For the first time in his career, George Kambosos Jr. did not have his hand raised at the end of a professional fight.
Instead, it was his American rival Devin Haney who took home the crown of the undisputed lightweight champion of the world as the 23-year-old put on a clinical performance for 12 rounds.
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Speaking in the post-fight press conference on Sunday, Kambosos Jr. admitted he will have to face a new type of adversity like never before.
Losing is one thing, but it happening in his first fight on home soil in more than five years — in front of over 41,000 fans at Marvel Stadium — will sting even more.
Howver in a sport in which some fighters become obsessed with retiring with an undefeated record, Kambosos Jr. is a breath of fresh air.
And it’s not a case of him changing his tune in the wake of defeat. Well before Sunday’s loss Kambosos spoke about about boxing obsession with perfect records — and why he’s never been afraid of losing.
“I love how the UFC is,” Kambosos Jr. said on The Joe Rogan Experience in 2021.
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“Losses are losses. Boxing has this stereotype where the zero is so important.
“I’m undefeated, but would you rather see the best fighting the best where you’ll get competitive fights and great fights?
“But unfortunately in boxing, it’s not like that.”
Aside from the magnitude of the occasion in which Kambosos Jr. lost, he also came up against a fighter who, from the age of seven, had trained under the Mayweather family.
It’s no surprise that learning from the Mayweathers helped Haney to develop a style with striking similarities to that of Floyd Mayweather Jr., a man who retired with a 50-0 record and is one of the greatest boxers of all-time, if not the greatest.
Mayweather Jr. was regarded for his defensive prowess as well as his lightning-fast hands and feet.
He also was a master of the sweet science of boxing: hit your opponent and don’t let your opponent hit you.
Haney brought that style against Kambosos Jr., with the Australian often punching at nothing, such was the 23-year-old’s sense of danger and his ability to remove himself from range.
The American brought the perfect game plan to Melbourne and stuck to it.
It didn’t have to be flashy and be a box office show of boxing for the fans, it just had to be effective and do the job.
That’s what Mayweather Jr. did and that’s exactly what Haney did.
And as Kambosos Jr.’s promoter Lou DiBella said in the post-fight press conference, Haney is “very f***ing good.”
“One guy really asserted himself using perfect technical prowess,” DiBella said.
“If you want to talk about a clinic of how you jab and how you keep your opponent at a distance, Devin executed a game plan perfectly.”
If there’s any solace Kambosos Jr. can take in the defeat, it’s that he lost to a man who could very well go on to be one of the greats in modern boxing.
As to how far Haney can go, Mickey Bey told foxsports.com.au before the fight that he “can become the pound-for-pound champion one day.”
To be just 23 years of age and to do what he’s doing now is a truly remarkable feat.
Not only that, but he had everything stacked against him in the lead-up.
Haney had a lopsided contract in terms of the payday which also included a rematch clause.
He flew across the world to fight in front of over 40,000 fans baying for his blood.
He had fully prepared to fight without his father and head trainer Bill, before he was granted a last-minute visa to enter the country.
Yet, Haney put on what was effectively a boxing clinic, defying his age to put on a truly mature performance that was the talk of the boxing world and became the unified lightweight champion.
Not even Mayweather Jr. accomplished a similar feat when he was 23 years old.
Of course, there’s still a long, long way to go before Haney can emulate Mayweather Jr.’s feat of becoming a world champion across five divisions.
But it’s hard to avoid thinking just how much Haney can achieve in the sport.