Devin Haney made easy work of George Kambosos in Melbourne, Australia, with an efficient display of boxing behind his educated left hand to become the undisputed lightweight champion. Meanwhile in Minnesota, it was WBC/WBO junior featherweight titlist, Stephen Fulton, taming Danny Roman to state his case as the worlds best 122-pounder.
Haney and Fulton, alongside the likes of Shakur Stevenson, are the leaders of the new school. (Yes, you could put Jaron 'Boots' Ennis in this category, but we'll wait till he wins a major world title.)
A throng of over 41,000 was silenced throughout the night by the tactical skills of Haney, whose jab dominated much of this bout. This wasn't an exciting bout by any means, but you had to appreciate the boxing acumen of the 23-year old who played the role of road warrior 'Down Under'.
Some may have not been entertained by this bout, but Haney showed the art of boxing and the manly art of self-defense.
Mikey Williams for Top Rank
He explained, “I handicapped him of his best things. He wanted to land the overhand right, and he wanted to land the big left hook. I handicapped him. I was fighting both ways. When I would go to the left, I would fight his right hand. When I would go to the right, I would fight his left hook. And he couldn’t hit me with neither one of them."
The scores (116-112 twice and 118-110) don't really tell the story Haney's dominance. Kambosos was never really in this fight, nor could he ever really get out of the way of Haney's jab. The openings that were there versus Teofimo Lopez last November, simply weren't there on this night. While he wanted a fight, what he got was a boxing lesson.
“I was comfortable," stated the 23 year old Haney. "I was just sticking to the game plan. The game plan was to go there and hit and not get hit, and I did that for the majority of the fight. I took the last round off just because I knew I was comfortably ahead, but I fought a good, smart fight.”
Mikey Williams for Top Rank
This fight lacked any real drama, and with the lopsided nature of this bout, you wonder if there is any need to fulfill the rematch clause that was put into this contract between Haney and Kambosos. Based on what we witnessed this past weekend, it seems like the most pointless sequel since 'Blues Brother 2000' or 'Caddyshack II'.
Does anything really change, or get better for Kambosos in the second go-around?
But he was steadfast in wanting Haney again, "We’ll do it again. Look, I gave him the shot. If I hadn’t given him this shot, he wouldn’t have had his moment right now. So, we’ll do it again.”
At the Armory, what was thought to be the sternest test for Fulton instead become an exhibition of his all-around skills, as he first out-boxed and out-maneuvered Roman, and then stood his ground late and subdued him.
While there is a lot of talk about the aforementioned Ennis as Philly's next great fighter, you can't overlook Fulton who has gone on a strong run at 122. While he languished on the ropes against Brandon Figueroa in what was a physically grueling affair, this time around Fulton did a much better job of using the perimeter of the ring and not getting into prolonged exchanges with Roman.
Esther Lin for Showtime Sports)
“It was very important to control the distance tonight,” said Fulton. “Like I said before, in the last outing with Brandon Figueroa, I didn’t have the energy because I didn’t make the weight the right way. So shout out to my dietician. Any moment he had, I took it right away from him. I neutralized the threat.”
There were pockets off success for the challenger, but he could never truly corral Fulton for long stretches.
He gave a respectable effort, but it wasn't nearly enough to really trouble Fulton.
Now the question is what is left for Fulton at junior featherweight. The other two major belts are around the waist of Murodjon Akhmadaliev (who has a solid test upcoming versus veteran Ronny Rios). That is a fight that he clearly yearns for. There will be some chatter of Naoyo Inoue(and more on him later) moving up, but there are a lot of political hurdles for that fight to ever come to fruition.
Esther Lin, Showtime Sports
Maybe a move up to 126 will soon be forthcoming. Regardless, he has shown he is one of the elite fighters in the sport. At 27, he is right in his physical prime.
“I made a hell of a statement tonight,” said Fulton, who improved to 21-0 with eight knockouts. “I prepared for this and I told y’all I was going to make it easy and fight depending on how I wake up, and I woke up feeling good.”
The knockout of the weekend -- and perhaps, year -- was Joe Cordina icing Kenichi Ogawa in two rounds with a blistering right hand. It was shades of Canelo Alvarez-Amir Khan with the feinting with the low jab, and the right hand coming over the top.
With this big victory, he is now the IBF 130-pound title. Immediately after the fight, unified champion, Shakur Stevenson, made comments on Twitter about wanting to face Cordina in England.
While this sounds great, the reality is that Stevenson is promoted by Top Rank, which has an exclusive deal with ESPN. While Cordina is represented by Matchroom Sports which is aligned with DAZN. Can all the red tape associated with this be sorted out?
It's been done before, as Jose Ramirez crossed the street to face Maurice Hooker in a junior welterweight unification a few years ago on DAZN. Now, Alycia Baumgarnder will face Mikaela Mayer in the early fall on ESPN.
So while unlikely, there is a precedence for this.
I thought Jason Moloney looked really sharp in halting Aston Palicte in three rounds on the Haney-Kambosos undercard... By the way, at what point will ESPN start showing more boxing on their telecasts and less of the features and fluff. What took place on Saturday was ridiculous... At 7-0 is David Morrell ready for the likes of David Benavidez?....There is early morning coverage from Japan on Tuesday morning as Inoue faces Nonito Donaire in their rematch from Saitama....I really enjoyed the '30 for 30' on the 'And 1' franchise... I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org....