By Mark Elezaj
Hulu Theater, Madison Square Garden, New York City- Australia’s George Kambosos Jr won the IBF, WBA and WBO lightweight titles from Teófimo López in a upset on Saturday night.
Kambosos who came in as a 6-1 underdog, dropped López in the opening round, and came off the mat himself in the 10th on route to winning via split decision. Two of the ringside judges scored the bout down 115-112 and 115-111 for Kambosos while the third scored it 114-113 for López.
The Fighting Voice had it 115-112 for Kambosos.
Kambosos scored his knockdown with a perfectly-timed overhand right in a action packed first round as both fighters came out swinging wildly lookin to end it early.
In the second round, Lopez came out pressing forward behind his jab while Kambosos looked to counter his opponent, throwing and landing small shots. Lopez continued to push the action, landing to the body, slowing Kambosos down.
I’m the third round, Kambosos began to work downstairs, landing to the body often. Lopez continued to use his jab, looking to set up a huge shot. Both men landed and took punches throughout the round.
Round four, Kambosos continued to box well, giving Lopez issues that caused him to have trouble getting off anything that would stop the challenger.
Lopez looked to slow the pace down in the fifth, but continued to get outworked by Kambosos, who appeared to be extending his lead heading into the second half of the fight.
In the sixth, Kambosos was getting hit more while missing his big shots. A cut opened up around the left eye of Kambosos.
Round seven, Lopez came out looking to land something big, loading up his shots while Kambosos responded with counters of his own. Lopez landed a couple of hard body shots that got Kambosos’ attention, but the challenger responded with an exchange just before the bell sounded.
In the eight, both warriors came out and traded punches with Kambosos getting the better of the exchanges.
In the ninth, Lopez began to come on again, landing several hard shots on Kambosos, who responded by landing a left hook that surprised Lopez. Lopez continued to push forward while making late charge in the round, unloading on Kambosos along the ropes, who managed to escape danger when the bell sounded.
Round ten, López dropped the bloodied challenger to the floor early in the round after landing two huge punches. Kambosos was able to beat the count but he appeared to be in serious trouble, unable to answer back and bleeding from above his left eye. Lopez jumped on went Kambosos, landing hard punches that had him in serious trouble. As the round continued on, Lopez appeared to have punched himself out and Kambosos somehow made it to the closing bell.
Kambosos bounced back in the eleventh round, working off of his jab and followed by straight punches that re-opened the cut over his Lopez’s left eye.
Round twelve, Lopez went for broke over the last three minutes, while Kambosos continued to outland Lopez, countering his shots and keeping out of harm’s way until the final bell sounded.
“I believed in myself, I backed myself,” said Kambosos, 28. “I thought, ‘I’m going to hit him hard and put him down,’ and the fight changed off that. … I’m an unbelievable boxer. I can’t believe how good I boxed.”
“All respect to Teofimo,” said Kambosos. “He’s a great kid. The buildup was the buildup. We’re both competitive, young guys. But it was my night and it’s going to be my night for a very long time.”
“You don’t believe in yourself, you don’t get this far,” said Kambosos. “I’m the emperor.”
Soon after Lopez took the microphone to say he was the champion.
“You’re a helluva fighter, but I won that fight,” said Lopez, who was booed by the hometown crowd. “I don’t think it was a close fight at all.”
“The referee raised my hand. I won tonight, I don’t care what anybody says, yo, I won tonight. At the end of the day, I’ve been here, I done that, I want to thank God, I want to thank everybody that came out tonight. Look, I ain’t no sore loser, I take my wins like I take my losses.
“At the end of the day, man, I’m a true champion, I did what I had to do, and I went out there and did my best. I don’t care what anybody says, man, I am as real as they come, and this is the takeover, man, we don’t stop, we keep coming.
“Yo, at the end of the day man, I love you all, I won this fight.”
“At the end of the night, I scored it 11-2. 10-2.”
Kambosos grabbed the microphone responding to Lopez.
“Take it like a champ. Let’’s do it again in Australia in front of 80,000 people.”
With his victory Saturday night, Kambosos is now the top dog in a stacked lightweight division with guys like Devin Haney, Gervonta Davis, Ryan Garcia and Joseph Diaz Jr.
As to what’s next for Lopez Jr., his father has different plans.
“Listen, man. You saw me in every round jumping up and down and telling my son ‘you got that, you got that.’ You can’t win a fight if you’re not staying busy. My son was touching him every second, it’s just the way it is. You know, I’m saying he was coming up too fast, too strong, making a lot of noise and things happen. Things happen, you know. But we’re strong, (Teofimo’s) the people’s champ so we’re gonna be selling out arenas. This didn’t hurt us at all, it just made us better. The whole world knows about this, the whole world’s gonna be talking about this for weeks.
“Everybody knows (Teofimo) won that fight. Everybody knows that. I had it 10-2, 9-3. Everybody was just upset, they booed the decision in the Madison Square Garden so we just got to keep on living and do big fights and selling out arenas like we did tonight. We sold out the Madison Square Garden on the vaccination time, when you gotta be vaccinated to get inside. So at the end of the night the whole arena was upset at what happened and I don’t blame my son for nothing.
“We been at this weight for eight years, at 135, and it’s time to move up. It’s time to go up to 140 and this bullshit — ‘cause it’s a bullshit loss, I should’ve never fought with DAZN, I should’ve stood with Top Rank ‘cause those are the people that really love us. And You learn from your mistakes. So we go back with Top Rank and two PPV fights next year. Everybody knows what happened, okay.”
~The Fighting Voice ~