Australian lightweight world title challenger George Kambosos Jr called Teofimo Lopez a “pork chop” for the way he has performed since becoming champion.
Rising American superstar Lopez, 23, shocked the world with beat icon Vasiliy Lomachenko last year. He won the IBF 135lbs (61kg) belt by knocking out Richard Commey in 2019, then added the WBA, WBO and Ring Magazine titles last year by taking a unanimous decision over Lomachenko, pushing his record to 16-0 (12 KOs). ). It also has a version of the WBC belt.
Kambosos (19-0, 10 KOs), who earned his shot by winning a IBF title eliminator against former featherweight world champion Lee Selby, was not impressed with the way Lopez conducted himself as a champion.
“I think he went on a bit like a pork chop, to be honest,” Kambosos, 27, told Wide World of Sports.
“He continues, has fun, he drinks alcohol. I don’t drink, I train.
“He’s on Instagram Live all the time, dancing and talking nonsense. He argues with his own promoters. His brain and his vision are very, very cloudy. He’s all over the store.
“While I’m just focused, I have a clear vision. A vision, a man standing in front of me, with so much going on in his brain at 23, all that money and all that status and fame. .and everything that goes on outside in his life.
“This is not a good place, he is not in the right place at all and when we step into that ring together he will start to realize,” This is not the right guy that suits my style. “.
“I believe styles make fights, I think styles are what indicates a fighter, and I’m the guy who is going to beat this supposedly undefeated kid that no one can beat.”
Lopez called this phase of his career “The Takeover”. His swagger paid off massively for the fight against the Kambosos, when he rejected the tenure of longtime Top Rank promoter (Bob Arum) and went to make a scholarship offer.
Digital streaming company Triller crushed Top Rank and Matchroom Boxing offers with an offer of $ 6 million ($ 7.66 million). Kambosos reduction is 35%: $ 2.1 million ($ 2.7 million).
But for Kambosos, it’s about the belts, not the money. Having progressed after fighting at local Sydney clubs, in battle with Manny Pacquiao, to take his last six fights abroad and beat two former world champions at Mickey Bey and Selby, this is hard-earned glory.
“I’ve had this vision for a very long time, the vision to get here, and I always knew the money would come,” Kambosos said, after sealing his biggest purse by far.
“I have never chased money and even to this day, with this beautiful and beautiful payday, it is not a question of money. I don’t care about the money.
“Beautiful, it sets up my family, it makes things a little easier. But my motivation, my motivation, is these belts and leaving them a legacy.
“I’m not like those other fighters here in Australia chasing payday. I’m not here for the big payday, I’m here for the legacy. If I’m doing the right thing, fighting the best in the world and by beating the best fighters in the world, I’m going to be paid very well.
“It’s huge. No other fighter in Australia does what we do. It’s been so many years since a fighter like me came to Australia.
“It’s a great time in my career. I’m the best fighter in the country, without a doubt, levels above anyone they talk about or promote.
“And on payday… well, I’m also Australia’s highest paid combat athlete. He’s got a nice ring, but it’s not about the money. become the world’s best lightweight and the unified champion. “
When he’s not hammering the bags in his home gym, Sydney resident Kambosos is training in Miami with Javiel Centeno. He’ll be returning by the end of the month, with Lopez’s touted fight for late May in the United States.
A father of two children, Kambosos pays the price for its commitment, spending long periods away from his family. His road is unusual, since he started boxing at age 11 as an overweight child who was once bullied and last chosen for the sport.
“I have worked harder than anyone in this country,” Kambosos said.
“I did it in the most difficult way, since the concerts of the local clubs, where few people were there to watch me. I was not an Olympian, I was not an amateur fighter with big sponsors.
“I had to do it the hard way. I didn’t have that big name behind me, I’m not daddy’s boy, I’m not a trendy rugby league football player. young man from Sydney.with nothing that made it to the top.
“Now I’m the best fighter in the country, on the verge of becoming the undisputed champion, obviously Australia’s highest paid combat fighter now. It feels good, because I deserved it.
“When fighters look back on their careers and see their careers progress, they will see that Kambosos is the one who has come all the way and who has done it the hardest. I look at myself in the mirror and I say, ‘Mate, what that it happens, you left and you won it in the hardest way ”.
“The real fans and the real people behind me know what I have accomplished and the difficult path I have taken. I have made a lot of sacrifices in my life, a lot of sacrifices in my career. do. leave my family many times to pursue my dream but I’m still here. I’m still standing, still undefeated, and fighting the best fighters in the world. “
While Kambosos doesn’t regret Lopez for the more conventional path he’s taken to become famous, the proud Greek-Australian believes his extra hunger will kick in when they go head-to-head for the belts.
“He won what he has, I will never take that away from him,” Kambosos said.
“He beat Lomachenko. Lomachenko had a lot of free time and supposedly entered the fight with a shoulder, but he beat Lomachenko. He beat Richard Commey and he beat a few good guys on the rise.
“But again, he came out of the Olympics, he had a promotions contract as soon as he started. Top Rank built him the right way.
“He never had to leave his country, never had to go anywhere and fight in someone’s yard. To this day he’s not going to come to someone’s yard. even though we were so close to bringing them here to Australia.
“We had them and obviously… I have to recognize Brian Amatruda from Big Time Boxing, and Mick Gatto, because they had the money ready. We had Lopez for Australia. Unfortunately, the Australian Open and forties spoiled that.
“But it’s okay. I’ve been on the road many times and that’s how I like it. I thrive on fighting abroad, I thrive on being in the back- someone’s yard. That’s what brings out the best in me. He’s had a good road, he had a solid road, but nowhere near the road I had to get to where I am. will see in the fight. “
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