By Sean Jones: IBO lightweight champion Maxi Hughes will look to end the career of former unified 135-pound champion George Kambosos Jr this Saturday, July 22 in their headlining fight at Firelake Arena in Shawnee, Oklahoma.
This is an IBF lightweight title eliminator, so the winner will be in position to fight undisputed champion Devin Haney if he holds on to their belts.
If Haney vacates, the winner of Hughes vs. Kambosos Jr could face #1 Gustavo Lemos (28-0, 18 KOs) for the vacant IBF title.
Hughes-Kambosos Jr is a fight that has flown under the radar of most boxing fans because Top Rank hasn’t done much to promote it, which is understandable.
Will Kambosos retire if he loses?
Kambosos has lost his last two fights against Devin Haney, and there is no good road back for him if he is defeated by Maxi Hughes on Saturday. Hughes is a decent fighter, but many in the 135-pound division would probably make an easy job of him.
How would Kambosos come back from a loss to Hughes? Top Rank is likely to face Kambosos with Keyshawn Davis anyway, regardless of whether he loses, and that would be an impossible fight for George to win.
If you’re Kambosos, you’re going to want to drop down to super featherweight after a loss to Hughes because it would be beyond ridiculous for him to stay at 135. To make anything at lightweight, Kambosos has to beat guys at Hughes’ level because it gets so much harder than you move up the food chain against these killers:
– Vasily Lomachenko
– Frank Martin
– Gustavo Lemos
–Edwin Delos Santos
– Artem Harutyunyan
– Giovanni Cabrera
– Floyd Schofield
– Angel Fierro
– Jamaine Ortiz
There wouldn’t be much interest from boxing fans in this matchup, no matter how much promotional push was given to it, because Kambosos is seen as a one-punch wonder.
Kambosos Jr (20-2, 10 KOs) has lost his last two fights, and his headlining days could come to a standstill if he loses to Hughes (26-5-2 (5 KOs).
Top Rank recently signed the 30-year-old Kambosos Jr, presumably to feed him to Shakur Stevenson or Keyshawn Davis, but they knocked him out before they had a chance to let those fighters use him for practice.
Hughes has been looking terrific of late, outpointing former IBF featherweight champion Kid Galahad, Ryan Walsh, Jovanni Straffon, Paul Hyland Jr and Jono Carroll.
George Kambosos Jr vs. Maxi Hughes
Keyshawn Davis vs. Fancesco Patera
Giovani Santillan vs. Eric Bone
Troy Isley vs. Antonio Todd
Amron Sands vs. Hemo Ahio
Roney Hines vs. Michael Pirotton
Stephan Shaw vs. Joseph Goodall
Jeremiah Milton vs. Willie Harvey
Maxi Hughes is a tough fighter with a deranged mind. He’s obviously the current IBO. [lightweight] champion, which really doesn’t mean much. He is still a champion in a way,” Billy Dib told Jai McAllister: BOXING about George Kambosos Jr’s fight this Saturday night against IBO 135-pound champion Maxi Hughes on ESPN+.
It has upset some people. He pissed off Kid Galahad and has had a couple of good wins. If George doesn’t show up and put on a spectacular performance, he may be upset again,” Dib said, not realizing that Kambosos Jr’s two losses last year to Devin Haney weren’t upset. Bettors predicted that Kambosos would lose, and he did so one-sidedly.
“I definitely feel like George has the skill set to annoy this guy. [Hughes] and beat him pretty comfortably, and it’s a world title eliminator. So it creates an opportunity for George to fight for a title for what I think will be a vacant position. [IBF lightweight] title because, from what I understand, [WBO 140-lb champion] Teofimo Lopez will fight Devin Haney at some point.
“With that happening, Devin will vacate all the lightweight titles, and that opens up an opportunity for George Kambosos to maybe win a vacant world title again,” Dib said.