Kambosos on Haney rematch: “The Emperor is still ferocious and he’s back”
By Jack Tiernan: George Kambosos Jr is up against it with his rematch against undisputed lightweight champion Devin Haney this Saturday night.
Like always, Kambosos (20-1, 10 KOs) is ultra-confident going into the fight and feels like he’s got a great chance of turning the tables against Haney (28-0, 15 KOs) in their headliner at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia.
Kambosos hasn’t revealed what his game plan is for the fight, but it’s highly likely one that involves a lot of slugging because that’s what he failed to do the last time he fought Haney.
To have a chance against Haney, Kambosos cannot afford to try and box him as he did in the first fight because he was no match.
Kambosos lacks the natural power to trouble Haney, but that doesn’t mean he can’t load up on his shots to put everything he’s got into trying for a knockout. If Kambosos was able to drop Teofimo Lopez and turn his face into a bloody mess, he could do the same to Haney.
“I’m back to the underdog, back to a position that’s very familiar for myself,” said George Kambosos Jr to Top Rank Boxing. “I’m able to train in peace and put in the work and continue to be a better fighter.
“That’s what happens after your losses. You go into places where you come out a better fighter,” Kambosos continued. “I’m very focused, very relaxed.
“This is a two-part fight. He got me the first time. Congrats, champ. Now I’ll see you again. I’m always motivated. For me, I chase the biggest names, and I wanted the Lomachenkos and the Haneys because that’s the kind of fighter I am.
“People will say things, ‘He’s shot now; he’s done,’ whatever after one loss, but I could have sucked this for a long time. Fought whoever I wanted, cherry-picked, but I could never do that.
“That’s why with the rematch, I jumped straight back into it. Now, did I focus more on my brand? Maybe, yes. Maybe I got too focused on the hype and the brand and making a successful event instead of worrying about what got me there.
“That Lopez lead-up, that Selby, that Bey lead-up, the hard work where there were no distractions, no noise. Not uncomfortable, but it becomes distracting because you focus on your brand, and there’s a lot of commitments as a champion,” said Kambosos when asked if he was distracted by his hype.
“I’m not a champion who is quiet. Maybe now I’m a little more quiet and reserved, patiently waiting for my time on October 16th. I am outspoken, I am charismatic, and that’s what drove such a big event to do such big numbers all by myself.
“He did not play a part except his name Haney coming into the fight. But he did not play a part in the lead-up. He did not play a part in building this fight. I had to do it.
“Like I said, you live, and you learn and come back a better fighter. My mindset now is, yes, he won. It’s what he did. It’s what you do now. This is what matters. This is a two-part fight.
“Yeah, it is,” said Kambosos when asked if he feels like he’s a ‘forgotten man’ after suffering his first loss to Haney.
“The way I look at it, I take basketball, for example. Michael Jordan he’s playing in the finals; it’s a series. You win the first game, and you lose the second game, and you lose the third game. You come back in the fourth and fifth and wrap up the series. Who remembers who won in the end?
“That’s what it is. Yes, I was 36 minutes. I got to the top and beat [Teofimo] Lopez. Thirty-six minutes later, in the ring, I lost it all. Thirty-six minutes or less, I’m back at the top.
“Never any regrets. I look at myself in the mirror and say, ‘No matter what, I took the hardest challenge,’ and I took the hardest challenge in my whole career. So I was never going to change when I became champion.
“I want to continue fighting the best of the best. I’m in my prime now, I’m 29, and get back on top. That’s the most important thing. I know his [Haney] mindset now is, ‘I got all these different fighters,’ and I kind of fell into that trap in the first fight.
“They ask me about all these different fighters. Who am I going to fight next? I’m fighting Devin Haney. That’s the most important thing. When I’m victorious, God willing, that’s when I’ll analyze and look at all options.
‘But for now, there’s only one man in my sights. Look, I’m not going to give away anything, but ‘The Emperor’ is still ferocious, and he’s back,” said Kambosos.
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