Haney-Kambosos II and the Reality of Confrontations
Via Michael Malaszczyk: George Kambosos Jr. (20-1) cleverly introduced a rematch clause when he faced Devin Haney (28-0) in June. But the fans are not noisy for this rematch.
Kambosos shocked the world when he fought a boxer against Teofimo Lopez in November 2021. Well, maybe master is not the right word, as the fight was such a close affair that both men were relegated. . But the Kambosos hit harder shots, concentrated in the title rounds, and left Lopez bewildered for most of the match.
This bout saw Kambosos win Lopez’s WBO, WBA and IBF lightweight titles. Kambosos appeared all but set up to help Vasyl Lomachenko get those titles, but when the war in Ukraine broke out, Kambosos chose to fight Haney.
The duel was purely one-sided; giving two clean innings to Kambosos feels generous. It’s not the kind of fight that has fans begging for a rematch, but fans are getting one.
It’s a harsh reality in the sport of boxing; Fans rarely get what they want, and more often than not, don’t get what they don’t want.
In recent years, other matches that demanded rematches never materialized, or at least not immediately.
Vasyl Lomachenko and Teofimo Lopez submitted their Fight of the Year candidates in 2020, as Lopez defeated Lomachenko by unanimous decision. The match saw the excellent Lopez box against a master technician in Lomachenko, before Lomachenko pressed in in the later rounds. Lopez regrouped at the twelfth minute to get the win. This fight requires a rematch, as there are some question marks: what if Lomachenko had assembled earlier? Will he win? Did arriving earlier help Lopez take him down?
Gennadiy Golovkin and Sergiy Derevyanchenko made their FOTY contenders in 2019, in a fight that saw Derevyanchenko fall and injured early but come back strong in the mid-rounds and many felt the fight had could have gone either way when Golovkin escaped with a unanimous decision. But a rematch never materialized.
Josh Taylor just defeated Jack Catterall in one of the most controversial decisions boxing has ever seen, with pretty much every observer rating the fight for Catterall, and no rematch scheduled yet.
These three wars are three of many examples.
We also have rematches that the fans don’t want. Not many supporters of Usyk-Joshua II or Wilder-Fury III felt that the outcome would be the same, and despite how exciting both matches were, the outcome was actually the same. Haney-Kambosos II is likely to be next in this lineup.
Some of the matches required them to get rematches but not immediately; think Wilder-Fury II, Inoue-Donaire II, or Canelo-GGG III. All three of those wars should have happened much sooner.
It seems like we’ve been getting rematches or trilogy fights lately that the fans don’t want, while missing out on the ones they want. So what’s the deal with these rematches?
The unfortunate reality is that rematches are not driven by what the sport needs but by what a boxer or promotion wants, and it is often money-based.
Oh, sure, some rematch will happen at the right time; Canelo-GGG II happened just like that, minus Canelo’s clenbuterol scandal. So is Charlo-Castano II. Kovalev-Ward II also thought of. But these seem to be the exception more than anything; Canelo-GGG I and Charlo-Castano I ended in controversial draws, and all the men in both games wanted to run again to get a decisive result. In the case of Kovalev-Ward, the match was controversial in the eyes of many, and like the Kambosos, Kovalev was smart to include a rematch clause in it.
Most good matches, worthy of rematches, don’t get them. And the one-sided wars that are not worthy of them will receive them.
Kambosos has secured himself a big payday and a Hail Mary play to reclaim his title by implementing the rematch clause, though it’s hard to see a scenario where Kambosos win on Saturday. . He’s smart to do that, and it can also be considered lucky that many losers deserve to be rematched and not disqualified.
So while Haney-Kambosos II isn’t the kind of fight fans want, it’s what they get. And it’s a good opportunity for fans to realize that the most meaningful rematches are getting rarer over time.