For the 3rd consecutive week, the sport of boxing will be in the spotlight in the New York as HBO Boxing will be live at The World’s Most Famous Arena, The Mecca, Madison Square Garden. The return of “Dr. Steelhammer” Wladimir Klitschko (63-3 with 53 KOs) to fighting on American soil for the 1st time in over 7 years, which was also at Madison Square Garden, will be highlighted. Klitschko will be squaring off against the undefeated Bryant “By-By” Jennings (19-0 with 10 KOs) for Klitschko’s WBA Super World Heavyweight title, as well as his WBO World Heavyweight title, his IBO World Heavyweight title, and his IBF World Heavyweight title. Can Jennings pull off the upset of this young century so far?
The now 39-year-old Wladimir Klitschko has so many accolades that this entire article could be on him alone. Klitschko has not lost a fight in over ten years, 2004 to be exact. He’s a highly skilled boxer that smothers his opponents and knows how to win rounds. His extra-long reach helps him to jab opponents to death, and while it may not be the most fan-friendly style, its effectiveness cannot be questioned. The only thing that has been questioned in his career has been his chin. The jab causes people not to get close to him, but if they do, he has shown that he can be caught. However, that was 11-12 years ago.
Klitschko has beaten too many greats to name them all, but a few of the top boxers he has defeated include: Ruslan Chagaev, Kubrat Pulev, David Haye, Chris Byrd twice, Samuel Peter twice, Jameel McCline, Sultan Ibragimov, Eddie Chambers, and Tony Thompson twice. A case can be made that all of those wins are against better boxers than Bryant Jennings is at this point of his career. This will be another one of those fights where Klitschko’s opponent is given no real shot to win, but that’s also probably what was said against Lamon Brewster, Corrie Sanders, and Ross Puritty, his lone three losses.
Bryant Jennings is a 30-year-old; Philly born fighter that has only been a pro for five years and his level of competition so far isn’t even in the same realm as Klitschko’s. Just to put it in perspective, his best opponents have been his last two fights, which were against Artur Szpilka and then Mike Perez. While Klitschko is looked at as a top 10 heavyweight of all time, Jennings is barely looked at as a top 10 heavyweight in the division as we speak. The one advantage he will have that Klitschko hasn’t faced in a long time, if ever, is that Jennings has three-inch reach advantage, which may nullify Klitschko’s jab.
When this fight was first made, I, probably as everyone else, probably thought that it was a weird matchup, but probably another easy Klitschko win. Jennings is too small, not experienced enough, and not enough power to pull off the upset. I still feel the same way on most of these things, but Jennings only chance to keep this close is he has to use the jab to control the distance between the two fighters, that is something that Klitschko normally does. I still think that because of the lack of KO power, Klitschko will walk through the jab of Jennings and go for the stoppage.
When it’s all said and done, Klitschko only loses when he gets caught. I don’t believe Jennings has the power to do that; I’m going with Klitschko by 5th round stoppage. It’s a fight that may not be a classic, but it’s another step for Klitschko as he continues with this closing stanza of his career. A stanza that will likely include Tyson Fury, David Haye (again), current WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder, and who knows who else. No matter what, it should be an interesting fight and a good prelude to next week’s little card involving two relative unknowns named Mayweather and Pacquiao. Until then, enjoy the fight.