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SPORTS SHORTS 269: MANNY PACQUIAO'S FORMER SPARRING PARTNER GEORGE KAMBOSOS JR., THE NEW UNIFIED WORLD LIGHTWEIGHT CHAMPION

By Maloney L. Samaco
PhilBoxing.com
Wed, 01 Dec 2021



The new unified lightweight champion George Kambosos, Jr. was
once hired by Manny Pacquiao as one of his sparring partners for the senator's matches against Jeff Horn in 2017 and Adrien Broner in 2019. They sparred 250 rounds and it helped a lot for the undefeated Australian.

* * *

The 28-year-old Kambosos was a heavy underdog but overturned the slim chances with tremendous odds by startling Teofimo Lopez by split decision to grab the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and The Ring titles. The judges scored it 115-111, 115-112, 113-114 for the Australian.

* * *

“Congratulations to my friend, @georgekambosos on an epic win! You helped me in so many of my past fights, I hope our hundreds of rounds of sparring helped you in some way tonight. I’m proud of you. #LopezKambosos,” Pacquiao posted on Twitter Sunday.

* * *

“Thank you for everything @MannyPacquiao the rounds we shared together shaped me to become champion tonight! Thank you brother,” Kambosos replied.

* * *

When Kambosos Jr. first sparred with Manny Pacquiao in 2017, the eight division champion boxing legend was thrilled. They sparred again the next year and Pacquiao predicted that Kambosos would win a world title.

* * *

“Manny Pacquiao is a living legend, he’s done more than any boxer ever in the world,” Kambosos told the Sun-Herald. “I know I will be champion and he said it back in 2018. He said ‘You’re ready for a championship right now, you’re a world champion.'"

* * *

“I said ‘Manny, my time is coming’. I’ve been patient, I’ve bided my time, made all the right moves and been very sharp and calculated. It gave me that extra bit of confidence in my head, knowing if I’m doing it with this legend, side by side with him for his 12-round championship fights, I know exactly what I have to do.”

* * *

Lopez predicted a first-round knockout of Kambosos and almost turned the tide with a thundering overhand right to score a knockdown in the opening stanza at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.

* * *

Lopez floored Kambosos with a right hand in the 10th round, but it wasn't enough to convince the two judges in his favor. "I believed in myself," Kambosos told DAZN. "I've got all the jewels. I'm the better fighter." He further declared that his triumph was the biggest victory in Australian boxing history.

* * *

After months of several postponements, the fight pushed through with multitude of fans thinking Lopez would annihilate Kambosos quickly. Lopez was on the right track as he threw heavy bombs on Kambosos in the opening round.

* * *

Kambosos dropped Lopez in the first round as the New Yorker quickly recovered and found his rhythm back in the fight. Kambosos attacked and defended well with "The Takeover" in an entertaining nonstop tussle.

* * *

Lopez dealt Kambosos a knockdown in the 10th round. But Kambosos (20-0, 10 KOs) showed himself the more durable and energetic fighter as two of the three judges gave him the biggest victory of his unblemished pro career. Lopez got a bloody cut in his left eye..

* * *

Kambosos now is the new champion of three (WBA, WBO and IBF) of the four major lightweight titles. Devin Haney is the WBC lightweight champion.

* * *

Lopez (16-1, 12 KOs) is planning to move up in weight to 140 pounds after he had a hard time making the 135 pound limit. The post-fight press conference was cancelled when both fighters were taken to the hospital.

* * *

The unknown Sydney, Australia native, was a 6-1 underdog and scored in what could be the upset of the year and, most probably, the fight of the year.

* * *

“I believed in myself, I backed myself,” Kambosos said after the victory. “I said it time after time: You might not believe it, but I believe in myself. And look at me now. I’ve got all the jewels. I’m not the king, I’m the emperor because I come to every other country and I take them out one by one.”

* * *

The 24-year-old Lopez from Brooklyn, New York is considered one of boxing’s fastest rising young talents, fought for the first time since surprising the world with a convincing unanimous-decision win over the highly favored Vasiliy Lomachenko, who was highly rated as one of boxing’s pound-for-pound top fighters.

* * *

Kambosos, the IBF’s mandatory challenger, had thrice-postponed fight date with Lopez who had more than four hundred days after his grand victory over Lomachenko at the MGM Grand bubble. Last Saturday's match was in the Madison Square Garden’s smaller theater instead of the bigger arena.

* * *

Kambosos earned his shot at the title belts with a hard earned win over the Welshman by split decision on October 31, 2020 at The SSE Arena, London, England.

* * *

Kambosos scored a knockdown against the hometown favorite and rallied from a very close fight to carry out a tough finish to dethrone a unified champion.

* * *

“When Muhammad Ali fought an unbelievable puncher in Joe Frazier, [he] rang Cus D’Amato and said, ‘What do I do?’” Kambosos said. “And [D’Amato] said, ‘You hit him with the best right hand you’ve ever thrown in your life in the first round and you change the fight.’"

* * *

"And that’s what I did. I had that in my head. That was my mentality. ‘I’m going to hit this guy clean, I’m going to him hard and I’m going to put him down.’ And the fight changed after that.”

* * *

Kambosos was born in Sydney, Australia and his parents were of Greek descent. His paternal grandparents migrated from Sparta to Australia and Kambosos has the famous Spartan war cry "Never retreat, never surrender" tattooed on his body as a tribute to his heritage.

* * *

"Ferocious" Kambosos was often bullied as a child for being overweight so his father enrolled him in boxing classes at 11 years old to improve his fitness. In his amateur career he seized 85 wins in 100 fights before turning professional.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Maloney L. Samaco.

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