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George Kambosos sits on the verge of boxing's ultimate glory, one win from undisputed at lightweight

George Kambosos has destiny in his sights. (Getty Images: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)

Boxing history is going to be made on Sunday, June 5 — and it's going to be made in Melbourne.

Since the beginning of the four-belt (IBF, WBO, WBA and WBC) era in 2004 (or 2007, depending on who you're talking to), just seven men have been able to call themselves the undisputed champion of the world.

In front of an expected crowd of over 50,000 at Docklands, George Kambosos Jr and Devin Haney will bid to become the eighth.

Make no mistake, this is a monumental, historic fight.

It is, arguably, the biggest fight to take place in Australia since Jack Johnson beat Tommy Burns in Sydney to become the first black world heavyweight champion in 1908.

By Sunday evening, one of Kambosos or Haney will join an illustrious list containing Bernard Hopkins, Oleksandr Usyk, Jermain Taylor, Terence Crawford, Josh Taylor, Saul 'Canelo' Álvarez and Jermell Charlo.

Such history-defining events don't come around too often.

George Kambosos has a shelf-full of belts already from all four major governing bodies, but he's not undisputed. (Getty Images: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)

The era of undisputed

No matter who wins on Sunday, we will be crowning a new undisputed champion, the first at lightweight since Pernell Whitaker in 1992, and first ever in the four-belt era.

Due to boxing's uniquely fractured market, crowning an undisputed champion that all the governing bodies can agree on has been rare.

However, in the last 12 months, three men have swept their divisions: Taylor, Canelo and Charlo.

The winner of this contest will make it four in little over a year.

Of the five women who have also earned undisputed status in the four-belt era, four — Katie Taylor (lightweight), Jess McCaskill (welterweight), Franchón Crews-Dezurn (super middleweight) and Claressa Shields (middleweight and light middleweight) — have done so in the last three years. Cecilia Brækhus unified the welterweight titles in 2014.

In the three belt era — which stretched between 1983 and 2007, before the WBO earned legitimacy — just 19 men were considered undisputed. 

Kostya Tszyu was one of them, conquering the light welterweight division in 2001 and holding the WBA, WBO and IBF light welterweight belts until 2003.

He defended those belts twice, with the second of those defences coming in Australia, when he knocked out Jesse James Leija at the very same venue where Kambosos will be hoping to make history on Sunday.

Docklands stadium has already hosted one undisputed world title fight. (Getty Images: Nick Laham)

The term undisputed rarely entered the boxing lexicon until the three-belt era, but since we're here, Indigenous star Lionel Rose was also technically undisputed during his bantamweight championship reign in 1968 when there were two belts on offer, the WBA and WBC.

Jimmy Carruthers, Australia's first officially recognised boxing world champion was also undisputed, holding the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) and National Boxing Association (NBA — which later became the WBA) bantamweight titles between 1952 and 1954.

Kambosos is the 23rd Australian man to win a major world title strap, but would be just the fourth to be called undisputed.

George Kambosos has already felled one of the lightweight division kings. (Getty Images: Al Bello)

'Emperor' Kambosos's taste for regicide

After Kambosos stunned the world last November in New York, he made reference to the stacked lightweight division and it's four, then-unbeaten "kings": Teófimo López, Ryan Garcia, Devin Haney and Gervonta Davis.

The Four Kings moniker relates to the great middleweight fighters of the 1980s, Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns and Roberto Duran.

That quartet revitalised boxing in the US after the moribund post-Muhammad Ali period by repeatedly meeting in a series of massive fights between June 1980 and December 1989, a period immortalised in George Kimball's book, Four Kings.

The four modern kings were set, in theory, to dominate the lightweight scene in the same way.

Pundits touted (l-r) Devin Haney, Ryan Garcia, Teófimo López and Gervonta Davis as the lightweight division's four kings. (Getty Images)

However, Kambosos upset the recognised order by beating López, adding a new layer to what was already boxing's most intriguing division.

Having won "all the jewels" as he put it in the ring at Madison Square Garden that night, Kambosos has made good on his promise — although this time he's making his opponent come to him.

He's doing so straight off the bat as well, his first defence a massive world title fight against a seriously dangerous opponent.

Devin Haney (left) passed the toughest test of his career by beating Joseph Diaz in Las Vegas last December. (Getty Images: Steve Marcus)

Haney won't be overawed

Although underrated by some, Haney will likely prove to be a very tough test for Kambosos — a fact reflected by the odds being firmly in his favour.

Haney is an awkward opponent — it's no accident that he has been described by some as being style similar to Floyd Mayweather, evasive at best, ultra defensive and untidy at worst.

That was in evidence against Jorge Linares, when he should have been penalised for holding in the latter stages after being hurt.

He proved his chin was solid enough though against his most recent opponent, JoJo Diaz, dictating the pace of the contest with a stiff jab and precise combinations, fighting off the front and back foot with equal effectiveness, and now he wants the recognition that being unanimous champion will bring.

"This is bragging rights. The world has said so much, the boxing world has said so many things, all this and that," he said upon arrival in Australia three weeks ago.

Haney is unlikely to force a stoppage due to a relative lack of punching power — although most agree that will come with his increasing maturity.

Devin Haney is unbeaten as a professional — and he didn't lose much as an amateur either. (Getty Images: David Becker)

One thing we can be certain about Haney is that he will not be overawed by a what will be a tremendously hostile crowd due to his early career experience in Mexico.

Kambosos has already had a pop at Haney's Mexican adventures, questioning the standard of his opponents and, therefore, his 27-0 record.

Haney though, let the insult wash over him, unwilling to fall into the same trap that López did during their protracted courtship.

He'll be hoping that by keeping cool and sticking to his plan, he'll take Kambosos' belts back the States, earning the respect and massive paydays against the other four lightweight kings. 

Kambosos though, has more regicide on his mind, as well as a slice of boxing history.

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