George Kambosos was slammed Saturday as not “a true champion” after initially failing to make the weight for his clash with Devin Haney to become the unified and undisputed lightweight world champion.
Unbeaten American Haney, the long-time WBC title holder who holds a 27-0 record, hit the scales at 134.92 pounds (61.19 kg) for Sunday’s blockbuster bout in Melbourne.
But when Australian Kambosos, who holds the WBA, IBF and WBO belts, stepped up he was 0.36 pounds overweight for the 135-pound limit fight.
After first changing his underwear then stripping naked in a bid to make the grade, he was given the mandatory two hours to lose the extra ounces.
Kambosos, also unbeaten at 20-0, returned 75 minutes later to weigh in at 134.49, but Haney was incredulous.
— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) June 4, 2022
“He sucked up, he’s dry. But I’m a true champion and true champions make weight,” said the American who also got a huge boost with his father and lead trainer Bill granted an 11th hour visa.
Bill Haney had initially been denied permission to enter Australia over a three-decade-old drug conviction.
Haney, who easily defended his WBC title for a fourth time in December, winning by a unanimous decision over challenger Joseph Diaz, is considered favorite for the bout at Marvel Stadium in front of an expected 50,000 fans.
On the line are the lightweight titles of the sport’s four sanctioning bodies — WBA, IBF, WBO and WBC — for the first time in modern boxing history.
Whoever wins will be crowned the first undisputed lightweight champion since Pernell Whitaker in 1992 and the first ever in the four-belt era, which began in 2004.
Kambosos, who honed his craft as a former sparring partner of the great Manny Pacquiao, is currently the WBA, IBF and WBO champion after stunning Teofimo Lopez at Madison Square Garden in November.
He claimed coming in overweight was part of his plan to unsettle Haney.
“Art of war, baby. Deception. Let them believe everything,” he said. “Everything is for a cause, everything is for a process.
“It changes his mindset now. Bring it on, I’m ready.”
Kambosos had originally been in talks to fight Vasiliy Lomachenko in his first title defense, but the plans fell through when the Ukrainian opted to stay in his homeland after Russia invaded.
Get the hottest sports news straight into your inbox
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.