They’re a tradition as old as time in the sweet science. From broken toes and dysfunctional training camps to torn rotator cuffs and weight-cutting problems, excuses for losses – while often fully or partially true – tend to be the trump cards of choice for many boxers immediately after defeat.
But for heavyweight contender Bryant Jennings? Nah.
Jennings (19-2, 10 KOs) caught up with ThaBoxingVoice’s own Joshua Grayfer following his 7th-round TKO loss to Cuban destroyer Luis Ortiz and offered up no such excuses.
“I was fucked up. The ref did a good job,” Bryant said, obviously rather candidly.
From the opening bell, Ortiz (24-0, 21 KOs) battered Jennings and badly hurt him numerous times throughout the fight, most notably in rounds 1 and 3, and then again multiple times in rounds 5 through 7. Jennings seemed to want to box from a distance to start the bout, but quickly felt the rangy power of his bigger and more experienced opponent.
Unable to establish the proper range and already on unsteady legs, Bryant tweaked his strategy when he came out for round 2. He opted to stay in the pocket as close to Ortiz as possible in order to smother Ortiz’s power by not allowing Ortiz to get much extension on his punches.
The new game plan worked – ever so briefly – and Bryant showed tremendous heart and courage by having bounce-back rounds in the 2nd and 4th after getting rocked in the 1st and 3rd. Unfortunately for Bryant, staying on the inside also presented a massive risk: Ortiz, a southpaw, has perhaps the best left-uppercut in boxing.
In the end, it was Ortiz’s skills and power from distance early on mixed with his exceptional use of the left uppercut when Bryant tried to hibernate in the pocket that eventually forced referee Dick Pakozdi to halt the contest in the 7th round.
“I didn’t adjust to the right things at the right times. I got caught with some shots that were draining,” Bryant confessed to ThaBoxingVoice, accepting full responsibility for the loss rather than citing a cliché or a cop-out excuse.
“Win, lose, draw or get knocked the fuck out. Those are the possibilities that you know you’re facing. I’m good. I ain’t worried about nothing,” he added.
It’s always refreshing to see a fighter earnestly speaking after a tough stoppage loss instead of taking the excuse route. Jennings, one of the classiest sportsman in boxing, will probably take his time to recover but should be back in the heavyweight title contender picture in mid-2016.