When you are on the top, you have a target on your back. This quote couldn’t have been more accurate for Australia’s unified Lightweight champion George Kambosos Jr. after he upset Teofimo Lopez in New York last week.
Since then, many of the divisions best have tried to make a case as to why they are next in line for a shot at Lightweight supremacy. As such, world champions Devin Haney and Gervonta Davis both picked up wins over the past two days.
But who did it better?
Devin Haney defeats Joseph Diaz Jr by Unanimous Decision (117-111 x2, 116-112)
In one of his tougher tests to date, WBC champion Devin Haney cruised to a lopsided decision victory over Joseph Diaz Jr.
Haney did a great job at maintaining his distance by using his lead hand to keep Diaz at bay, while also using his jab effectively and landing a right cross to either the head or body when the time was right.
Although Diaz was more active in terms of pressing, Haney looked composed and in control of the fight with his much higher output.
The challenger had his moments in the fight where he managed to catch Haney with some big punches, but he simply didn’t do enough to win many rounds, as he didn’t have an answer for Haney’s superior speed.
Diaz finished strong in the final round, but it was too little too late as Haney retained his WBC Lightweight title by a wide margin.
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In the post-fight interview, Haney was quick to praise his opponent
“I knew I was fighting a tough competitor… Diaz makes things harder for anybody he’s been in the ring with,” Haney said.
“He only has one loss, he had a lot of experience but I went in there and got the job done.”
Haney also stated that he knew from the beginning that he wasn’t going to knock Diaz out, forming his strategy around that knowledge.
“I knew from the very beginning” Haney said.
“I hit him with some good shots and he was picking it up as the fight went on. He is a true champion, two-time world champion, so he went in there and gave me a good fight.
“Jojo said he was going to bring the dog out of me and that’s exactly what he did, he brought the dog out and I had to dog it out to get the win.”
When asked about George Kambosos Jr., Haney called for the undisputed showdown.
“Come on Kambosos let’s do it, for all the belts, the real undisputed, let’s do it next.”
When asked about a showdown in Australia, Haney joked by saying “I’ll go to Jupiter if I have to”.
When asked about Haney’s performance, Kambosos was quick to praise the WBC champion.
“Look, I give him his props, at times he looked very sharp, he boxed brilliant, that’s his game. He boxes nicely, styles make fights,” Kambosos said.
“If we make it happen it’s going to be an exciting fight, but now we can talk.”
Gervonta Davis defeated Issac Cruz by Unanimous Decision (115-113 x2, 116-112)
In a rough and rugged fight, Gervonta Davis won a competitive decision win against a gamed Issac Cruz.
Davis was originally supposed to fight WBA Interim champion Rolando Romero, but it was announced on November 2 that Cruz had stepped in due to Romero’s sexual assault allegations, which led to him pulling out.
On paper, the traditional Mexican style that Cruz used seemed tailor-made for Davis to look good and potentially get another highlight-reel knockout, however this was not the case.
Cruz was quick to smother his opponent with his volume punching and even stunned Davis at the end of the first round. As the fight entered the second and third rounds though, Davis began to find his timing and began to escape pressure situations more frequently.
Although Davis began to find his groove in the mid-rounds, Cruz was not quick to go away, landing decent body shots and often blocking Davis’ trademark lead uppercut. With that said however, Davis was able to keep the fight at his distance while also moving a lot more comfortably to land more power punches.
Both fighters were able to finish the fight strong, with Cruz incorporating more bodywork in the later rounds and Davis using his jab more.
When the final bell sounded the judges felt that Davis did enough to win the fight, as he walked away with a unanimous decision victory.
This marks the first time in his career that Davis has gone a full 12 rounds.
After the win, Davis pointed out an injury sustained in the mid-rounds, but didn’t let the news hamper the victory.
“I hurt my hand in probably like the sixth round, but you know, I got through it,” Davis said
“I need to get it checked out, it is what it is, that what comes with the sport.
“[Cruz] is a shorter fighter, so I was throwing down and I hit him on top of the head so I hit my knuckle and I messed it up, so I couldn’t really throw it effectively the whole fight.”
Davis praised Cruz on his great performance that gave him problems
“He’s a warrior. Although he didn’t get the win, a star was born tonight,” Davis said.
“At the beginning of the fight, the opponents come out strong but I felt as I was going on and on in the fight that he was breaking down. But I hurt my hand, so I couldn’t get him out of there.”
When asked to give a comment on the Lightweight division he described them as “easy work” while proclaiming himself as “the top dog”.
No matter who George Kambosos Jr. fights next, it is safe to say that he will have his hands full with both these worthy contenders.
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