Posted by George Hanson., Jr Esq. on Jun 23, 2013
Boom By-By—Jennings Explodes on Fedosov

Boom By-By—Jennings Explodes on Fedosov

The Mouthpiece

Boom By-By—Jennings Explodes on Fedosov
Narh Dominates Cruz
Kovalev Krushes White

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

Date:                      Friday, June 14, 2013
Venue:                   Sands Casino Resort – Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Promoters:            Main Events and Peltz Boxing Promotions Inc., in association with Goossen Tutor Promotions and Hitz Entertainment
Coverage:              NBC Sports Network
Commentators:    Kenny Rice, BJ Flores, Freddie Roach, Chris Mannix & Larry Hazzard
Ring Announcer: Joe Antonacci
Referee:                 Steve Smoger, Gary Rosato & Shawn Clark

Folks, I am not one to imitate, irritate, emasculate, obfuscate, promulgate, pontificate, or even procrastinate. So, let me get to the point since I do prognosticate. When I look into my crystal ball I see Bryant “By By” Jennings (16 wins – 0 losses – 0 draws – 8 kos) winning the world heavyweight championship—down goes Klitschko! It is as inevitable as getting wet while walking through the rain. I am tired of hearing that “Jennings is the best American heavyweight prospect.” It is not only dismissive, but also insulting. The Philly pugilist is the preeminent heavyweight on the planet—end of discussion. His meteoric rise in boxing is nothing short of absolutely amazing.

Jennings (R.) connecting with the right hook.

Jennings (R.) connecting with the right hook.

Remember, in 2008 Jennings walked into the ABC Recreation Center in North Philadelphia, met legendary trainer Fred Jenkins, laced on a pair of gloves and after a brief amateur career joined the professional ranks in 2009. “Bryant did some things that weren’t normal. He was forceful in completing every task and would ask for more” stated Jenkins during our pre-fight interview as he wrapped the size 14 hands of his protégé. Jenkins further added, “He is still learning and we are working on every aspect of boxing. I want him to walk to his opponent like Joe Frazier, be able to dance like Ali and be as elusive as Sugar Ray Robinson.”

Evander Holyfield is Jennings’ favorite fighter because of his indelible will to win. Like the former heavyweight champion, the young contender’s dedication and belief in self have been monumental in his prodigious growth and development as a fine-tuned fighting machine. I cannot recall a fighter who has progressed this much in such a short time frame. Oftentimes, I marvel that I was the ring announcer at one of Jennings’ amateur fights and today I am witnessing him move one step closer to becoming the next world heavyweight champion. No Hollywood screenwriter could have scripted this story!

Jennings (L.) landing the left hook.

Jennings (L.) landing the left hook.

Every boxer has that one fight in which everything comes together—that defining match that puts everyone on notice shaking the foundation of the sanctioning bodies letting them know that it is time to start ordering another belt. Tonight was Jennings’ moment of truth as he faced rough and rugged Andrey Fedosov (24 wins – 2 losses – 0 draws – 19 kos) of Shuya, Russia now residing in Hollywood, California in a scheduled 10-rounder. Fred Jenkins was right because Jennings moved like Muhammad Ali in the first two rounds jabbing and circling as the shorter compact Russian marched forward like a Sherman tank hammering away with some vicious hooks and uppercuts. Jennings landed a blistering right hand almost at the bell to end the second round.

Boxing is oftentimes about “getting down and dirty.” Again Jenkin’s pre-fight interview proved prophetic as midway through the third stanza Jennings walked to Fedosov like Smokin’ Joe Frazier almost decapitating him with a murderous right uppercut staggering the Russian. Fedosov had no option but to stand his ground and fight toe-to-toe as he was bombarded with every conceivable punch that Jennings could unload from his arsenal. It is mind boggling to behold the Philly fighter’s speed and precision. Fedosov has a granite chin and was able to absorb the punishment. Most impressive, he fought fast and furious staying downstairs on his opponent’s body refusing to give an inch of space. The action was unbelievable and you had to wonder how much longer they could sustain this high level of performance. The bell ended the round and Fedosov walked back to the corner his left eye badly damaged and bleeding.

Unlike the overwhelming majority of heavyweights today, there are many dimensions to Jennings. And in the fourth and fifth rounds he was as elusive as the great Sugar Ray Robinson, using his legs while staying in the pocket, hands high rocking backwards to evade punches. He was having fun—smiling at Fedosov—looking at the punches that he avoided as they whisked past within inches of his nose. The young fighter had found tranquility in the squared circle and was enjoying the moment despite imminent danger and the possibility of getting caught with a crushing blow. Fedosov never took his foot off the gas, pressing forward still hammering away at Jennings’ core.

Jennings was in a dogfight because Fedosov hadn’t abandoned his strategy of attacking the body with every ounce of his energy. In the sixth round Jennings stood his ground and attacked with blazing combinations—left hook, right hook, uppercuts. In the middle of the onslaught he threw a combination that I doubt that I had ever seen thrown by a heavyweight. Midway through unleashing a hail of punches, he delivered a right hook then immediately turned it into a right uppercut, both punches finding their mark. Fedosov fought back gallantly but his left eye was getting worse and you knew it was going to be outcome determinant. The round ended and the ringside doctor made his way to Fedosov’s corner to assess the damage.

Jennings (R.) exploding on Fedosov.

Jennings (R.) exploding on Fedosov.

Undeniably this fight wasn’t going to make it to the final bell. Fedosov’s left eye was a mangled, rapidly closing carmine replica of the orb that reflected confidence and destruction at the opening bell. The fight was terminated by the ringside doctor who decided that the Russian pugilist’s long-term health was in jeopardy. Jennings won by technical knockout at 3:00 of the sixth round, since Fedosov failed to answer the bell for the seventh round. Like an M-67 fragmentation grenade he had exploded on the Russian—Boom! By By!

History shows that the word Ghana means “Warrior King” and was the title bestowed upon the kings of the medieval West African Ghana Empire. Therefore, it is only fitting that the country’s 2000 Olympian in the lightweight division—Ray Narh—is called “The Emperor.” The tall, rangy boxer who stands a shade over six feet tall was ranked as high as sixth in the world when he stepped into the ring to face Mike Alvarado on May 7, 2011 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on the undercard of Manny Pacquiao vs. Sugar Shane Mosley. Narh (25 wins – 2 losses – 0 draws – 21 kos) had no business in engaging in combat on that fateful night. Dehydrated, emaciated— suffering from a severe case of diarrhea—he remained on the stool unable to come out for the third round.

It would take two years and two new managers—Vinny Scolpino and Jacob Zwennes—to usher Narh’s return back to the squared circle. This would be his first fight since that disappointing loss to Alvarado. Most importantly, he was moving up a division to compete as a welterweight. The opportunity to face Ronald Cruz (17 wins – 1 loss – 0 draws – 12 kos), a fighter who has trouble with tall mobile fighters and was coming off his first loss, made perfect sense. Narh, who resides in Bronx, New York, remained in the gym honing his skills under legendary trainer Kwame Asante despite the managerial and promotional issues that lodged his career in limbo.

We all know that Cruz doesn’t care if he is matched against King Kong. He is the quintessential fighter—humble, confident and fearless. But someone has to explain the logic of his brain trust accepting a fight with Ray Narh. In 2012 Cruz struggled with ancient Allen Conyers, was befuddled by Prenice Brewer lost to Antwone Smith in his last fight nine months ago. It was apparent to me that Cruz’s competition was outpacing his growth as a pugilist.

Narh (R) landing the right cross.

Narh (R.) connecting with the right cross.

I doubt if anyone on his team could come to terms with this reality and make the requisite adjustments. Maybe they were banking on Narh succumbing to ring rust and Father Time—the Emperor turns 35-years-old on July 21st. I doubt if the disparity in talent between Narh and Cruz could be overcome by the Ghanaian’s inactivity. The fight was supremely illogical because in Narh, Cruz would be facing a tall, more experienced fighter with excellent mobility, power and a rapier jab. Then again, what do I know about boxing? I am the same person who hopes that the majority of people involved in the business of boxing have a pimp or ho as a family member so they can have someone to look up to!

Narh strolled regally to the ring flanked by his handlers—five of his countrymen beating drums a few yards behind press row. The cheers were deafening as the local hero, Cruz, made his way from the dressing room into the ring beaming with confidence—ready for war. Referee Clark gave the instructions and shortly thereafter the gong sounded and Narh rifled the first jab that found its mark. Cruz advanced with both gloves high as though he was wearing earmuffs.

It serves no purpose to detail each round because with the exception of the third stanza Narh dominated the 10-round fight. Working behind his jab, hooking downstairs to Cruz’s body he connected frequently with an arching right hand that smashed into the left side of his opponent’s head bypassing the earmuff defense. Midway through the third round Cruz landed a murderous left hook that wobbled Narh who held and used his legs to evade further punishment. Cruz struck again only this time it was a straight right that shook his tormentor who survived and made it to the bell. That was the only round that any reasonable person with normal vision could have scored for Cruz. Narh boxed masterfully—mindful of Cruz’s unbreakable spirit and ability to turn the tide with one punch—as his five-man ensemble drummed and sang throughout the entire bout. Nobody will ever question Cruz’s intestinal fortitude—he was dangerous to the final bell seeking to land his vaunted overhand right.

Cruz (L.) launching the overhand right.

Cruz (L.) launching the overhand right.

Many of Cruz’s supporters have been belligerent to anyone cheering for his opponents. Last year several of them cursed and threatened the few people who supported Antwone Smith. I had prognosticated that tonight they would be on their best behavior and I was correct. It is amazing how courage imbued by alcohol is dissuaded in the presence of Ghanaians singing. Narh seemed to move rhythmically to the drumbeats, controlling the action damaging Cruz’s face, hurting him, rendering his veneer a picture of defeat. The scores read 100-90, 98-92, and 96-94, all for Narh. The Emperor is back!

Just because a fighter is willing to fight anyone doesn’t mean he should. Coming off his first loss and a nine-month lay-off it would have been prudent to have Cruz fight a few fights off television against opponents who come straight ahead—fighters who aren’t particularly adept at using the entire ring. Fighting Narh was high risk and low reward. For Narh, Cruz was the ideal opponent under optimal circumstance—he would be able to showcase his skills in front of a national audience. During the pre-fight interview he told me that many of his friends and fans in Ghana and England believed that he had forfeited his dream of becoming a world boxing champion. They thought he had hung up his gloves. Nope. The Emperor is back.

Kovalev (L.) unloading on White.

Kovalev (L.) unloading on White.

In what was billed as the IBF light-heavyweight title eliminator Sergey “The Krusher” Kovalev (20 wins – 0 losses – 1 draw – 18 kos) of Chelyabinsk, Russia now residing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida faced Cornelius “Da Beast” White (21 wins – 1 loss – 0 draws – 16 kos) of Houston, Texas. Trained by former WBO junior-middleweight and WBA middleweight champion John David Jackson, Kovalev has developed rapidly and was now knocking at the door of IBF light-heavyweight champion Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins—the ageless wonder. In the early 90’s I remember training for a couple days in Champs gym in Philadelphia and witnessed junior middleweight champion Jackson schooling his sparring partner Hopkins in the squared circle. Now over 20 years later he was preparing Kovalev for a possible fight with Hopkins.

Kovalev didn’t waste much time coming out of his corner guns ablaze for the scheduled 12-rounder hurting White with a combination that was punctuated with a straight right. White’s legs buckled but never short on courage, he beckoned the Russian to “C’mon” talking to him and signaling with his gloves. Kovalev was more than willing to oblige and resumed the attack until the bell.

Across the ring in White’s corner stood trainer Frank Tate—former two division world champion and 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist who gave his fighter instructions and sent him out for the second round with Kovalev who resumed his onslaught. Kovalev unloaded combinations on the advancing White who continued to talk while returning fire. It was both a display of pugilistic prowess and courage. Kovalev was winning the fight but White was earning the respect of the audience. You knew that he wouldn’t be able to sustain such a drubbing for 12 rounds.

In the third round Kovalev landed a left hook followed by a right hook then landed a stiff jab that sent White to the canvas. Before referee Rosato could reach the count of two, White was up and the fight resumed. Another combination re-introduced him to the canvas. White was hurt, but was able to rise at the count of five and was on weakened legs trying to evade punishment with Kovalev in hot pursuit locking on like a heat-seeking missile. Another stiff jab sent White to the canvas for the third time spilling him on his back as Rosato waved off the action. Kovalev was declared the winner by technical knockout at 1:42 of the third round. Hopkins now knows that the Russian is coming!

Rodriguez (R). watches as Wiggins sinks to the canvas.

Rodriguez (R.) watches as Wiggins sinks to the canvas.

On the eve of the 28th Anniversary of The War—that epic battle between middleweight champion Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Tommy “Hitman” Hearns—Bethlehem junior-welterweight Jerome “The Messenger” Rodriguez (3 wins – 0 losses – 0 draws – 1 ko) and Treysean “Trigger” Wiggins (3 wins – 0 losses – 0 draws – 3 kos) of Newburgh, New York stole the show! It lasted one round less than the three rounds between Hagler and Hearns, but it was just as action-packed and equally titillating. In the scheduled six-rounder, a battle of southpaws, both combatants scored knockdowns in the opening stanza. It was Rodriguez who struck first, sending Wiggins to the canvas with a straight left during an exchange. More surprised than hurt the fallen fighter hopped up before referee Rosato could reach the count of two. Later in the round Wiggins removed Rodriguez from his feet with a vicious combination that had him in dire straits. The man from Bethlehem got up and took the count, but he was in an uncomfortable space teetering on suffering a knockout loss. Wiggins poured it on as Rodriguez clutched out of instinct barely surviving stumbling back to his corner at the bell.

Rodriguez still had some cobwebs in his dome as he came out for the second stanza. But, he righted the ship primarily because Wiggins was trying to catch his breath while backing into the ropes to save his legs. Fifteen months of inactivity and the torrid pace in the opening round had the young fighter sucking for air. Rodriguez seized the moment and landed a combination, which concluded with a right uppercut that almost decapitated his opponent, knocking him out, anchoring him to the canvas. It would be a couple minutes before Wiggins made it to his feet as the ringside doctor checked his vitals. Rodriguez was declared the winner by knockout at 1:38.

Other Action: In the opening bout, Philadelphia junior-welterweight Hasan Young (2 wins – 1 loss – 1 draw – 1 ko) won a unanimous six-round decision by scores of 60-54, 59-55 and 58-56 over Ariel Duran (7 wins – 4 losses – 1 draw – 4 kos) of Queens, New York. In a battle of debuting southpaws, amateur standout Arturo Trujillo of Easton, Pennsylvania needed only 29 seconds to dispose of Philadelphia’s Anthony Watson. Trujillo came out of his corner and unleashed furious combinations on Watson, sending him to the canvas twice, forcing referee Clark to rescue the hapless fighter ending the scheduled four-rounder. Christmas came early for heavyweight Bill Marks of Allentown, Pennsylvania in his debut against southpaw Randy Easton (0 wins – 1 loss – 1 draw) of Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Easton was busier and landed the cleaner blows. The audience showed its displeasure when the decision was announced. One judge scored it 58-58, but was overruled by the other two who gave Marks a gift by scoring it identically, 39-37, for him.

(L-R) Davis, Baker, Whitmore & Richardson.

(L-R) Davis, Baker, Whitmore & Richardson

It is only a matter of time before Jennings becomes heavyweight champion. The curtains are closing on the Klitschkos especially Wladimir—they know it—I know it—and their handlers know it. I am never one to speculate or regurgitate. I merely look into my crystal ball and tell you what I see. Jennings vs. Wladimir Klitschko, I believe that By-By would knock Klitschko out. The champion’s supporters would disagree, pointing to his Olympic Gold medal and years of dominance. And, I understand—I get it. What they fail to grasp is that Klitschko has been knocked out three times (Ross Purrity, Corrie Sanders and Lamont Brewster). They have to accept that Klitschko is a “front-runner”—someone who is comfortable when he is winning, but wilts in the face of adversity.

Review his three knockout losses—he got hit—got scared—looking like a deer in the headlights—wanted to run out of the ring—and was knocked out. This guy loses his heart when uncomfortable. This isn’t Larry Holmes, who can get off the canvas and win. This isn’t Smokin’ Joe Frazier, who is going to keep coming until his heart gives out. This is Wladimir Klitschko, a heavyweight who crumbles whenever he gets hit! His supporters can flap their gums all day—trying to refute the irrefutable. Get Klitschko in the ring with Jennings and we will see who is standing at the end of the fight. It won’t be Wladimir – “We know how he gets down!”

Boom, By-By!—“And the new heavyweight champion of the world is…………”

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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