Pause The Rematch Clause: We Don't Need To See Devin Haney Vs George Kambosos II

Haney and Kambosos will meet again, back in Australia, if 'Ferocious' chooses to exercise his rematch clause
10:37, 06 Jun 2022

Devin Haney outboxed and outclassed George Kambosos to unify the undisputed lightweight championship on Saturday night. ‘The Dream’ went to Kambosos’ backyard of Melbourne, Australia to take the IBF, WBA and WBO titles from ‘Ferocious’. The WBC champion going in, Haney is now the first undisputed lightweight champion of boxing’s four-belt era. 

Ordinarily after a star-making display such as this, it is customary to ruminate on what the protagonists might do next. How will the newly-crowned king start his period of rule? How will the forcefully-dethroned monarch rebuild his empire? But as is becoming increasingly common, there was a rematch clause built-in to the contract that bound Haney and Kambosos to meet. 

Reportedly, the deal not only featured a rematch clause, but stipulated that a return bout would take place in Australia once again. Not only is Haney contractually obligated to run back a fight he utterly dominated, but he has to sacrifice any sort of champion’s advantage to do so.


A return bout is not guaranteed, the clause is contingent on what Kambosos wants to do. Saul Alvarez’s recent points defeat to Dmitry Bivol included a rematch clause in the contract. However, ‘Canelo’ has decided to move down in weight and defend his undisputed super middleweight title against old foe Gennady Golovkin instead. 

The ‘Canelo’ situation is more commonplace than the Kambosos one. The immediate rematch clause is usually included as a failsafe for if the favourite loses a bout unexpectedly. The Australian entered Saturday’s fight as the underdog though, creating an unusual problem. As holder of three of the four belts, and with his reputation bolstered by a shock win over Teofimo Lopez, it is clear to see why ‘Ferocious’ found himself as the “A side” of the bout. But having lost, an immediate rematch seems to be of little benefit to anyone involved.

For Haney it is a case of going over old ground. That means not only finding motivation to fight someone he has just comprehensively outclassed, but dealing with the issue of fighting in Australia again. ‘The Dream’ travelled out two weeks early to acclimatise to the culture and time difference, and also faced tremendous trouble trying to get his father and trainer, Bill Haney, into the country. 

The elder Haney was granted a last-minute visa to enter Australia. But throughout the fight preparations he was thought not to be travelling due to a 1992 drug conviction that had seen his first application turned down. Such complications are a necessary evil when you’re a title challenger. When you’re the undisputed champion, and the bigger name, they aren’t the sort of issues you usually have to face.

Taking the location out of it for a second, the thought of Haney vs Kambosos II is not appealing as a fight. Over 40,000 fans turned out at the Marvel Stadium in Melbourne to watch the bout. But would those same fans turn out in force to see their hometown hero square off with someone who just dismantled him? The worldwide viewing figures would certainly not be as strong, as we all know how these two fighters match up. Haney was simply better than Kambosos in every department. Rematches are born for three reasons. Because the fight was so good that the fans demand more, which is not the case here. That the fight was so close or controversial that a re-run is needed to settle the debate, but again there is no debate surrounding Haney’s victory. The third is what we find ourselves with, a contractual obligation to be fulfilled for no clear reason.

This is not meant as a criticism of George Kambosos. ‘Ferocious’ made a huge splash in beating Teofimo Lopez last year, and he deserved to get the most agreeable contract he could for his first title defence. But he must realise that a rematch does not even serve him particularly well after a loss like the one he suffered this weekend. A rebuilding fight against a less supernaturally talented fighter than Haney is essential. 

It remains to be seen whether we really will be forced to endure this unnecessary rematch. ‘Canelo’ is a recent example of this not always being the route losing fighters take after a defeat. But for all involved, it would be better if they fought other people next. The new champion, Haney, deserves a homecoming bout of his own in the United States. Kambosos meanwhile should look to ease himself back into contention, rather than step back into the lion’s den.

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