When the phone rang with the news of a potential fight with Teon Kennedy, junior lightweight Jerry “The Corpus Christi Kid” Belmontes rose to the challenge. The Main Events promoted fighter will prepare for his toughest competition to date when he and Kennedy meet on December 8th in the televised co-main event of an NBC Sports Network broadcast. The main event of that night will consist of standout American heavyweight Bryant Jennings against Bowie Topou.
Belmontes (17-0) was a decorated amateur, but his career hit a snag last year with promotional issues forcing him into an 11 month layoff. This is Belmontes’ moment to shed the prospect label and enter the realm of contender. “The Corpus Christi Kid” was thrilled when he got the news from his manager, Adrian Clark, that he would be fighting Teon Kennedy.
“It was great news. My manager called me at 7am and asked if I wanted to fight Teon Kennedy and I said ‘hell yeah’, I didn’t even care about anything else. Then he called back a few hours later and said it would be in Philadelphia on NBCSN and that just made the news better,” Belmontes said in an interview with Thaboxingvoice.com.
In Kennedy’s last outing, he fought the top ranked junior featherweight Guillermo Rigondeaux on the televised undercard of the Pacquiao-Bradley PPV. In that fight Kennedy was stopped in the 5th round. Belmontes saw that fight as well as others from Kennedy and says he’s very familiar with him.
“I’ve seen him fight on TV and I’m familiar with his style. I don’t see too much he could do to beat me. He’s slow, he doesn’t move his head and comes forward; I’m a slick fighter, I’ve got speed and more power behind my punches. We’re still going to study him to get the game plan down, but I’m more than confident we’re going to get this W.”
For this fight Kennedy is moving up to 130lbs after campaigning at 122lbs for nearly his entire career; Belmontes will benefit from the discrepancy, but he feels that Teon is still a formidable opponent despite the move up.
“From his interviews he says he couldn’t make 122lbs anymore and I expect him to bring that experience he got at 122 with him up to 130. This is not going to be easy, but I’m going to go to his hometown and do what I do best.
“He’s been getting dropped at 122 and I’ve been a 130lb fighter. He’s coming up and it will be a good fight for him; he says he can fight better at 130 and I’m glad because I’ll be ready,” Belmontes said.
Belmontes realizes that this is a huge opportunity for him and wants to capitalize off of a memorable performance against his most recognizable opponent on television in Philadelphia – a new market for Belmontes who has fought most of his fights in his home state of Texas.
Although Kennedy will be the most recognizable name in the ring that night and will be fighting in front of his home town of Philadelphia, Belmontes knows this is his time to shine. He is confident enough in his skills that he will get the win, but he’s looking to go beyond the victory and become a fan favorite with his performance.
“I know this is a huge step up for me, but I’m a fighter and fighting isn’t new to me. I’m going to out box him and if he wants to slug we can slug; I want to put on a good show for the fans so they can remember me. I’m going over there to show them who the ‘Corpus Christi Kid’ is, I’m positive everyone will remember Jerry Belmontes after I beat Teon.”
A few months ago Thaboxingvoice.com reported that Belmontes had left his trainer Derrick James — the trainer of Olympian Errol Spence — and was contemplating a move back with his father Sal Belmontes, who trained his son Jerry for his entire career with the exception of his last two fights.
Jerry’s father is back in the corner of his son and Jerry explained that the relationship was never in disarray. He insists that he and his father have found the formula for success as it relates to the father/son relationship in boxing.
“I’m sticking to my Dad and we’re in the beginning stages of camp, but we know what needs to be done to win this fight.”
Belmontes is in the early stages of camp, but he has already begun working with his strength and conditioning Coach Hickel Woolery. This will be Jerry’s first time working with a strength and conditioning coach throughout an entire training camp in preparations for a fight. He has said that he can already feel the difference and it is bringing his conditioning to never before discovered heights.
“I started strength and conditioning 3 weeks ago with my coach [Woolery]. I’m already in shape and the first week of training camp isn’t even over. I’ll be prepared come fight night.”
Belmontes has waited for this opportunity since he started boxing as a kid, he says the opportunity won’t pass him by. Even though he will be fighting far from his comfort zone of Corpus Christi, Texas, his fan base is loyal and passionate. Jerry stands as the lone hope to put bring a world title to Corpus Christi and the city will be supporting him come December 8th.
Belmontes knows that and has maintained his role as a soldier for his city, representing them all with pride and integrity. So when he steps into the ring against Teon he will be fighting to further his status in his division and for the status of his community, reassuring them that the “Kid” is worth the faith.