On a night where most of the world’s eyes were fixed on a certain event that took place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, on the other side of the country one of America’s top Heavyweights was able to successfully defend his USBA Heavyweight Title. Philadelphia native Bryant “By-By” Jennings made his hometown crowd at Temple University’s McGonigle Hall erupt in the 5th round as he put his opponent Bowie Tupou out for the count. Jennings who is now 16-0 with 8KO’s, capped off an impressive campaign in 2012, which he ripped off 5 wins with 3 coming by way of KO, including back-to-back KO’s for the second time in his short career.
From the moment the bell sounded it was evident that Jennings would do as he normally does, use his athleticism and jab to break down his opponent. He kept Tupou at the end of his jab and at a safe distance to where the heavy handed Tupou couldn’t land significantly. Along with that steady dose of a stiff jab, “By-By” used every inch of the ring and swift footwork to keep the fight exactly where he wanted it, in the middle of the ring. Even when the fight ensued from the pocket, where most boxing minds said Jennings wouldn’t want the fight, he looked comfortable and was able to land a few, turn Tupou and bail out.
The only adversity Jennings faced was in the 3rd round, while circling around the ring he found himself near the ropes and Tupou closed the gap and threw a lunging right hand that sent Jennings to the canvas for the 1st time. Though it was ruled a slip, when speaking to Jennings he said that 90% of him falling was due to the punch. He seemed to have weary legs for the rest of the round which forced him to uncharacteristically clinch; Jennings fired back some shots of his own to let Tupou know he was in for a fight.
The 4th round began with Tupou attempting to apply pressure but Jennings regained his legs and managed to keep the distance and pace of the fight in his favor. He continued to jab, laid down some bodywork, picked his spots moving in when he wanted to, landed solid shots and backed out. He stuck to the game plan but also push the action enough to make it and entertaining round.
In the fatal 5th round it was multiple combinations that led to Tupou’s demise. Jennings started the round utilizing a serious left handed attack, both up top and to the body. Tupou’s punch output declined and Jennings picked up the pace a little. With 1:37 left in the round a beautiful combo started off with a left and a right banging the body, moved upstairs finishing with a right hook then a hard right uppercut that sent Tupou flying on his back. A count of 10 was reached as Tupou rose to his feet but it was to late.
Jennings continued to prove that he’s America’s best chance at returning a major Heavyweight title back to the states. This win will certainly move him up from his #5 IBF ranking and put him in line for a title shot in the near future. But until he gets a crack at major belt, expect to see Jennings on one of the big networks, HBO or Showtime next year as he is rapidly becoming a hot commodity. Some of the names being thrown around on the Internet as the next opponent people want to see Jennings tangle with is Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury, both undefeated contenders. Either way he goes as far as who the opponent will be, Bryant “By-By” Jennings’ name will be all over the Heavyweight scene in 2013 and he will remain a force to be reckoned with.