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Bryant Jennings has tough task against Luis Ortiz

Joshua Clottey(Photo By Team Jennings) By Tim Fletcher: #6 WBA Bryant Jennings (19-1, 10 KOs) has a really tough task set out for himself this month in his fight against the bigger and stronger interim WBA World heavyweight champion Luis “The Real King Kong” Ortiz (23-0, 20 KOs) on December 19th in a fight televised by HBO Championship Boxing from the Turning Stone Resort & Casino, in Verona, New York.

This is a tough fight for the 31-year-old Jennings, because he’ll be giving away a lot in terms of the punching power in facing the 36-year-old former Cuban amateur. Jennings does have the youth advantage over Ortiz, and possibly the better engine.

Ortiz has been knocking everyone out in the early rounds, and he’s not proven that he can go 10 rounds yet. The longest that Ortiz has gone in a fight was 8 rounds five years ago against Kendrick Releford in a slow-paced fight.

Listed at 36, Ortiz looks like he’s in his 40s in my view, and Jennings might be able to push a fast pace and wear the Cuban down by taking him deep into the fight where he’s not been before. Like a lot of former amateur stars, Ortiz could be vulnerable if the fight gets past the 6th round. Ortiz had a long amateur career in Cuban and finished with a record of 343-19.

However, since Ortiz has turned pro, he’s been matched softly and not had the chance to show that he can fight 10 and 12 round fights. Jennings could be the first guy that can drag Ortiz deep into a fight, and we might see the Cuban fighter look his age if that happens.

Ortiz last fought in October in stopping an over-matched Matias Ariel Vidondo in the 3rd round. The fight was such a mismatch that it makes you wonder what Ortiz’s promoters are trying to do by putting him in with such opposition. They’re not doing Ortiz any favors in helping him build up his stamina so that he can learn how to fight 10 and 12 round fights.

“To see Bryant Jennings spar sixteen rounds with four different guys was an amazing feat to watch,” marveled Jennings’ promoter Gary Shaw. “I’ve been around this sport for many years and I’m telling you, Jennings is one of the best athletes I’ve ever promoted.”

Jennings has the same arm reach as Ortiz, and he could make it interesting if he can stay on the outside and box him until Ortiz fades in the later rounds.

Jennings last fought in April of this year in losing a 12 round unanimous decision to former IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko at Madison Square Garden in New York. Jennings was able to land some nice shots in the fight against the 39-year-old Klitschko, but ultimately he didn’t have the punching power to hurt the Ukrainian.

Also on the card will be former WBA featherweight champion Nicholas Walters (26-0, 21 KOs) fighting Jason Sosa (18-1-3, 14 KOs) in a scheduled 10 round fight. Walter’s career has hit a snag after he lost his WBA title last June when he came in overweight for his title defense against Miguel Marriaga.

Walters had no problems winning the fight by a lopsided 12 round decision, but he lost his WBA title on the scales. Losing the title ruined Walters’ chance of a nice payday unification fight against fellow Top Rank fighters WBO champ Vasyl Lomachenko. Without the WBA title in his possession there was no way that Walters could get the fight. Last year, the 29-year-old Walters had two big knockout wins over Nonito Donaire and Vic Darchinyan to increase his popularity in a huge way.

Some boxing fans criticize Walters for his tendency to rehydrate up in weight a huge amount. They see Walters as a lightweight who masquerades as a featherweight to have a big weight advantage over his opponents. These fans feel that Walters should be fighting at lightweight against the likes of Felix Verdejo, Terry Flanagan, Jorge Linares and Anthony Crolla.
38-year-old former IBF welterweight champion Joshua Clottey (39-4, 22 KOs) will be fighting junior middleweight Gabriel Rosado (21-9, 13 KOs) in a 10 round fight.

Rosado’s once promising career has really tanked with him losing 4 out of his last 5 fights in the last two years. He’s suffered losses to Gennady Golovkin, Peter Quillin, Jermell Charlo and David Lemieux. Rosado also dodged a defeat at the hands of J’Leon Love, when the results of the fight were changed to a no contest after Love tested positive for a banned substance. What we’ve learned from watching these fights is that Rosado is not a true middleweight and doesn’t belong in that division. You can also make an argument that he doesn’t belong at the top of the 154lb division against guys like Charlo.

Clottey, #3 WBA, #9 IBF, #10 WBO, #11 WBC, has revived his stalled career recently with wins over Calvin Green, Dashon Johnson, Anthony Mundine and Jorge Silva. Those victories have all come since Clottey’s one-sided 12 round unanimous decision loss to Manny Pacquiao in 2010. That’s only four fights in the last five years for Clottey. Obviously, he’s not been busy enough to keep himself among the top fighters at 154. Had Clottey continued to fight three to four times per year in the last five years, he would have likely won a world title again. At the very least, Clottey would have made a lot more money than he has by fighting rarely.

Clottey will need to push a fast pace if he wants to get Rosado out of there. He’s going to be giving away some size against Rosado, and he’ll need to take the fight to him if he wants to get him out of there the way that the stronger fighters like Golovkin and Lemieux did in stopping him.

#7 WBO, #8 WBC, #11 IBF light heavyweight contender Yunieski Gonzalez (16-1, 12 KOs) will be looking to bounce back from a highly controversial 10 round decision loss to Jean Pascal in his last fight last July when he faces unbeaten #11 WBC Vyacheslav Shabranskyy (14-0, 12 KOs) in a 10 round fight. Gonzalez was arguably robbed in his loss to the better known Pascal. The fight proved that guys like Gonzalez need to not only beat the more popular fighters like Pascal but beat them to the point where it’s impossible not to get the win.

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