A new heavyweight contender was born tonight as Luis Ortiz emerged from the foundations of the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York, stopping Bryant Jennings in the 7th round of their scheduled 12. This ended up being one of the best heavyweight scraps of the year as both men traded punches and stood in the pocket.
The bigger Ortiz worked the body and utilized his range well in the first round. Jennings tried to give Ortiz some awkward looks, but Ortiz was able to land a short right hand from the southpaw stance and it wobbled Jennings. Jennings was able to regain his legs, but not for long as Ortiz landed heavy leather with both hands. Jennings was once again in trouble, but the heavy legs of Ortiz didn’t allow him to swarm.
Jennings survived the 1st round, but Ortiz made his point.
There was plenty of offense in the first few rounds. However, Ortiz’s relaxed nature was the real take away early on in the fight. Still, Jennings was able to regain some momentum in the fight.
Ortiz managed to hurt Jennings once again in the 3rd round with both hands. The heavy handed combinations made it tough for Jennings who was able to defend a few of the shots. The problem was that Ortiz’s hands seemed so heavy that all he needed was one or two of those shots to land. Jennings was able to regain his senses and even managed to put together some solid offense of his own.
The most impressive aspect of Ortiz’s game was that he was able to counter and attack with precision. Also, he was successful from both the inside and longer range offense. Each round had its own storyline and its own style. Both fighters took advantage of the different tempo in each round, but Jennings’ game was to smother and get off on Ortiz while Ortiz was contempt at finding any openings he could in order to land huge punches.
The action slowed down a bit in the middle rounds. At the midpoint in the fight, it was coming down to a bit of a chess match as both fighters were looking to get hit a little less, which was not a major concern early on in the fight.
Ortiz was able to box a bit more as well as utilizing his clubbing nature when it was useful. Jennings, on the other hand, continued in the same manner with the same approach, never making the necessary adjustments.
In the 7th round, Ortiz sent Jennings to the canvas for the first time in the fight after Ortiz landed a right uppercut followed by a double left uppercut that badly hurt Jennings. Jennings made it to his feet, but he was unable to survive much longer as Ortiz stunned him once again and the ref saved Jennings.
This was a huge win for Ortiz and he cements himself as a legitimate heavyweight contender with real power.
The heavyweight division, after years of non-existence, is now one of the hottest divisions with a star being born every month. I’m not sure if Ortiz has guaranteed himself stardom in the near future, but he certainly possesses all of the characteristics needed to taking over the division.
In the co-feature, Nicholas Walters defeated Jason Sosa in a junior lightweight contest.
Walters and Sosa were very offensive minded early on and neither fighter was all that concerned with their defense. Although Walters probably did enough to win the 1st round with some solid power shots to the body, Sosa was able to narrow the gap in the 2nd round and produce a kind of tempo that favored his game.
Sosa wasn’t incredibly accurate, even with the punches he landed, but he was letting his hands go which allowed Walters plenty opportunities to counter. Walters’s athleticism was very impressive, but it wasn’t terribly obvious due to the fact that the fight was being fought in close quarters. Walters appeared to be the more talented fighter and the better athlete, but the style of the fight allowed it to stay close and favor Sosa at times.
Still, Sosa wasn’t doing enough to separate himself in the fight even if he was simultaneously not intimidated. And it wasn’t like Sosa was unable to find success, it was more about the fact that he couldn’t really string together his offense enough maintain the momentum. But Sosa was winning parts of the round, maybe even the second half of a particular round while Walters was able to use his physicality and natural skills to win rounds.
Sosa had shown some pop in his gloves in his previous fights, but the snap in his punches were lacking and you could see the lack of pop when he landed flush and yet Walters did not back down, and instead created openings.
Sosa had a nice round in the 9th, but he was never close to putting Walters away, but Walters’ work to the body was paying off as both fighters went toe-to-toe to close out the 9th. Walters would’ve taken advantage of more distance in the fight. The fight was fought in a phone booth, but Walters’ punches were much more devastating from a greater distance.
In the end, Sosa landed 281 of 622 (45%) while Sosa landed 168 out of 873 (19%) and the story of the fight was Sosa making a quality performance that failed to compare to the natural craft of Walters.
But that was not the story for the judges.
The fight went all 10 rounds and the judges scored the fight 96-94 for Sosa and the other two judges scored the bout 95-95 for a majority draw. It is difficult to make a case for the draw, although perhaps Sosa’s activity counted for more than we initially thought.