Tempers erupted at Margaret Court Arena as George Kambosos sparked dramatic scenes by weighing in heavy before facing Devin Haney.
Drama erupted at the weigh-in for George Kambosos Jr. and Devin Haney’s world title fight as the Aussie champion failed to make weight at the first attempt even after stripping naked.
However, disaster was avoided when he returned about an hour and 15 minutes later and came in under the 135 pound (61kg) limit, meaning all four lightweight belts will be on the line at Marvel Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
“It’s the art of deception. Maybe I did it on purpose,” Kambosos said with a grin when asked why he initially missed weight, adding all he had to do was “take a p**s”.
“I did it on purpose. It changes his (Haney’s) mindset,” he said.
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A vocal crowd at Margaret Court Arena was clearly pro-Kambosos, hurling abuse and booing Haney as he was announced to those in attendance. In contrast, the local fighter was given a hero’s welcome, especially by the large Greek contingent in the crowd.
Amid the boos and jeers, the 23-year-old American Haney was first on the scales and made weight easily.
But drama erupted when Kambosos stepped up. As he played up to the crowd, the 28-year-old looked as confident as ever. After stripping down to his jocks and failing his first weigh-in, Haney began jawing at his rival.
“I said he ain’t s**t,” Haney recalled, when asked by MC Warren Smith what words were exchanged.
“He didn’t make weight. I’m a true champion and true champions make weight.
“He’s sucked up, he’s dry, I dunno, it is what it is. We’re still going to go in there and fight but I’m a true champion and true champions make weight.”
It was just the first of several heated clashes on Saturday morning.
After the pair were separated, the towels came out to cover Kambosos as he stripped naked in order to reduce his weight as much as possible by getting rid of his underpants.
But despite this, he weighed in 163g over the 61kg lightweight limit.
Immediately leaving the scales, Kambosos returned for a face-off. Far from the speechless stare-down after Friday’s press conference, Kambosos, Haney and their teams were up in each other’s faces, promising an explosive undisputed title clash on Sunday.
Kambosos’ dad looked particularly agitated, launching insults at the American as things threatened to turn physical a day early.
Aussie legend Jeff Fenech criticised Kambosos on Fox Sports’ TV coverage after the Aussie thought he was safe because he weighed himself on his hotel scales beforehand.
“For me, you always have to check you weight on the official scales,” he said.
“He checked them on the scales apparently in his hotel and they said he was on weight but the official scales are what count.
“I’m a little disappointed in that area because it’s not much weight to lose but it’s another half an hour he’s got to be out there doing something he shouldn’t be doing.”
The difficulty of a weight-cut is fighters have to dehydrate in order to lose as much weight as possible for the weigh-in and then use every minute afterwards to rehydrate in order to bulk back up and prepare for the fight the next day.
Whether the extra two hours take it out of Kambosos remains to be seen, but Haney has already scored an early win.
Haney received some additional good news before the showdown after his father and head trainer was allowed into Australia after a last-minute visa application was approved.
Bill Haney was originally barred from entering Australia due to a 1992 drug conviction but Devin was clearly pleased by the result.
“That meant everything to me, thank you to the Victorian government for making it happen, thank you God and I can’t wait for my dad to make it,” Haney said.
Asked about any nerves, Haney added: “No nerves, I’m ready.”
There was plenty of surprise at Kambosos’ failure to make weight at the first attempt. YouTube megastar turned boxing sensation Jake Paul reacted to the news, tweeting: “Cannot wait for Kambosos vs Haney tomorrow. Have so much respect for George and love his story but my prediction is Devin by SD due to the fight being in Australia.
“Also not a good sign George missed weight.”
Combat sports reporter Ariel Helwani tweeted: “High drama at the Kambosos-Haney weigh-ins. Kambosos is over by .36 pounds. He has two hours to make weight. Oh my.”
Fox Sports reporter Cody Kaye wrote: “Can’t believe he hasn’t made weight here. Almost a blue between both camps on stage. Now instead of rehydrating and refuelling he’ll be back sweating it out for two hours. Not ideal for Kambosos.”