Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Belated June 4, 2022 Boxing Thoughts

As the Boxing world was preparing for a busy day on Saturday, June 4th highlighted in large part by the Undisputed Lightweight world championship bout between undefeated champion George Kambosos and undefeated WBC number one contender Devin Haney in Melbourne, Australia, this observer was somewhat sidelined by effects from the topical weather system that would eventually be named tropical storm Alex. While fortunately, the effects in terms of weather turned out to be minimal for yours truly, it nevertheless made my usual coverage of Boxing cards difficult due to periodic technological outages.

As such, yours truly made the decision to write this column to cover the three main world championship fights that occurred that day in one column as opposed to covering each event individually. The first stop in this column will be the aforementioned Kambosos-Haney Undisputed Lightweight world championship encounter.

Although this observer was unable to pen a preview tor this fight here on The Boxing Truth® as is the norm for major bouts such as this due largely to the aforementioned weather -related issues, I was able to share some thoughts across my respective social media platforms on the day of the fight and I stated that it was crucial that the champion Kambosos not allow Haney to get into a rhythm due largely to the styles of the two fighters and Haney’s elusiveness and hand speed. I also felt that he needed to do this early in the fight in a similar manner as he was able to do in his championship winning effort against Teofimo Lopez last November.

Despite a significant advantage in having the fight in his home country and having many supporters amongst the fifty thousand spectators in attendance at Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium, the champion was unable to force Haney into a type of fight that would have been more favorable for him as from the opening bell, the challenger displayed a full skillset of both offense, defense, and counter punching. Haney accomplished this by working off his jab, using his elusiveness to offset a good portion of Kambosos' offense and effective counter punches, particularly with his right hand.

Although he was fighting under  circumstances of essentially being in a lion’s den by fighting Kambosos on his home turf,   it was not long before Haney’s Boxing performance and overall skills quelled the enthusiastic partisan crowd. Even though the crowd would react to anything Kambosos was able to land, those moments were few and far between and as the fight progressed what was going on in the ring began to feel more and more formulaic as Haney continued to win rounds and dominate the combat. While this fight did not have any thrills or drama that some may associate with a fight for an undisputed world championship and particularly one that takes place in a massive stadium setting, Haney’s performance was the type that if one is objective, should be praised and should silence any would be critics as he clearly formed a systematic fight plan and executed it with almost surgical-like precision in winning a wide twelve round unanimous decision to become the Undisputed Lightweight champion of the world.

Haney’s crowning moment however, does cone with a “To Be Continued…” subplot. The reason for this is a contractually stipulated rematch that will take place later this year once again in Australia and perhaps in the same venue Marvel Stadium. It is certainly understandable as to why Kambosos and those around him would have wanted such a stipulation in the contract. Based on what I saw in this fight however, and keeping in mind that George Kambosos is a highly skilled fighter in his own right, he will have to significantly alter his approach if indeed he does exercise the rematch clause.

Without a significant and perhaps drastic change in strategy, I believe strongly that we are likely to see a similar fight fought in the rematch and it will likely end the same way. Only this time, with Haney successfully retaining his undisputed world championship.

The remaining two bouts that will be discussed in this column took place in the 122lb. Jr. Featherweight and 130lb. Jr. Lightweight divisions. First in a scenario similar to Devin Haney’s championship winning performance against George Kambosos, undefeated unified WBC/WBO Jr. Featherweight world champion Stephen Fulton scored a dominant twelve round unanimous decision over former unified Jr. Featherweight world champion Daniel Roman at the Armory in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Fulton’s hand speed and movement were simply too much for Roman to overcome over the twelve round world championship bout. Much like Devin Haney’s victory over George Kambosos, this had a formulaic feel to it as round after round, Fulton continued to compile a lead and stuck to his fight plan from start to finish.

A dominant victory that not only resulted in Fulton retaining his unified world championship in the 122lb. Jr. Featherweight division, but one that will likely keep Fulton in a position where he could potentially fully unify the division or possibly move up to the 126lb. Featherweight division to seek a world championship in a second weight class. As for Daniel Roman, he is still one of the division’s top fighters and I believe it was a case of a  good fighter being bested by another potentially great fighter more so than a sign of potential decline. Although the circumstances are a bit different, Roman is in a way in a similar position now as Kambosos in that he will likely have to decide which way to go moving forward. Though Kambosos is likely to seek a rematch with Haney, which he has contractually sealed, perhaps Roman might seek to test the waters at Featherweight next. While Roman could remain at Jr. Featherweight and remain in the mix for a potential title shot, despite the loss, maybe a move up in weight could benefit him more in the long-term and testing the waters in his next fight might be a good way to see whether or not he is ready for a move up.

This now leads to the final bout that will close this column. Yours truly is referring to the battle for the IBF Jr. Lightweight world championship that took place at the Motopoint Arena in Cardiff, Wales where defending champion Kenichi Ogawa and undefeated top contender and former Olympian Joe Cordina.

A fight that I personally felt would be one of experience versus youth in the more experienced Ogawa traveling to the home territory of the challenger to defend his title, unfortunately for Ogawa, the fight was over almost as quickly as it began.

At around the midway point of the second round, just as it seemed like the fighters were ready to engage, Cordina connected with a perfectly timed overhand right to the chin of the champion sending Ogawa down and out on the canvas. While Devin Haney and Stephen Fulton were impressive with the pure Boxing performances they put forth in their respective bouts, Joe Cordina ‘s world championship winning one punch knockout of Kenichi Ogawa was head turning in it’s sudden occurrence and in the view of this observer deserves consideration for potential Knockout of the Year honors when 2022 concludes.

With the month of June now underway, there is another half year of Boxing to take place before the discussion of knockout of 2022 can take place. Nevertheless, a sudden and dramatic knockout like the one Joe Cordina produced in this fight will certainly have all eyes focused on him whenever he makes his first title defense. Much like Devin Haney and Stephen Fulton have become stars in the sport, Joe Cordina ‘s star is officially on the rise.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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