Devin Haney and Stephen Fulton Jr. give boxing clinics

A critical look at the past week in boxing

GOOD

One thing I learned a long time ago is that the most talented fighter usually has their hand raised.

That’s what happened in different parts of the world last weekend, as exceptionally skilled Devin Haney and Stephen Fulton Jr. outclassed elite opponents to win one-sided decisions in important fights.

Haney gave a career-defining performance, giving Aussie George Kambosos Jr. an embarrassing boxing lesson to earn a wide decision in front of more than 40,000 disappointed fans at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne.

The win gave Haney the undisputed lightweight championship and validated the hype that has surrounded the 23-year-old for years. It is as good as charged. And it’s only just begun.

Haney (28-0, 15 KOs) may have to fight Kambosos again due to a rematch clause in their contract. If that happens, Haney will win again. Then we can expect real super fights against Gervonta Davis, Vasiliy Lomachenko and Ryan Garcia.

Fulton (21-0, 8 KOs) was perhaps the best fighter in action this weekend, which is saying a lot considering Haney’s performance.

The Philadelphian tangled with a better boxer than Kambosos – Daniel Roman – yet defeated him equally convincing in defending his 122-pound titles in Minneapolis, losing just one round on a card.

The only way to get Fulton in trouble is to maim him, like weirdo Brandon Figueroa did last year. It’s hard to imagine anyone sending this special talent.

Fulton’s problem could be finding suitable foils. He is now targeting Murodjon Akhmadaliev, who holds the other two junior featherweight titles. Then he and his team are going to have to get creative if they want to give him some big fights.

He is so much better than everyone near his weight or at his weight, Figueroa being the only possible exception.

WRONG

Stephen Fulton Jr. (left) shows off his defensive skills against Daniel Roman. Ryan Hafey / First Boxing Champion

Fans who admire the pure boxing exhibits had a fantastic weekend, as Haney and Fulton gave clinics on soft science. Those with a thirst for action…well, they might have been disappointed.

Haney and Fulton are superb, resourceful fighters, but they aren’t necessarily crowd pleasers, at least not at the level of boxer-punchers like Davis, Garcia, Naoya Inoue, Jaron Ennis and their mighty ilk.

This is not a review of Haney and Fulton. Each fighter has his own strengths, which he must highlight to succeed in the ring. This is what Haney and Fulton do; they use their skills to defuse whatever their opponents attempt.

The problem (if that’s what it is) is that fans love knockouts, which Haney and Fulton can’t consistently deliver.

I always think of the late coach Emanuel Steward when I bring up this topic. He pushed his fighters to take the necessary risks to stop their opponents because he understood the marketing value of knockouts.

Am I suggesting that Haney and Fulton should ditch their styles and become brawlers? Absolutely not. That would be silly. I a m saying they might be wise to fight more aggressively, especially late in fights they dominate.

Fulton could have shifted gears against Roman. Haney could have done the same against Kambosos, although it was probably wise to be cautious in this case due to the huge stakes.

Fans will continue to watch and admire Haney and Fulton as they win decision after decision. They will fall in love with the pair if they can take down elite opponents.

WORSE

Kambosos was hampered by Haney in the ring. Then he embarrassed himself at the post-fight press conference.

Let’s be clear: Haney made Kambosos look like an ordinary fighter, controlling the fight with his jab and defensive skills that made the Aussie look completely lost in just one fight after his decisive upset of Teofimo Lopez.

Judge Zoltan Enyedi (Hungary) and Benoit Roussel (Canada) somehow found four rounds to give Kambosos, which was an insult to Haney. Shame on them. Pawel Kardyni (Poland) gave Kambosos two rounds, one more than me.

Indeed, victories in fights of this magnitude don’t get much more one-sided.

Still, at the post-fight press conference, Kambosos said he deserved the win. Eyes rolled around the world when he said, “I thought the fight was very close. From what I was told, I passed it, I passed it. You saw the fight. He had a jab but there wasn’t much else. I think he may have landed a right hand or two, but that’s it.

“There was really nothing else. My body doesn’t feel like it went through a 12 round war like the Lopez fight.

It wasn’t a war because Haney wouldn’t allow it. Why go to war when you can dominate your opponent by other means?

And Kambosos obviously wants more. He said he would exercise the rematch clause in their contract, which might be a horrible idea. The former champ doesn’t have the ability to beat Haney, which means the same thing is going to happen.

I don’t blame Kambosos for wanting a second fight. He can’t pass up an opportunity to fight for an undisputed championship (assuming Haney doesn’t lose one of his four belts one way or another), for which he would be paid handsomely.

At the same time, back-to-back losses will make Kambosos the one-hit wonder he seems to be.

RABBIT DIES

Super middleweight competitor David Morel (7-0, 6 KOs) delivered another solid, if flawed, performance on the Fulton-Roman card. The Minneapolis-based Cuban, fighting aggressively from the start, quickly broke down Kalvin Henderson (15-2-1, 11 KOs) and arrested the texan in the fourth round. It was a strong statement from a great all-around fighter who started calling the top 168-pounders. At the same time, it might not have been wise to go for an early knockout. The strategy could have backfired because the only thing Henderson has limited is power. Morrell has shown he can take his time and still get knocked out. Why rush things? He is still maturing. … Two Australians had spectacular nights in front of their home crowd in Melbourne. First, 43 years old lucas browne (31-3, 27 KOS) set Kiwi F junior (19-2, 10 KOs) 1 minute and 58 seconds into their scheduled 10-round heavyweight bout to bring his career to life. So what Jason Molony (24-2, 19 KOs) put Aston Palicte (28-5-1, 23 KOs) twice and stopped the experienced Filipino in the third round of his bantamweight bout to solidify his position as a legitimate contender. Moloney’s twin, Andrew Molony (24-2, 16 KOs), also issued. He stopped alexander espinoza (21-4-2, 8 KOs) in the second round of a scheduled eight-round junior bantamweight bout.

Related

Devin Haney gives a virtuoso performance in a wide decision over George Kambosos Jr.

Stephen Fulton dispatches Daniel Roman to win wide decision

David Morrell knocks out Kalvin Henderson in round four