Given the behaviour of promoters and machinations of boxing organisations, it is seldom that the very best fighters box one another at their peak.
Self-interest and politics generally dictate the day, although that’s not the case this weekend when two of the most outstanding lightweights in the world clash in Melbourne, Australia.
George Kambosos and Devin Haney bring cachet, warrior spirit and unbeaten records to an arena that will hold 55 000 fans with many more thousands watching on television worldwide.
In Africa, the action will be broadcast live on SuperSport Action and Grandstand from 1am on Sunday (main bout expected around 3.20am)
Kambosos, the Australian, holds an assortment of titles, but what really matters is recognition as one of the best fighters in the sport. He assumed this title when he outboxed Teofimo Lopez at Madison Square Garden last year. It was a clinical demonstration of poise and boxing smarts that won him acclaim the world over.
A tireless athlete with an array of punches and ferocious work rate, Kambosos will draw energy from a wild crowd who will be cheering him on in his first home fight in five years.
He could hardly have chosen a tougher dance partner. America’s Devin Haney has long been viewed as boxing royalty on account of his flair and natural talent.
The man they call “The Dream” has beaten a slew of top names, Jorge Linares, and Joseph Diaz among them, and hasn’t come close to losing in a professional career dating back seven years.
Predictably, the pair traded barbs at their face-to-face showdown on Tuesday.
“He’s nothing but an actor,” said Haney. “He’s putting on an act, a facade, but at the end of the day I take nothing away from him. I have respect for him, I look forward to sharing a ring with him and putting on a good fight for the fans.
“There’s nothing he can do in the ring that’s better than me and I will show it on fight night. I take nothing away from him, I think he’s a good fighter, but I’m on a different level.”
Kambosos gave as good as he got, saying, “It’s okay, I’ve been the underdog my whole career. I kept turning up, I am the top dog, so no problem - you can have me at whatever odds, just like I was in the Lopez fight, and I’ll handle business this Sunday.
“The guy likes to run, he likes to move nothing special, the holes are there. He’s been hurt by an old pensioner in [Jorge] Linares, he was hurt by a little featherweight/bantamweight in Joseph Diaz I was there ringside and nearly fell asleep because it was that boring but Sunday, I get to step inside the ropes and punish this guy.”
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