By Anthony “Zute” George – Most boxing scribes predicted that he would not make it to the final bell. The oddsmakers said it could not be done. But George Kambosos proved them all wrong. Now he is the undisputed king. Boxing royalty.
Indeed, Kambosos’s upset over Lightweight King Teofimo Lopez is just another chapter in the long history of boxing upsets. However, the electricity of these upsets never runs out of juice.
They reiterate a fact we all so often forget. Nobody is unbeatable in combat sports. True certain pugilists have retired with an ‘O’ on the right side of their record, but they all have their day for the most part.
This is why those who retired are so revered, as well as heavily scrutinized at the same time. We know all the derogatory talking points:
Rocky Marciano: He fought all old men. He is no Harry Greb.
Joe Calzaghe: Who? Oh, him. The best names on his record were passed their primes. Harry Greb would kill him.
Floyd Mayweather, Jr.: He ran. He cherry-picked. This one and that one would have run him out of the ring. He is no Harry Greb.
The excellent news for Teofimo Lopez is now he will have to fall subject to such rhetoric. The bad news is that he was had by someone we all thought had no chance, including himself.
Upsets in boxing are fascinating and worth observing with a deeper lens. Peeling the onion is how I like to refer to it.
Comparing what Kambosos did to other major upsets is intriguing when looking at the rich history of boxing upsets.
One dynamic attached to many upsets is that the favorite did not train like they should. See Clay over Liston (Ali fans will no doubt take issue with this), DeJesus over Duran, Douglas over Tyson, both of Lennox Lewis’ knockout losses. While Lopez definitely went into this fight overconfident, I do not think he failed to train like the evidence of the examples mentioned above suggest.
Other boxing upsets have resulted from the underdog being much better than given credit for. Palomino over Stracey, Lujan over Zamora, Haugen over Paul, Donaire over Darchinyan, and Maidana over Broner are solid examples of that dynamic in the modern era of boxing. All the winners here went on to have such impressive careers, it might have been forgotten that they were all decent underdogs at the time of the fight. For this dynamic to bear fruit, we must see how the rest of Kambosos’s career plays out. However, it certainly can be the case.
A further example of a major upset with the same elements as above is Lloyd Honeyghan’s shocking stoppage over Donald Curry. Indeed, at the time, it was stunning. After all, going into this fight, major boxing outlets were labelling Curry as the eventual conqueror of Marvelous Marvin Hagler. Then along came Mr. Honeyghan. A fighter who was exponentially better than the American media was given credit for from across the pond.
Another parallel you can identify that is like The Takeover, The Cobra was having difficulty making weight for his undisputed title. Curry was killing himself to tip the scales at 147, and Lopez appeared to outgrow 135 for a good time now. With that being said, we must not confuse a draining weight cut as an excuse. Both Curry and Lopez probably still beat a decent number of fighters in their weight class at the time of their demise. Especially Teofimo.
Sometimes an upset happens because the underdog elevates his repertoire for one night against a much better fighter and cannot sustain that level beyond that night. See Turpin over Sugar Ray, Backus over Napoles, and Spinks over Ali as prime examples. A rematch is required to test that layer, however.
Lopez’s announced move up from 135 and his apparent reunion with Top Rank Boxing makes a rematch a longshot at this point. Still, Kambosos has plenty of delicious options to prove he is no fluke, and more importantly, financially benefit from his big victory.
Devin Haney had a comprehensive win over Jo Jo Diaz. A Kambosos vs. Haney bonanza in Australia would be a massive fight for both men, as well as for DAZN. With Eddie Hearn at the controls, such a scenario is not just a pipe dream.
Whatever the reality of George Kambosos’s future, his upset over Teofimo Lopez is forever baked in the cake of the chapter of boxing lure that is always exhilarating to witness and intoxicating to discuss.
What will be the next upset of such cloth? Indeed, that is anyone’s guess, but given the nature of the sport, it is inevitable, nonetheless.