That’s when I boxed unbelievable championship rounds and cemented the victory,” said Kambosos on him regrouping after being dropped in the tenth.

The hardest part of the fight for Kambosos was surviving the onslaught from Teofimo in rounds one and ten, as those were the points of the contest that Teo went all out trying to score a knockout.

Teofimo had nothing left in his gas tank after the energy that he expended in the tenth. It was pretty smooth sailing for Kambosos to cement his victory by outworking him in rounds eleven and twelve.

If Teofimo had pushed his body to the limits in the 11th and 12th, Kambosos would have taken advantage of his aggression by knocking him down again.

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