The HBO fights from the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, NY have concluded. All three local fighters came in as betting underdogs. All three put up good fights but North Philly’s “King” Gabriel Rosado was the only one to come out victorious in a night full of surprises.
The Rosado vs. Joshua Clottey fight was an appetizer of sorts being shown on HBO Latino before the two main fights switched to the primary network.
It was a close fight with Rosado’s higher activity rate being the difference. Clottey (39-5, 22 KOs) was alive early, but faded a bit down the stretch as Rosado (22-9, 13 KOs), came on strong as the later rounds approached.
The final scores after 10 rounds of action were 97-93, 97-93 and 96-94. Rosado ends a five-fight streak without a victory.
It was a good showing for his first bout under new trainer Fernando Vargas. There have been whispers that Rosado could be in line to fight Canelo Alvarez in 2016.
We are hours away from bell-time and the Las Vegas book makers has released betting odds for the upcoming HBO Boxing bouts tonight in Verona, New York. All fighters with Philadelphia connections have been deemed underdogs in the bouts.
The lines are likely to fluctuate a bit as more money is put on the table. Who – if anyone – will pull off an “upset” tonight?
Scroll down to get the official weights, quotes and lines in regards to the fights with a Philly connection.
Luis Ortiz is a slight favorite over Bryant Jennings – coming in just under 1.5-to-1.
As we near bell time for the December 19, 2015 HBO show in Verona New York, two long-time Philly fighters head into critical career bouts with new trainers. Local Middleweight “King” Gabriel Rosado has enlisted the services of former world champion boxer Fernando Vargas to conduct training camp in Arizona in preparations for Joshua Clottey while Heavyweight contender Bryant “By By” Jennings recently replaced long-time trainer Fred Jenkins in favor of taking camp to Miami to train with John David Jackson.
Both men have a lot riding on this bout – a victory is extremely important in each situation.
This sparks the great debate on the relationship between fighter and trainer. Both of the mentioned boxers had long runs with the trainers they first started out with in this sport. Now that they are near boxing’s top-level – new voices are brought in to the mix.
The subject can be a touchy topic when you factor in loyalty, money and determining when a duo has peaked. I’ve heard it all from a new team can help get a stuck fighter over the hump to you can’t teach an old dog new tricks when they are finished products who are stuck in their ways.
I’d like to get your thoughts on how effective a switch in coaching can be for a fighter this deep into their career.
Below is what the fighters had to say about as their training camp comes to a close this week.
BRYANT “BYE BYE” JENNINGS, Former Heavyweight World Title Challenger:
“The weather is warm out here in Florida, and John David Jackson is doing a great job as my new trainer. He’s a man that knows the fight game being that he was a fighter himself, a former world champion to be exact. The little things he’s showing me are making a big difference. I was happy that my promoter Gary Shaw came out to visit and see the progress I have made. We’re out here doing it. I believe I’ve become a better fighter, and it will show come fight night.
“This is a big fight for the heavyweight division. The interim WBA World heavyweight title is on the line. The winner will move on to bigger and better things. Everyone says he has a lot of power but his opposition is suspect. He’s a big slugger and I’m a boxer that gives a lot of movement. I believe I’m the one with the better skills and better pro experience. I’m winning this fight.
“I think it’s great. The sport needs to keep its integrity. Ortiz is a good fighter but he’s already shown that he has some insecurities. When a fighter gets caught cheating while using steroids to get an edge says a lot about that person. He paid his dues and now it’s time to fight. With VADA testing installed for this fight, everyone will be on an even playing field.
“With Klitschko losing to Fury, the heavyweight division is wide open. There are a lot of hungry fighters out there ready to take charge and I’m one of them. I know I got what it takes to become a world champion. The heavyweight division is mine to be conquered.”
In a surprise announcement, Camden’s Jason Sosa is said to have been approved to face the undefeated Nicholas “Axeman” Walters – a world champion at 126 lbs who is making a jump up to the 130 pound division in the co-feature.
This past Saturday night, Wladimir Klitschko and Bryant “By-By” Jennings had the attention of the boxing world. Over 1.7 million people tuned in to HBO, making it the highest rated TV boxing event in the past three years. People from around the globe came out for a Heavyweight title fight at Madison Square Garden, creating an atmosphere that was nothing short of electric when it came time for the main event. For some, it was an opportunity to see Klitschko fight on US soil for the first time in over seven years. For others, it was a night to see if Jennings could become Philly’s first Heavyweight champion in 30 years.
The Philly Keith Sports crew made the 90-mile trek to Midtown Manhattan to cover one of the more anticipated Heavyweight fights in years. The ring walks alone made it a night to remember. While the action in the ring fell a little short of expectations, it did give surprising glimpse into the future of both contestants. Before I get into specifics, treat yourself to this eight minute video of the introductions to get a feel for how lively MSG was for this title bout.
It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Jennings who becomes only the 4th local born Heavyweight to challenge for the most important crown in boxing. Out of all who tried, “Terrible” Tim Witherspoon is the only Philadelphia born Heavyweight to bring home the belt.
This is a tall challenge, figuratively and literally for the 30-year-old Jennings. Despite a 3 inch height and 20+ pound weight disadvantage, Jennings is very confident that he will leave the Garden victorious. Vegas isn’t so sure, putting long odds on “BY-BY” pegging him in the neighborhood of a 10-1 underdog. Regardless of the odds, you must give kudos to a fighter who entered the sport at age 24 with no amateur experience. It took him less than 20 pro fights to make it to make it to the top of the boxing world.
The reigning champ Wladimir Klitschko, of Kiev Ukraine, is on a whole other level from what Jennings has faced in the past. “Dr. Steel Hammer” stands in the line of boxing’s All-Time Great Heavyweight Champions. Klitschko’s 14+ year professional career has seen great highs along and rebounds from epic setbacks. He currently rides the wave of a 10 year winning streak which equates to the longest reign as a heavyweight champion (17 wins and counting) since the great Joe Louis set the record with 25 wins in-a-row in 1950.
On the flip side – Klitschko has suffered three knockout losses to fighters who rate below the elite level. His liable chin and early career stamina issues led to a change in style that is considered less-than-appealing for some fans of the sport. Since linking up with Emmanuel Stewart in 2005, he made stylistic adjustments which led to this tremendous run.
The major question is can a smaller Heavyweight withstand Wladimir’s distinguishable size, strength and experience advantages? Can the thinking fighter Jennings step it up to be more aggressive – a strategy many feel is necessary to blow through Klitschko’s cautious, calculated approach?
A big turnout is expected for this event. Jennings has a loyal following planning bus trips for the 90 mile trek to MSG. American and European fans will definitely turn out for Klitschko’s first appearance in the USA since 2008.
This event is presented by K2 Promotions and Klitschko Management Group in association with Gary Shaw Productions, tickets priced at $1000, $600, $300, $200 and $100 can be purchased through the Madison Square Garden Box Office, www.TheGarden.com and www.Ticketmaster.com.
Take a few minutes to check a video I created back in 2009. This is the first interview of Bryant Jennings career.
The hot stove is cooking today with reports that HBO Boxing is pushing hard for a Wladimir Klitschko (63-3, 53 ko’s) vs. Bryant Jennings (19-0, 10 ko’s) Heavyweight title fight for the spring of 2015. What are your thoughts on this proposed bout? Is there a better fighter out there for Dr. Steel Hammer to face? Does By-By take the money and run or does he sit tight with his #1 rating in the WBC – fight the winner of Bermane Bware Stiverne vs Deontay Wilder – and take the risk of bringing more earning power to the table with a WBC belt in the fold? Suggested locations are Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center. — with Vitali Klitschko, Klitschko, Wladimir Klitschko and Bryant By-By Jennings.