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Luis Ortiz vs. Bryant Jennings on December 19th on HBO

LatestBy Dan Ambrose: WBA interim heavyweight champion Luis Ortiz (23-0, 20 KOs) will be facing former world title challenger 31-year-old Bryant Jennings (19-1, 10 KOs) on December 19th on HBO Championship Boxing at the Turning Stone in Verona, New York. The Ortiz-Jennings will be on the Nicholas Walters vs. Jason Sosa card.

Jennings hasn’t fought since April of this year in losing to IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko by a 12 round unanimous decision. The fight wasn’t competitive, but Jennings did a good job of avoiding the 6’6” Wladimir’s big right hand and left hooks.

It’s kind of a moral victory that Jennings was able to make it out of the fight without getting knocked out because Wladimir has been knocking out most of his opponents as of late.
Ortiz, 36, recently knocked out 38-year-old Matias Ariel Vidondo by a 3rd round knockout on the undercard of the Gennady Golovkin vs. David Lemieux card last Saturday night on October 17th at Madison Square Garden in New York.

The Cuban Ortiz knocked Vidondo down twice before the fight was halted. Last year in September 2014, Ortiz defeated Lateef Kayode by a 1st round knockout. However, the fight results were overturned after Ortiz failed a post-fight drug test. The fight was then ruled a no contest. Since then, Ortiz has stopped Byron Polley and Vidondo.

It’s too early to tell how good Ortiz is because he’s faced such poor opposition since he turned pro in 2010. We know that Ortiz had a long amateur career in his native Cuba, but we don’t know how he’ll do in fights that go past the 3rd round.

A lot of former Cuban amateur stars tend to fade in fights that go into the later rounds, because they don’t get the chance to develop their stamina after they turn pro. Ortiz has only gone eight rounds three times in his career against weak opposition. It’ll be interesting to see how Ortiz responds if Jennings can take him into the later rounds of this contest to test his endurance.

For a 36-year-old fighter, Ortiz looks kind of old to me. I’m sure his age is really 36, but he looks to me to be a guy in his 40s rather than 36. Because of his advanced age due to his late start in the pro game, Ortiz obviously doesn’t have a lot of time to mess about in the heavyweight division.

He’s got to get a title shot a soon as possible against WBA champions Ruslan Chagaev or Wladimir Klitschko. I don’t know how long Ortiz will be able to hold down a world title if he’s able to win one, because sooner or later, he’s going to run into someone that can take his punching power and take him deep into the fight to knock him out.

Jennings isn’t much of a puncher, so it’s not likely that he’s going to be able to trouble Ortiz any. But I can definitely see Jennings wearing Ortiz down by getting him into the deeper rounds.

The logical way to defeat Ortiz would be to get inside on him and throw a lot of shots to get him to work really hard to tire him out. You can’t stay on the outside because the 6’4” Ortiz’s punching power is better at the distance than it is in close.

If Jennings could take the fight to the inside and basically mug Ortiz all night, he could tire him out enough to score a knockout late in the fight. The punch and grab technique would also work against Ortiz because he wouldn’t be able to get his shots in. Jennings would have to be mobile when on the outside, and ready to dart forward to land a shot and then grab Ortiz.

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