George Kambosos is an underdog again but at this stage of his career, it should come as no surprise. The unified lightweight champion was a 6-1 underdog when he fought Teofimo Lopez last year, but won the title via a split decision.
He’s now an underdog to Devin Haney when they meet on Saturday (Sunday in Australia) for the undisputed lightweight title at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia.
Haney is a -190 favorite at BetMGM, while Kambosos is +135 in his first title defense.
The bout will come down to how Haney handles Kambosos’ pressure. Haney is a magnificent boxer, but he doesn’t have the kind of power to keep Kambosos off of him. And so Kambosos, who overwhelmed the heavily favored Lopez with his pressure, figures to try to do the same against Haney.
In the early stages of the bout, Haney may have to stand his ground and fight to earn respect from Kambosos and slow his charge. If Haney can’t blunt Kambosos’ attack, he’s going to have to rely heavily on his legs.
Kambosos is 20-0 with 10 KOs and before his upset win over Lopez was seen as a hard-nosed guy who had a great work ethic and marginal skillset. He hadn’t fought anywhere near the level he did against Lopez prior to that fight.
If a bettor plans to risk money on him, one has to be sure that the win over Lopez was more of Kambosos’ maturation and fighting a smart fight and less about Lopez performing poorly amidst all sorts of chaos and disarray in his camp.
Haney is 27-0 with 15 KOs, but he gets his stoppages via attrition. It seems unlikely that Haney would stop Kambosos, so it’s probably going to go the distance.
That’s where I come to my pick. Haney is +100 to win by decision. Instead of laying nearly 2-1 on Haney to win, I can get him at even money by picking him to win by decision.
Kambosos is +500 to win by KO and he’s as unlikely to win by KO as Haney is. There is some value on Kambosos by decision at +280 and I was very tempted to take that. He’s fighting at home and the crowd could definitely have an impact.
When Kambosos fought Lee Selby at Wembley Arena in London, it was a split decision. The two judges who went for Kambosos, Yury Koptsev of Russia and Daniel Van de Wiele of Belgium, had Kambosos by scores of 118-110 and 116-112. Phil Edwards, the judge from the United Kingdom, scored the fight 115-114 in favor of Selby, the fighter from the United Kingdom.
Because Kambosos is a pressure fighter and will flurry a lot, the crowd will roar and that could influence the judges’ toward him. At nearly 3-1, Kambosos by decision is tempting.
But I see Haney’s boxing as the big difference here and I think he’ll fight a smart fight to neutralize Kambosos’ strengths. I’ll take the even money and play him to win by decision.
• I will lay the -550 and bet Stephen Fulton to win over Daniel Roman, who is +333.
• I will lay the -650 and bet David Morrell by KO/TKO/Technical Decision/DQ over Kalvin Henderson.