Jason Mallia predicts “one hell of a fight” between Devin Haney and George Kambosos Junior having sparred the American in the build-up.
Australian welterweight Mallia was called into the Haney camp last month to help the WBC lightweight champion prepare for his undisputed showdown with Kambosos on June 5 in Melbourne.
The 27-year-old, unbeaten in three fights as a professional, says Haney was “sharp”, carried a “super-fast” jab and was exceptionally accurate.
Mallia impressed Haney and his team over two spars – “they liked the fact I made him think” – and though he wants countryman Kambosos to win, he has first-hand experience of the sizeable task that awaits.
“He’s got he’s got a super-fast jab,” Mallia said.
“I carry myself on reading punches very well, but he’s got a super-fast jab. His cornerman was calling it the ‘million-dollar jab’.
“He’s lightning fast, and he picks his shots very well.”
“I’m a massive advocate for big things to happen in Australia and for Australians this platform is incredible because it helps people like myself,” he added.
“Devin Haney is very sharp; he picks his shots very well. When he throws three shots, two of them land, he’s very accurate, he’s pinpoint.
“Being an Aussie boy, I’d love to see the Australian win but having this experience of sparring Devin, I just believe it’s going to be one hell of a fight and regardless of who wins, it’s going to be fantastic for boxing.”
MALLIA ON MEETING HANEY FOR THE FIRST TIME
“These guys were the ultimate professionals, and when I walked into the gym, he was sitting in the ring getting a massage from his masseuse.
“But he is a very, very humble guy, he welcomed me with open arms. He came out to me straightaway, and we had a good chat and then we warmed up and I got asked to do five rounds.
“I did well and post sparring, he got out of the ring and told me that he wanted me to do some more spars while he was down here. I was very humbled to get the opportunity to work with Devin, he is world class and for me to get called back it was reassuring to know that I could mix it with some of the top dogs.”
MALLIA ON ‘HUMBLE’ HANEY
“I have followed him on social media for a long time and I’ve always been a big fan of his style.
“I had a chat with him post spar and he was just like another guy, he was so humble even though he had the big entourage, he had a big team around him and a whole hype team. When you spar, the Americans really try to throw you off, shouting from the corner but even his team was very welcoming to me.
“Social media portrays a different image of people, so until you are sitting with someone, you don’t really know them. It was just us two and I wanted to see how Australia was treating him and asked how his preparations were going. We spoke about George a little bit. He’s a nice dude, and I have nothing but nice things to say about him.”
MALLIA ON HANEY NEEDING HEATERS IN RING
“We spoke about how it was like sitting in Australia and coming to Melbourne. Obviously, there was the climate change factor because he was saying it was a bit warmer where he was used to. When we got to the gym to spar, they had heaters in the ring, they were freezing here.
“We’re in Melbourne and we get four seasons in one day here! So, it would have probably been about 10 to 12 degrees on that day. I’m quite used to it, being a Melbourne boy, and so I got into the ring and there all of these heaters. I’m like: ‘Man, is someone going to turn these heaters off, I’m boiling in here?’ But it was about what they wanted, it was about keeping the champ warm, you know, they wanted to make sure that he didn’t get cold. It was full royalty for him in the ring. He had someone massaging him, he had foot heaters, he had heaters for the ring, like. But when you get to that level, you deserve that kind of treatment.”
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