By Sean Jones: Teddy Atlas expects former unified lightweight champion George Kambosos Jr to improve on his previous performance against Devin Haney from last June when he faces him on October 16yth in a rematch at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia.
Atlas feels that Kambosos (20-1, 10 KOs) will have studied the first fight against Haney (28-0, 15 KOs), and he’ll work on the flaws that he showed in that fight.
It’s pretty obvious what Kambosos did wrong. He let Haney control the fight from the distance with his jab, and he made very little effort in getting in close to land his shots.
It appeared that Kambosos was afraid to pressure Haney in the way that he needed for him to land shots and have a chance of winning.
We saw older fighters get in range to land their shots on Haney, but not Kambosos. He made no adjustments and allowed Haney to dominate the fight.
Kambosos is expected to retire if he loses the fight. When you hear that kind of talk from a fighter, it’s a sign that they’re no longer interested in fighting.
Whatever motivation and ambition that Kambosos once had, his loss to Haney seemed to take it away from him. It’s interesting that after just one defeat, Kambosos’s motivation has been sapped away.
“He agreed to go to Australia, and he agreed to a rematch. He had no choice but to fight a rematch right away first,” said Teddy Atlas on The Fight, talking about Devin Haney needing to give George Kambosos Jr an immediate rematch in Australia after beating him last June.
“He lived up to his agreement. It goes beyond his skill set. He kept his word. He [Haney] won pretty handily the first time, and he should be even more comfortable going down under over there after doing it once,” said Atlas.
Well, unless Kambosos puts in the same kind of performance he did against Teofimo Lopez, he’s heading towards his second straight defeat at the hands of Haney.
It’s fair to say that Kambosos is going to get picked apart by Haney if he chooses to stay on the outside the entire night. I don’t know why Kambosos would because he’s got to know by now that he stands no chance of beating Haney if he lets him dictate the fight by staying at range and jabbing.
“This guy is a consummate pro and a consummate boxer,” Atlas said about Haney. “That’s what he is. He’s not going to go out and blow you out with TNT or anything like that. He’ll catch you clean, but he’s not a TNT puncher. Tank Davis is a TNT puncher.
“The thing that scares me is he [Haney] keeps his head up in the air a little bit sometimes. Sometimes you can time him going out. He’s ahead of Kambosos. I like Kambosos a lot. He’s a real fighter,” said Atlas.
Haney has been hurt in his fights with Jorge Linares and Joseph ‘Jojo’ Diaz. Those guys threw a lot of punches, and they nailed Haney often enough to stagger him. I don’t think Kambosos is in the same league as those two fighters, though, which is why he failed to hurt Haney.
“Kambosos comes up behind him a little when it comes to skill level, ability level, and some of the pure ability areas, maybe. Kambosos, I like him a lot,” said Atlas.
“Kambosos, his thing is timing. Timing can beat speed. He used timing against Teofimo Lopez, who is a big puncher, and he dropped Teofimo because he timed him. He timed him and found he could hit him with the right hand.
“That tells me something. It tells me he’s cerebral. I already know that Haney is cerebral, but he should be better the second time. Kambosos, a guy that depends on timing, not speed.
“He doesn’t have that skill level where he can depend just on his pure ability, his genetics. He has to do it other ways. He’s got to think and overcome,” Atlas said about Kambosos Jr.
“He has some of those other skill sets. They come in handy when someone is faster than you and more skilled more genetically than you are.
“What it speaks to, I think he would be better the second time because he would have studied what he did wrong. He would have seen it because he knows he needs to help himself in those areas that he can’t depend on, only his physical assets.
“He would go to the cupboard. He’ll go to the film room and say, ‘I got to do more timing and do more of it and sooner. I can’t let Haney get into a rhythm. He got into a rhythm, and I couldn’t break that rhythm.
“I got to break that rhythm with my timing like I did with Teofimo when I won the world title, and I upset the world. Nobody expected me to win.
“‘Now, nobody expects me to win again.’ You always know he’s good as an underdog. He fights good in that position. Some people fight better as an underdog. They always had to overcome to make it.
“They didn’t have the skills to do it on physical ability. I think it’s going to suit him in the rematch. He’s going to see these things that he has to be a little bit better at and a lot better at and a lot sooner at.
“I think that, unlike some of our friends, he’ll take constructive criticism. He never had that ability. He never had anybody that said, ‘You’re the greatest since sliced bread and Coca-Cola put together.’
“He never had that. He had to go and earn it in a different way. So, I think he’ll be more prone to look at things that are warts and look at things that none of us like to look at.
“I think that’ll help him have a better fight. I think he’s going to have a better fight. I’m still picking Haney, but I think he’ll have a better fight,” said Atlas.