Posted by George Hanson., Jr Esq. on Dec 20, 2012
Bo Knows By-By—Jennings Topples Tupou, Hunter Beats Belmontes!

Bo Knows By-By—Jennings Topples Tupou, Hunter Beats Belmontes!

The Mouthpiece
By: George H. Hanson Jr., Esq.

Date: Saturday, December 8, 2012
Venue: Temple University’s McGonigle Hall– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Promoters: Main Events, Peltz Boxing Promotions Inc., BAM Boxing Inc., &
Goosen Tutor.
Coverage: NBC Sports Network
Commentators: Kenny Rice, BJ Flores, Steve “USS” Cunningham & Chris Mannix
Ring Announcer: Joe Antonacci
Referee: Blair Talmadge, Shawn Clark & Gary Rosato
Photos: www.christoneyphotography.com and www.keyartphoto.com

Jennings (R.) and Tupou mixing it up

Vincent “Bo” Jackson is the greatest athlete that I have ever seen and probably will ever see in my lifetime. With an array of skills—speed, power, agility, impeccable hand-eye coordination—he mesmerized us on the baseball diamond and the gridiron. Winning the Heisman trophy in 1985, Jackson went on to clock 4.12 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine—the fastest time ever recorded. His professional exploits are legendary as a two-sport athlete. He not only made the NFL Pro-Bowl as a running back for the Los Angeles Raiders but he also made the Major League Baseball All-Star game as an outfielder for the Kansas City Royals. But like a blazing comet, his light shone brightly and then it was gone as he retired from professional sports in 1995—a career cut short by a hip injury suffered in a football game in 1991.

During Jackson’s heyday in the late 1980s and early1990s our television screen was bombarded with Nike’s “Bo Knows” commercials. The pitchman and larger than life Jackson was seen mastering a plethora of athletic endeavors including tennis, golf, luge and auto racing while pitching the company’s cross-trainer shoes. It was engrained in our minds that Jackson could do just about anything. He was a genetic anomaly that the world had never seen and one would be hard-pressed to find someone who didn’t believe that Jackson couldn’t accomplish all these deeds.

Jennings (L.) lands the finishing uppercut.

So what does this have to do with boxing? I always wondered with all his divine athletic gifts how Jackson would have fared in the squared circle. I wanted Nike to tell me that “Bo knows boxing.” And for whatever reason they didn’t. We have a proclivity to harbor the next Ray Robinson, the next Muhammad Ali, or the next Mike Tyson. There is no reason why as spectators and purists we shouldn’t expect such a pugilist to be in our midst. And for four years trainer Fred Jenkins has nurtured a finely tuned fighting machine—the embodiment of what Bo Jackson would have been had he laced on a pair of boxing gloves!
Jennings (L.) lands the finishing uppercut.

Bryant “By-By” Jennings— 6-feet-3-inches, with a 84-inch wingspan tipping the toledos at 225.25 pounds (less than two percent body fat)—with the speed and agility of a bantamweight and the strength of an Iberian bull is a once in a lifetime physical phenomena. Boxing for only four years, the Philly heavyweight and former high-school linebacker and track and field prodigy is moving rapidly up the heavyweight ranks. Unlike other young heavyweights time is a resource that he doesn’t waste—making better and fuller use of it. He has grasped more in such a short span than most men his size could have learned in 10 years. Under the tutelage of the old master Jenkins— the heavyweight—the perfect pupil—has accumulated wisdom of the sweet science, not merely the ability to simulate a few moves and combinations.

I often wonder when I am old and in my rocking chair on my verandah in Jamaica with the sea breeze blowing through my floor-length dreads if I will regret or relish a lifetime spent with my first love—the art of gloved combat. Boxing is a cruel mistress discarding one of her suitors in the blink of an eye or after 36 minutes of fighting for her approval. Thus, it was with mixed emotions that I sat ringside to witness Jennings (15 wins – 0 losses – 0 draws – 7 kos) make the first defense of his USBA heavyweight title against Bowie Tupou (22 wins – 2 losses – 0 draws – 16 kos)—a massive man and

former rugby player with the humility, dignity and manners of a Shaolin monk. I had the opportunity to speak with both Tupou and “Jazzy” Jeff Mayweather, his trainer, at Thursday’s press conference and again at the weigh-ins on Friday. Tupou—born and raised in Tonga—turned professional in Australia in 2006 before relocating to Las Vegas in 2007 where he is trained by Mayweather. I would have to hit myself in the thumb with a hammer in order to generate an ounce of animus towards Tupou and his likeable introspective trainer. They are similar to Jennings and Fred Jenkins—two genial gentlemen engaged in the business of separating others from their senses. It’s just the nature of the business.

Anything can happen when two gloved men weighting 253 lbs. and 225.25 lbs., respectively, enter a boxing ring, as was the case of Tupou and Jennings. The first and second rounds were as expected with Tupou stalking the ever-moving Jennings who used his mobility to force his adversary to expend plenty of energy in trying to track him down. The rounds were closely contested with Jennings controlling the action with his jab finishing the second round yelling like a Banshee before uncorking a combination that included a left hook followed by a right that caught Tupou—as the bell rang. In the third round Jennings was pedaling backwards on his bicycle with about a minute and twenty-seconds remaining when Tupou landed a scud-missile overhand right that landed high on his cranium. Jennings went crashing sideways to the canvas—a knockdown that was missed by referee Talmadge who ruled it a slip. Jennings was hurt and Tupou was like a shark who tasted blood in the waters moving in with a sense of urgency trying to close the show throwing with bad intentions to the head and body as Jennings grabbed him to clear the cobwebs. The young Philadelphian is no ordinary fighter. He showed amazing recuperative powers as he righted the ship and made it to the end of the round.

Jennings (L.) watches Tupou on the canvas.

The fourth round was close with Jennings remaining flat-footed jabbing and exchanging with Tupou capturing the round. In the fifth stanza, Jennings stood his ground beating Tupou to the punch while whacking away at the body and head. Midway through the round Jennings landed the most unusual combination—a left hook to Tupou’s ribcage followed by a right hook—then a right hook to the side of the head—another left hook to the head—then a vicious right uppercut that landed on the button of the Tongan’s chin sending him sprawling flat on his back. The combination was delivered with the speed and precision of a man half his size. Referee Talmadge began the count as Tupou’s head laid under the bottom strand of the ring ropes. The fallen boxer made it to his feet at the count of nine as the referee stopped the fight at 1:37 declaring Jennings the winner by technical knockout.

With his scheduled opponent—former junior-featherweight title challenger Teon “The Technician” Kennedy, who was moving up two divisions—getting injured in training, undefeated Jerry Belmontes (17 wins – 0 losses – 0 draws– 5 kos) was without a dance partner. Philadelphia featherweight and 2004 Olympic alternate Eric “Outlaw” Hunter (16 wins – 2 losses – 0 draws – 9 kos) threw his hat in the ring and decided to jump up a weight division to face the Corpus Christi, Texas junior-lightweight in the scheduled ten-rounder. Oftentimes, my opinion is solicited by managers, fighters and promoters regarding proposed match-ups. Had Kathy Duva, President of Main Events—Belmontes’ promoter—called me I would have advised her to avoid Hunter like Count Dracula evades daylight.

Hunter (R.) attacking Belmontes.

Having known Hunter from the first month he set foot in a boxing gym, I am fully aware of his boxing capabilities. I remember when he was only 16-years-old, his first year in the Golden Gloves, he knocked everyone he faced. I don’t know if the diminutive fighter has ever entered a building and immediately upon exiting its occupants didn’t realize that the baddest man had just left! A boxing savant who studies fight films of boxing greats he is always in the gym and is never out of shape. There is a wide disparity in boxing acumen between Belmontes and Hunter that a four pound weight differential couldn’t compensate. The Corpus Christi pugilist could have outweighed Hunter by as much as 20 pounds and I would not have flinched in making the Philly fighter the favorite. Maybe, Hunter’s inactivity which included only one fight in the past 19-months sealed the deal.
​​

I knew it would be only a matter of time before Belmontes’ handlers and promoter realize that it wasn’t a prodigious conception to put their fighter on national television with a smaller man who was going to run circles around him. I don’t know how much Duva and her staff know about author Walter Mosley and his series of Easy Rawlings mystery stories which includes Devil in a Blue Dress published in 1990. The book was adapted into the eponymous 1995 movie starring Denzel Washington. Easy Rawlings’side-kick is a small man, played by Don Cheadle, named Mouse—a pint-sized dynamo with the heart of a lion and fighting spirit and skills of an exceptional pugilist. Had Mosley lived in Philadelphia and the book was published in 2005 it would be easy for me to believe that Hunter was the inspiration for the character Mouse. If Duva and her staff missed either the book or the movie they were about to discover Mouse wearing boxing gloves unleashing on their prospect with only the referee and his corner able to save him.

Hunter (L.) crushes Belmontes with a left hook.

It was glaringly obvious in the opening stanza that Hunter was the superior boxer as he captured the round by using his jab and landing a few combinations to the body. Maybe, Belmontes’ supporters took comfort that their fighter had a considerable size advantage. But, that made no difference as Hunter caught Belmontes with a quick left hook over a lazy right hand in the second round depositing him on the canvas. Startled, Belmontes hopped to his feet as referee Rosato reached the count of three. Changing strategy, the Texas fighter crowded Hunter in the third round and roughed him up at closed-quarters hitting, holding and pushing him around capturing the only round that I would score for him. The remaining seven rounds were ripped from a boxing manual as Hunter took Belmontes to school jabbing him to the body, side-stepping, shoulder rolling, countering hitting him with everything but the referee dropping his hands in the last two rounds while maintaining his dominance. It was a masterful display of pugilistic prowess as Hunter went to his bag of tricks round after round out-dueling his nemesis. Belmontes wandered through the Sahara desert with no oasis in sight until the final bell. Hunter won a unanimous decision by scores of 99-90, 99-91 and 97-92.

In a mismatch of epic proportions undefeated Philly super-middleweight Jesse “Hard Work” Hart (4 wins – 0 losses – 0 draws – 4 kos) enjoyed 12 minutes of target practice as he unloaded every punch in his arsenal on Steven Tyner (3 wins – 8 losses – 2 draws – 2 kos) of Akron, Ohio dropping him in the opening round and blasting him for the remaining three, winning a unanimous four-round decision by scores of 40-34 and 40-35 twice.

In another pogrom—a four-round welterweight bout—North Philadelphia’s Hasan “The Hitman” Young (1 win – 1 loss – 1 draw – 0 kos) who continues his battle with the scales by fighting a division above his natural weight lived up to his moniker, dropping South Philadelphia’s Josue Rivera (0 wins – 1 loss – 0 draws) three times forcing referee Clark to call a halt at 1:52 of the opening round. It was like watching a hawk swoop down on a mouse in an open field. Young loaded and reloaded anchoring Rivera with rights and hooks showing unadulterated dominance.

Ocasio (R.) watches as Rodriguez grimaces in pain.

Philly lightweight Angel Ocasio (6 wins – 0 losses – 2 draws – 1 ko) must have watched films of three-division and Jamaica’s first world boxing champion Mike “The Body Snatcher” McCallum. Because unlike his last two fights—both ending in a draw—with Jason Sosa, he revamped his attack focusing primarily on pounding away at his rival’s core as was evident tonight. In a scheduled six-rounder, Ocasio came out at the bell jabbing and driving hooks to the ribcage of Esteban Rodriguez (6 wins – 3 losses – 1 draw – 1 ko) of Lebanon, Pennsylvania reminiscent of the McCallum whose moniker was well-deserved. The taller Rodriguez held his ground jabbing and attempting a long right hand. But, it was Ocasio who dropped him with a vicious left hook to the kidney crumbling him to the canvas like a deer brought down by an elephant gun. Referee Clark reached the count of seven as the fallen fighter made it to his feet as the gong sounded bringing a conclusion to the round.

Going upstairs early in the second round Ocasio deposited Rodriguez on the canvas with a picture-perfect right cross. Somewhat shaken, the man from Lebanon made it upright at the count of six. He was hurt and Ocasio was beginning to hear the fat lady clearing her throat signaling that the end was near. Wading in Ocasio uncorked a left hook to his foe’s head and immediately turned it into an uppercut that landed squarely on Rodriguez’s kidney again anchoring him to the canvas leaving him writhing in pain trying to rise. Referee Clark called an immediate halt at 38 seconds of the round declaring Ocasio the victor by technical knockout.

Junior-lightweight Anthony “Bad Boy” Burgin (1 win – 0 losses – 0 draws – 1 ko) beat debuting Kenneth Brown from pillar to post over four rounds winning a unanimous decision 40-36 on all scorecards in a one-sided affair featuring two North Philadelphians. I don’t know if the southpaw Brown who was in survival mode, after taking a shellacking earlier landed a punch in the final round. Burgin belted him around the ring punishing his body with hooks and uppercuts leaving all of us perplexed wondering why referee Rosato didn’t stop this legalized mugging.

In a highly anticipated bout Temple University graduate junior-featherweight Alex “Macho” Barbosa (4 wins – 0 losses – 0 draws – 1 ko) of Philadelphia was outhustled by Joshua Arocho (2 wins – 6 losses – 2 draws – 2 kos) of Vineland, New Jersey dropping a unanimous four-round decision by scores of 39-37 and 40-36 twice, much to the dismay of his fans who were cheering throughout the match.

This was supposed to be the triumphant return of talented junior-lightweight Isaac Suarez (7 wins – 1 loss – 0 draws – 3 kos) who left boxing after suffering his first defeat on September 9, 2009 at the hands of Mondre Pope at The Legendary Blue Horizon. The 25-year-old Lancaster, Pennsylvania native was eager to get back in the sway after his 39-month hiatus. But standing in his way was Camden’s Jason Sosa (6 wins – 1 loss – 3 draws – 2 kos) who joined the punch-for-pay ranks two months after Suarez’s last fight. It is difficult to shed ring rust after such a long layoff especially against a young and hungry fighter who like a dog at a fire hydrant is trying to leave his mark—but on the sweet science. Despite being one pound lighter, Sosa seemed much bigger than Suarez who appears as though time has stolen the elasticity in his muscles and his once youthful and vibrant zeal.

Sosa (L.) has Suarez hurt.

Sosa, whose only gear is forward, attacked at the opening bell as Suarez tried to regain his familiarity with the squared circle. One could see flashes of the fighter’s pugilistic prowess as he parried, jabbed and sidestepped. But Sosa wasn’t going to allow him any space to mount an attack as he pressed the action forcing Suarez to fight at a high tempo digging to the body with bad intentions. Suarez was reeling at the bell to end the opening round, grateful for the one-minute respite.

Hindsight is 20/20 and based on the outcome it is safe to conclude that Suarez should have fought a softer less dangerous boxer. Hell, Floyd Mayweather fought Juan Manuel Marquez after a two-year vacation and won every round. Suarez isn’t Mayweather but Sosa fought like Marquez as he pinned his opponent to the ropes in the second round and unleashed a vicious combination concluding with a hook to the ribcage. Suarez dropped to one knee rising as referee Talmadge tolled seven. He was in pain and the referee mercifully waived off the action declaring Sosa the winner at 2:10 of the second round of the scheduled six-rounder.

Unthank-May (R.) landing the jab.

In a rematch of their September 14th all- Philly barnburner, undefeated light-heavyweight Todd “Two Gunz” Unthank-May (5 wins – 0 losses – 0 draws – 2 kos) and Taneal Goyco (4 wins – 4 losses – 1 draw – 2 kos) engaged in another thriller. Goyco stormed out of his corner and threw the first punch, an overhand right that crashed off Unthank-May’s dome sending him to the canvas before anyone knew what had happened in the scheduled four-rounder. Rising immediately before referee Clark could reach the count of two, Unthank-May showed incredible recuperative power, clearing his head and boxing on even terms to the end of the round. Lightening never struck twice as Unthank-May fought brilliantly using his jab to set up his combinations out speeding and out-boxing the dangerous and unorthodox Goyco who launched bombs from every conceivable angle. All three judges scored it 39-37 for Unthank-May who answered all questions regarding his chin and toughness in face of adversity.

On a night that I prognosticated the demise of Manny Pacquiao by knockout in his fourth encounter with the boxing genius—Juan Manuel Marquez—boxing fans filled the venue rather than watch this highly anticipated match on HBO’s pay-per-view. They weren’t disappointed as Bryant “By-By” Jennings’ fifth round knockout victory came close to matching Marquez’s Nyquil-laced overhand right that left Pacquiao comatose on the canvas at the end of round six like he was sunbathing face-down at the Ritz-Carlton in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Equally important, they all enjoyed the sheer brilliance and boxing acumen of 26-year-old Eric “Outlaw” Hunter who reminded everyone that the old sheriff is back in town!

In one of the Nike commercials Bo Jackson even tried his hands at music attempting to play the guitar with blues legend Bo Diddley. Failing miserably he was further brought down a notch when Diddley exclaimed, “Bo, you don’t know diddley!” Unlike Jackson,
Jennings probably has a future in the music industry—as a rapper. He concluded his on-camera post-fight interview with Chris Mannix by spitting the following verse:

I ain’t never scare I’m
everywhere they ain’t
never there
come on why should I
ever care. Pound for
pound one of the best to
ever come around here
excluding nobody. Look what I
embodied.
The soul of a hustler I
really ran these streets.
Eliteklass baby that
marketing plan was me.
And I never know this
what boxing a be like.
But u can’t judge my life
if u ain’t living it right.
And I ain’t tryna say that
I’m living the perfect life.
But the real facts
u get when u breaking
down my fights.
Add that to the
performance I put on
tonight.
Times that by my
influence on my city they
riding wit me.
But I supposed to be #1 on
everybody list.
We’ll see what happens
when I no longer exist.

Bo didn’t know Diddley but Jennings knows Jay-Z!

Continue to support the sweet science, and remember, always carry your mouthpiece!

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About George Hanson., Jr Esq.

George Hanson., Jr Esq. has written 106 post in this blog.

Hailing from New Forest, Jamaica, Hanson started boxing as a teenager in Philadelphia under the tutelage of former welterweight contender, Dick Turner. He excelled, capturing four Pennsylvania State Amateur Championships—his last while a junior at Drexel University studying Accounting. According to most who have seen Hanson fight, “He is the best fighter never to have turned professional.”



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