A major 12-round heavyweight title fight will take place on December 19 at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, NY that has many people around boxing bursting in anticipation of a war. Bryant “By-By” Jennings (19-1, 10 KOs) and Luis “The Real King Kong” Ortiz (23-0, 20 KOs) will not only battle for the WBA Interim Heavyweight title, but for a shot at ultimate heavyweight supremacy in 2016. The fight comes on the heels of Wladimir Klitschko’s shocking loss to Tyson Fury, effectively ending his long reign as champion while signifying a new era in the division.
Anyone who witnessed that dreadfully boring contest knows it wasn’t just the worst heavyweight fight of 2015, but one of the worst fights of the year regardless of weight. “Dr. Steelhammer” had a tense April showdown in New York at Madison Square Garden which saw Klitschko escape with a narrow unanimous decision win over the skilled Philadelphia product.
The loss was a victory of sorts for Jennings, as it was there that Klitschko revealed glimpses of major decline, leading many to speculate if it wasn’t Jennings who robbed and “shot” the mighty Ukranian in the process. Because of his determined showing in defeat, Jennings became more of a player in a division suddenly loaded with drama, and looked to parlay his misfortune into gain.
On the undercard of the October 17 event featuring middleweight terror Gennady Golovkin and flyweight ace Roman Gonzalez, Ortiz crashed on the heavyweight scene like a menacing character out of the “Rocky” franchise. So destructive was his 3rd round annihilation of Matias Ariel Vidondo, that it sent shock waves throughout the arena and had fight fans buzzing. A relatively unknown commodity of Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy, Ortiz was thrust into the heavyweight spotlight as an immediate threat to anyone, prompting De La Hoya to call for a bout with Jennings at the post fight press conference. The feared former Cuban amateur sensation’s challenge was accepted by Jennings, paving the way for what looks like an epic war on HBO Boxing “After Dark”.
*** *** *** *** *** *** ***
Bryant “Bye Bye” Jennings vs. Luis “The Real King Kong” Ortiz/ Nicholas “The Axeman” Walters vs. Jason Sosa
When: Saturday, December 19 “Live” on HBO After Dark
Where: Oneida Nation’s Turning Stone Resort & Casino, Verona, NY
The 12-round heavyweight bout for the WBA Interim Heavyweight Title is presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Gary Shaw Productions. Doors open at 6:00 p.m., and the HBO Boxing After Dark telecast begins live at 10:15 p.m. ET/PT.
Tickets for the event start at $25, $35 and $60 for ringside seats plus applicable fees and are available at the Turning Stone Resort Box Office by calling 315-361-7469 or online at Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.com).
*** *** *** *** *** *** ***
These two fighters do not like each other and it has nothing to do with simply promoting a fight. During last week’s international media conference call, Jennings accused Ortiz of steroid use and questioned his credentials. “By-By” was quick to point out in rather comedic fashion, that Ortiz’s last opponent (Vidondo) had been violently KO’d before and doesn’t understand what its like to be in a major fight. He feels certain that Ortiz is extremely overrated and will succumb to his vast skill set.
“This is his first real pro fight,” sneered Jennings, before digging a hole into Ortiz. “He’s had a long amateur career and I’ve had a long pro career. The guy he just beat bad had been stopped before several times. So he hasn’t really done anything. You can get a Heisman Trophy and all kinds of awards in college, but then be garbage at the pro level. He’s getting cleaned up and I’m going to embarrass him.”
Ortiz, for his part, was in no mood to talk and boiled over the phone. Surly, irascible and in a mood that can only be described as bad, the giant Cuban emphatically stated that he will ‘knock out Jennings’ and that he hits ‘way harder than Klitschko’. Since fights are won in the ring and not in print. Like his countryman, the great Guillermo Rigondeaux, Ortiz is indeed one of the most distinguished amateur fighters of all-time. But at the professional level (and to Jennings point) he has not faced optimal competition and has never been extended to test his will or endurance. At 36, it is not known whether he can demonstrate the poise or the polish necessary to dispose of Jennings over the course of a long fight.
In film study, he likes to start extremely fast and isn’t shy about letting his hands go. Ortiz has shown solid technical skill, balance and remarkable athleticism for a man of his size. He is a rare combination punching big man who strikes with maximum authority while not wasting any punches- the hallmark of all very good fighters. Jennings is crafty, sneaky and very nuanced in the subtlety of the “sweet science”. He made Klitschko feel very uncomfortable fighting “tall” and appeared to drain the mighty Ukranian in the process while nullifying his offense. Jennings managed to do the same thing to the talented Mike Perez while dismissing him during their July 2014 summit. Can he do the same to the monstrous Ortiz?
*** *** *** *** *** ***
This fight feels a lot like the rematch between former all-time great heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis and Hasim Rahman in November 2001 from a physical and emotional standpoint. Much credit has to be given to De La Hoya for getting this fight made so quickly, as an Ortiz win would be a colossal coupe for the embattled promoter. The volatile and explosive nature of Ortiz could result in a huge upset, but it just doesn’t seem very likely. Jennings is very much like Philadelphia legend Bernard Hopkins in how he applies his craft, in that he’ll take away his opponents’ best punch and frustrate the hell out of him. Any mistake made by Ortiz will be immediately paid for by Jennings, who will stand his ground and ultimately force “The Real King Kong” to run away and climb up a skyscraper. This fight will start off fast and furious before settling into a pace dictated by Jennings. After unloading his heavy artillery and punching himself out, expect Ortiz to be beaten up and KTFO in six ridiculously entertaining rounds. If that’s not enough of a reason to watch, then the co-feature of Walters vs. Sosa should also be a scintillating, can’t-miss action fight as well. For more on this card or your favorite fighters, please be sure to visit Real Combat Media.