I must counsel you, don't let everything else get lost in the shuffle, the May 2 superfight shuffle. Because May 3 will come, and there will be other fights, and there will other shooting stars to watch, and more ludicrous and wondrous chapters to follow in the book of life and this sweetest of savage sciences we call boxing.
A heavyweight title fight, and the immensity of electricity attendant to that, will unfold on Saturday night, April 25, in that memory motel of an arena, Madison Square Garden.
Ghosts of prizefights past will be stilled, and watching as the skilled behemoth Wladimir Klitschko seeks to continue his spell of momentum, against Philly-effin-delphia's Bryant Jennings, an athlete who took up the sport just six years ago, and now will find out if he can handle the massive stage and bright lights in NYC, and on HBO.
The hitters took part in a conference call the other day, and talked about the forthcoming tangle.
Note, please: that you never know until you know. So…respect must be given for the possibility that we could have a new heavyweight to bow to come Saturday evening, a vegan boxer from Philly. Stranger things have happened, ya know!
Klitschko is a bit under the radar, more so than he should be, because the division stinks, and he's not American, and his style is not Tyson-esque. But he is an impressive specimen as a human being: athletically, and his persona, his principles, his ethos. Check out his big-picture take on what this opp means to Jennings…
“He’s fighting for his pride, but also he’s fighting for a lot of financial assets,” Wlad said. “I remember 2006 I was fighting for free, pretty much..Sometimes I really kind of have a smile on my face when I hear challengers complaining about certain things, that they’re not getting paid enough or the rules are not good enough or the gloves are not good enough or whatever. There’s a lot of complaints. I remember I was fighting; I was ready to fight in any gloves for any price. I mean, basically, for free.”
Wlad helps us see this clash rightly, helps us get out of the Manny-Money zone, when he says, “I am really excited to be back in the States. I’ve been fighting – champion of the world means to fight in different countries, in different cities, which I have accomplished in the past years. I’ve been fighting in Berlin, Switzerland. I’ve been fighting in Moscow, Russia. I’ve been fighting in many German cities. It’s always exciting to be back in the States and to be back at The Garden.”
The cerebral hitter knows his foe, and not just what he brings to the table physically, but how his upbringing and homeland might be affecting him. “Boxers from Philadelphia, they have certainly some style. ..Obviously, there is certain reflection of the region where the fighter is coming from, of the trainers that he was working with and the idols that he was looking up to. I think that I’m going to expect a Philly fighter. You know, a fighter from Philadelphia that is similar to Frazier and Witherspoon and many other fighters from this region, from Philadelphia, and I think that it’s going to be challenging.”
I can pretty much guarantee that he won't look past BY..
“He’s going to have a lot of support in the arena and he’s highly motivated, he’s very energetic, he’s a little hyper type of fighter, and he’s moves a lot, he’s very athletic, but hopefully he’s not going to move around too much, he’s going to come to fight the same way as Pulev did,” the 63-3 Wlad told us. “He didn’t move around much. He just came in and was throwing punches and being aggressive. So I’m hoping and expecting that Bryant Jennings is going to give me a fight where he’s going to be aggressive.”
Then Jennings, promoted by Gary Shaw of New Jersey, had his turn; 19-0-1-0 with 10 knockouts, Bryant “By-By” Jennings. He's wisely smelling the roses and seeing the beauty of the view in the Garden, it sounds like, wise in that he best enjoy the experience, as there is no guarantee that he'll win, if indeed he's waiting for fruition to adulate in.
“I first put on the gloves six years ago and here I am playing for the heavyweight championship of the world,” the American said. “So I’m doing it and I’ll be what I think is the fourth Philly-born heavyweight to ever fight for a title and the second Philly-born heavyweight to ever win it once I become champion April 25.”
Ah, but he isn't into BSing, and promising the world what he doesn't KNOW fully he can do, which is beat a supremely talented heavyweight. “The underdog is something that I’m used to being,” Jennings told us. “I understand that I’m a great underdog in this fight. That’s because people only look at the size and they look at the inexperience, but they don’t look at the possibility. All you have to do is respect the possibility that this fight could go either way.”
That's what I'm doing, respecting what is possible, not probable, but possible..
Jennings showed a Philly side, some fire, a little dissy-ness that I liked..
“He doesn’t fight back pretty well and he does a lot of things great, though,” he said, noting that Wlad likes to hold excessively. “That’s pretty much what it is. His weakness will be getting to his chin, but he does that great job, protecting that, but I understand that it’s going to be a tough task and it’s going to be that’s something that I – that’s what I signed up for. I’m with that. I’m all for it.”
You heard a mix of Philly tough but also a reality-based mindset, as well…Sounds to me like he knows, as best he can without being in there, what it will take to have some success. He has to get inside that long jab..
“Lateral movement, head movement and relentless effort will definitely penetrate and make a change,” Jennings said.
Readers, talk to me. Anyone sensing an upset special? Getting near enough to Wlad, now a defensive wizard, proves exceedingly difficult. Who remembers the last time anyone so much as BUZZED him? Does Jennings have the pop to touch him with a shot he sees coming? Play trainer; how can Jennings carry the night, and bring the belt back to PA?
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