Bryant Jennings faces Alexander Dimitrenko on August 18 on ESPN
By Chris Williams: Bryant Jennings (23-, 14 KOs) will be back in action in a doubleheader against Alexander Dimitrenko (41-3, 26 KOs) on August 18 in the main event, and with super middleweight contender Jesse Hart (24-1, 20 KOs) facing Mike Gavronski (24-2-1, 15 KO) in the co-feature. The fight card will be taking place at the Ocean Resort in Atlantic City, in New Jersey. This is a Top Rank Boxing promoted card.
It’ll be interesting to see where Top Rank takes Jennings after he beats Dimitrenko on August 18. It sure would be nice to see Jennings finally face someone good. I’m not holding my breath waiting for that to happening. It’s not a good idea for Top Rank to place Jennings-Dimitrenko in the main event on ESPN. It’s not going to attract the knowledge boxing fans to want to watch it, and the casual fans won’t care because they’ve never heard of either guy.
The hardcore fans are already well aware of how Dimitrenko fell apart when he was knocked out by Joseph Parker and Kubrat Pulev. Dimitrenko was also beaten by Eddie Chambers by a 12 round decision nine years ago in 2009. At one point in Dimtrenko’s career, he was seen as a hot prospect by many boxing fans, but that was before he started facing world class opposition. Once Dimitrenko fought his first world level fighter in Chambers, he was easily beaten. It’s been all downhill for Dimitrenko since then. When he’s facing journeyman level opposition, he does well. But when he steps it up against contenders, he gets totally outclassed.
It’s a confusing move on Top Rank’s part in sticking such a poor fight like Jennings vs. Dimitrenko in the main event on ESPN. That’s a truly awful fight, Jennings, 33, needs to be facing world class opposition already, as he’s about to turn 34-years-old and is wasting his career fighting old trial horses like Dimitrenko and the journeyman that he’s been facing he made his comeback in 2017. Top Rank had the chance to match Jennings against 2016 Olympic silver medalist Joe Joyce, but they chose instead to put him in with Dimitrenko. Joyce would have a very good chance of beating Jennings, but at least Top Rank could cut their losses and move in another direction. If Jennings can’t hang with prospects like Joyce, then he has no business mixing it up with the top tier heavyweights.
Jennings was beaten three years ago by former heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko by a 12 round unanimous decision. Jennings had his moments in the fight, but ultimately he was controlled by Wladimir’s powerful jab. Next, Jennings was knocked out in the 7th round by Luis Ortiz in 2015 in a competitive fight. Ortiz looked sharp despite fighting with the flu. The real story in that fight was Ortiz with the different looks that he gave Jennings. At times, Ortiz looked like Larry Holmes and Muhammad Ali with the way he was fighting. It was impressive stuff. Jennings tried his best, but he ended up on the canvas and was finished off. Jennings then took a couple of years off from boxing before being signed by Top Rank Promotions, who are arguably on a salvage expedition to rebuild the New York native to get him a title shot. It doesn’t appear that Top Rank wants to risk Jennings by putting him in against anyone with a pulse that can give him a test, because it would likely result him getting beaten again and not getting an eventual world title shot.
Since Jennings signed with Top Rank, he’s won four fights. Dimitrenko, 35, is a step down from Jennings’ last opponent Joey Dawejko, who gave him problems last April. That was supposed to be an easy fight for Jennings, but it turned out to be a really tough one. Going by the way Jennings looked in that fight, he’s not a main event level fighter. Being in a main even should be for guys that hold world titles or are on their ways to capturing a championship. I don’t see anyone that Jennings can beat as far a world
champions other than secondary WBA strap holder Manuel Charr, but he’s someone that is holding a belt that is supposed to be rendered obsolete soon when the WBA eliminates the strap.
Dimitrenko would have been a good option for Jennings to fight in his first fight of his comeback last year, but not now in his fifth fight. Jennings should be facing better opposition at this point. He’s ranked #8 by the World Boxing Organization and #13 WBA. He should be looking to at least fight someone like Joe Joyce, Andy Ruiz Jr., Oscar Rivas or Charles Martin. It just looks like Top Rank is looking to match Jennings against poor opposition to move him slowly but surely to a No.1 ranking so that he can get a title shot against IBF/WBA/WBO champion Anthony Joshua. It wouldn’t be bad for Jennings to get a title shot if he were to be tested first by going through the likes of Alexander Povetkin, Dominic Breazeale, Dillian Whyte or Jarrell Miller. I don’t think Top Rank will risk putting Jennings in with any of those guys because they’re too risky.