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.
The fight went the 10 round distance – and when the final bell sounded – almost everyone ringside, in the stands and on the internet though Walters was all set to walk away with a clear-cut unanimous decision victory.
Sosa entered the fight knocking out 13 consecutive opponents. He did not show that type of alpha-male aggression in this fight. He did take Walters power punches well, but there were spots where he could not be missed.
When Michael Buffer grabbed the microphone to announce the official decision – he show have started his speech with “STOP THE PRESS!”
The verdict from the three official judges was a majority draw. Judges Don Ackerman and Wynn Kintz scored the fight even at 95-95, while the third judge, Tom Schreck, saw it 96-94 for Sosa.
Soon after the fight, Carl Moretti, Vice President of Top Rank, said “They all stink. They shouldn’t judge again,”. That line speaks volumes since Top Rank promotes both Walters (26-0-1, 21 KOs) and Sosa (18-1-4, 14 KOs).
Maybe this was a case of the boxing industry giving Sosa’s co-promoter J. Russell Peltz an early retirement gift.
As previously mentioned, Sosa gave a good account of himself and was very game throughout the contest despite being pegged a 15-to-1 betting underdog where most “experts” felt he was being put in way over his head.
“I thought I won the fight,” Sosa said. “I was more active, I was more aggressive, I got better shots in, so I’m disappointed it was a draw.”
“I’m in total shock. I just can’t believe it,” Walters said. “I was in total control of the fight. He was a good fighter, but I was never in any danger. I was never hurt, and I just can’t believe it.”
The main event of the evening turned out to be the worst night of Bryant “By By” Jennings (19-2, 10 KOs) professional career. His opponent, Luis Ortiz of the Cuban national boxing system, was cool, calm and collected while setting up an impressive 7th round knockout victory.
Ortiz waisted no time getting busy, hammering the North Philly native with pin-point accurate punched. Jennings was wobbled on multiple occasions, but showed the heart of a lion and fought on.
Most of the fight was spent in the proverbial phone booth. The fighters stood in the middle of the ring, cranium-to-cranium, exchanging hard punches at close range.
The uppercut out of Ortiz southpaw stance was the most effective weapon as he caught Jennings continuously leaning in. He is very nimble for a big man – and his fancy foot work set up the end of the fight as a quick slide step gave an opponent to connect with a huge left uppercut which sent Jennings to the canvas for the first time as a professional.
Jennings miraculously beat the count and continued to fight – but Ortiz stayed on the attack leaving referee Richard Pakozdi no option but to stop the fight.
Jennings, boxing for the first time since facing then-champion Wladimir Klitschko, has now lost two in-a-row since starting off his career with 19 consecutive victories.
“I think it was me underestimating his pedigree and me thinking that my pressure would [be better than] his pedigree, and he outlasted me,” Jennings said. “That’s how it was. He was hitting me with clean punches, good punches.
“I wasn’t on my game, and he got the best of me tonight. I should have tried to wear him down earlier.”
Ortiz said “I was a little surprised, but it was a good thing he was able to get up,” “I knew he wasn’t right mentally when he got up. I wanted to knock him out, though. I didn’t want a TKO. But I did my job. I train hard in the gym and fight hard.”
The 36-year-old Ortiz complied a record of 343-19 as an amateur and is now 24-0, 21 KOs as a professional. Many think he can be a real force in this division. He spoke of his championship dreams after the bout and mentioned potential fights with new champion Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder. No mention of Klitschko – who gets the first shot at Fury in a rematch after losing a snooze fest earlier this month.
Jennings was as game as it gets. He will take a lot of flack for this fight as it was his first with new trainer John David Jackson. Jennings spent his entire career with Philly trainer Fred Jenkins prior to this fight. During the HBO commentary, Bernard Hopkins said he agreed with the switch, adding that he thought the Jennings – Jenkins combo went as far as they could go and Jackson could get BY to a championship level.
Time will tell if the Jennings / JDJ team stays together for another fight.