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By Steve Kim Updated on June 02, 2022

Litmus Test Saturday

There are two very attractive bouts that take place in different parts of the globe on Saturday that feature four world-class boxers. As both broadcasts for these fights take place at the same time, it's one of those occasions you will need two televisions.

Or, just watch one and stay off social media for awhile. (Good luck with that.) 

ESPN has coverage from Melbourne, Australia, that features the battle for the undisputed lightweight championship between George Kambosos and Devin Haney from Marvel Stadium. Meanwhile at the Armory in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Showtime features the bout between WBC/WBO junior featherweight champion, Stephen Fulton, against Danny Roman.

These may not be super-fights, or pay-per-view events, but these are the caliber of match-ups that are so vital for the sport.

Kambosos is coming off a huge upset victory over Teofimo Lopez last November to capture three of the major titles. The lone one that he doesn't have around his waist currently is the WBC strap, as Haney was the owner of the green belt. All this goes back to Mauricio Sulaiman awarding Vasily Lomachenko 'franchise' designation (which insulated him from facing Haney, who at the time was the number one ranked contender), which relegated Haney to becoming derisively known as the 'email champ'.

But all of this will be cleared up 'Down Under' this weekend, as the winner of this contest will clearly be the undisputed king at 135.

Top Rank

Haney is the favorite here. The consensus is that he is the more naturally gifted off the two. He has advantages in athleticism and boxing acumen. But it has to be noted that Kambosos is a tenacious sort, one that will keep coming after Haney, who last year had some difficult moments in the late rounds versus Jorge Linares and Joseph Diaz.

Also, another variable is that this bout is on Kambosos home turf. We all know what the home canvas advantage means in situations like this. There is a crowd of over 50,000-plus expected for this event. Could we get another Jeff Horn-Manny Pacquiao situation?

Haney, however is a believer in the tangibles, which is his God-given talent. But he doesn't have to just overcome a fighter, but a whole country.

"There's nothing he can do in the ring that's better than me, and I will show it on fight night. I take nothing away from him. I think that he's a good fighter, but I just think I'm on a whole different level," he said.

But Kambosos remains undaunted by the task at hand. In his view, he didn't go globetrotting like Meadowlark Lemon the past few years just to give up his titles on his turf.

"It's great to be back home. Five years of hard work. Everyone knows the story. I had to go through every bit of adversity. I had to earn my belts, earned them the hardest way. Not like this guy,'' said Kambosos. "He got given a present. I earned mine. I took the best out. It is great to be back home, great to have the support. I know that stadium will be buzzing with my support, but I just love to fight. Me and him in there, in that ring. It's a great moment for Australian boxing, and I am very excited."

Haney wants to prove that he is indeed a boxing prodigy, while Kambosos wants to show that he isn't just a one-hit wonder. 

While Kambosos-Haney is certainly a bigger event, the best pure fight might be one that is the main event on Showtime, which is a clash between Ring Magazine's top rated 122-pounder, in Fulton, and the third ranked Roman.

Showtime

Roman not-too-long ago was the unified junior featherweight titlist before he lost a razor thin split decision to Murodjon Akhmadaliev in January of 2020. A lot has changed for the soft-spoken Roman since that point, he was released by Matchroom Sports, which signed him as part of the influx of talent they signed for DAZN, and now he is co-promoted by PBC and Thompson Boxing.

Unfortunately, he has fought just twice the past two years. His last outing took place 13 months ago in May of 2021 as Roman scored a convincing 10 round decision over the game Ricardo Espinoza.

He told SNAC.com a couple of weeks ago after a morning training session at the Maywood Boxing Club, "I'm not worried about ring rust, it's a fight. I've got to do what I've got to do. I keep myself in the gym year round so I'm feel more than ready for this challenge."

Last November, Fulton eked what a majority decision over the hard-charging Brandon Figueroa. Roman was in attendance for that slugfest at the Park Theater in Las Vegas.

Stephen Fulton vs. Brandon Figueroa: Highlights | SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING

"It was a close fight, it was a brawl," said Roman. "But everybody's got their flaws."

It was a gut-check victory where the native of Philly had to dig down to earn a hard-fought verdict. But Eddie Gonzalez, the trainer/manager of Roman, feels that fight revealed things that his charge can exploit.

"Figueroa's a busy fighter, he's a volume puncher, that's it. He really doesn't think of the technique, or the placement of shots," he told SNAC.com. "He throws punches to throw punches. Danny knows how to place shots, pressure points. I think Fulton's going to be in a for a big surprise."

Courtesy of Team Roman

While not the outright windmill that Figueroa is, or a pure power puncher, what Roman brings to the table is precision and craft.

"He's underestimating (Danny)," Gonzalez said of Fulton." Danny's a well-trained fighter, he's a well-schooled fighter, and fight night Fulton's going to see a different animal. He's going to find out Danny's not that easy to fight."

Roman lets his fists do the talking for the most part. Gonzalez, is much more outspoken. "Let me tell you something, once Danny gets going -- he gets going. So Danny's frame of mind right now is to do damage to Fulton. That's what we're doing,"

Many pundits are touting Fulton as the next elite fighter in the sport. But to be listed among the games best, he'll have to get past the most accomplished fighter he will have faced. 

 

CORNER WORK

There has been a lot of talk centered around Haney's father/trainer, Bill, not being allowed into Australia due to past legal issues. In his place is Yoel Judah, who's son Zab, was a former world champion. But that doesn't mean that the elder Haney will not be a presence on Saturday.

Before he departed for this event, Bob Arum told SNAC.com, "We're working out all the electronics and so forth, so Devin can listen to his father in-between rounds, and the father can communicate with the corner during the fight.''

 

3KR

This week on 'the 3 Knockdown Rule' on Triller with Mario Lopez and I, we review last weekends bouts, while looking ahead. And our review of 'Top Gun: Maverick':

Tank knows out Rollie Romero| The 3 Knockdown Rule Ep. 33 | TrillerTV

 

 

FINAL FLURRIES

Top Rank announced that Michael Conlan (coming off his barn burner versus Leigh Wood) will return on August 6 in Belfast against veteran Miguel Marriaga....It was also revealed that blue-chip welterweight prospect, Xander Zayas, has been pulled from this June 11 assignment at MSG due to a viral infection....It's been reported that the rematch between Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua will take place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia....Robert Garcia has been tabbed to work with Joshua in the lead up to this bout....Thumbs up for 'Top Gun: Maverick'.....I can be reached at k9kim@yahoo.com....

 

 

About Author
Litmus Test Saturday
  • Hosted 'the Main Event' on KIEV 870, and then later XTRA AM1150 ( a three hour show devoted to boxing) from 1996 to 1999.
  • Joined one of the first boxing websites, 'House of Boxing' in 1999, and then later became one of the founders of Maxboxing, that started in 2001, till his departure in 2014.
  • From 2014 to 2018, he was the lead columnist for UCNlive.com.
  • Was a boxing reporter for ESPN.com from 2018 to 2020.
  • He has written for Ring Magazine, International Boxing Digest and Boxing News.
  • Is the co-host of 'the 3 Knockdown Rule' with Mario Lopez, which has become of the most popular boxing podcasts the past several years.
  • Steve has also served as an announcer and analyst for RingTV, Thompson Boxing, 360 Promotions and CBS Sports Network.