By Allan Fox: Andre Ward says he has no preference between Devin Haney and Vasily Lomachenko for undisputed lightweight champion George Kambosos Jr. to fight in Australia in the first defense of his four straps in April.
Ward feels that WBC lightweight champion Haney (27-0, 15 KOs) and the former three-division world champion Lomachenko (16-2, 11 KOs) are equally great choices for the unbeaten Kambosos (20-0, 10 KOs) to fight next.
Kambosos is dragging it out seemingly forever, wanting to get the best offer and making sure he makes the right decision.
Considering the chances of Kambosos losing either one of those guys, it’s pretty understandable why he and his promoter Lou DiBella are making sure they get the very best deal humanly possible.
This might be it for Kambosos as a champion. If he loses to Lomachenko or Haney, his 15 minutes of fame will be over, and the odds of him ever winning another title are slim.
Kambosos is a good fighter, but it’s fair to say that he stumbled into the perfect situation in fighting an injured and weight drained Teofimo Lopez last November.
Had that been the same version of Teofimo that dethroned Lomachenko in 2020, Kambosos likely would have been finished off in the first round.
Haney has earned his shot
Devin picked up a couple of good wins recently, beating fading veterans Joseph ‘Jojo’ Diaz Jr., Jorge Linares, and Yuriorkis Gamboa.
It would have been nice if Ryan Garcia didn’t duck Haney because that would have allowed boxing fans to see how Devin could do against a younger fighter still in his prime.
“George Kambosos Jr is the undefeated lineal undisputed champion in my opinion,” said Max Kellerman on Max on Boxing. “Devin Haney disputes Kambosos’ claim because Lomachenko never fought Haney when Haney was his [WBC] mandatory.
“So when Lomachenko was elevated to super champ [with the WBC] and Haney was made the regular champ, right? Then Lomachenko lost to Teofimo and then Kambosos beat Teofimo.
“To me, that makes Kambosos the champion, and Haney has a belt, but to me, that’s his #1 contender. Haney has earned his shot at the very least at the very top of the division,” said Kellerman.
“To his credit, Haney says he’s getting vaccinated to go fight in Australia. He’s agreed to all of Kambosos’s stipulations, and he’s ready to fight. Kambosos seems to be holding out for the best offer, and Lomachenko, who has been impressive on the comeback trail, has been mentioned as a possibility for Kambosos.
“How should this play out, and how will it play out?”
Ward wants either Haney or Lomachenko
Andre ‘SOG’ Ward is sitting on the fence with this one, choosing not to go out on the limb and make his choice known for who he wants to see Kambosos fight.
Lomachenko lost his four titles to Teofimo Lopez in October 2020, so some believe that Loma had his chance and now needs to go to the back of the line.
If you’re looking at this from a business perspective, it makes sense to take the Lomachenko fight if Kambosos wants to sell tickets in a stadium fight in Australia. That’s assuming, of course, that Australia is going to allow fans in large numbers to assemble for a significant sporting event.
The COVID restrictions could get in the way of a large crowd attending Kambosos’ homecoming in April in Australia.
“I say you can’t lose with any of those fights?” said Andre Ward on the Kambosos-Haney and Kambosos-Lomachenko clashes. “Kambosos fighting Lomachenko or Kambosos fighting Haney.
“Either one of those fights are going to be massive down under in Australia. Both of those fights are going to be very difficult for Kambosos.
“Obviously, he’s got the toughness, the power, the grit, all the stuff that he showed against Teofimo Lopez to win those fights. You can’t lose with either one of those fights.
“Kambosos is flexing his muscles in this 135-pound division like he just beat Floyd Mayweather, but he will soon understand that if he is successful in his next fight, regardless of who it’s against, there’s a thing called mandatories.
“So, he’s going to have to pump his brakes and start fighting who the sanctioning bodies tell him to fight. But I like both of these fights [Haney and Lomachenko] for him. He should flex his muscles.
“He upset Teofimo. Nobody thought he would do it. Get the stadium fight that you want. I don’t have a problem with either guy [Haney or Lomachenko],” Ward said.
Devin called “email champion”
Haney has had it tough with the World Boxing Council’s questionable decision to make him their WBC lightweight champion after giving Lomachenko their Franchise tag at 135 in 2019.
While that move saved Haney the trouble of fighting for the belt the way ordinary fighters do, it cost him because he wasn’t seen winning the title by beating the highest-rated contender.
As a result, Haney is referred to as an “email champion” or “paper champion” in the eyes of a lot of boxing fans. Since being elevated to WBC champion, Haney has tried to get the fights against the top fighters that would help him be seen as a real champion and not a fake one, but his promoters at Matchroom Boxing have failed repeatedly.
If Haney can get Kambosos undisputed contest, he’ll finally be in the position to show the fans that he’s the real deal.
“I know that a lot of people give Haney a bad wrap, and they call him the email champion, but that has nothing to do with Haney,” said Ward. That’s a WBC problem. That’s a political problem. That’s a sanctioning body problem.
“Haney is doing what he’s supposed to do. He’s staying in the limelight, he’s got a great buzz on social media, and he’s building his name with every fight. Some people love him, and some people hate him, but they’re going to pay to watch him fight.
“Give me either one of those guys. I’m ready to watch this fight asap,” said Ward in wanting either Haney or Lomachenko for Kambosos.
If Matchroom Boxing and DAZN can come up with a big enough offer that pleases Kambosos and his promoter Lou DiBella, they could be the ones that shared the ring with him in April.