IF HE CAN MAKE IT THERE – Anyone who believes Wladimir Klitschko is anything more than a 3 – 1 favorite over Bryant Jennings could be in for a rude awakening tonight. Odds favoring Klitschko by more than 10 -1 are ridiculous.
Jennings is a very live underdog, and not because of any specific stylistic points, physical properties or personal circumstances. The bottom line is that tonight’s contest may well serve to summarize Klitschko’s ultimate status in the game.
In that regard, Klitschko’s history over more than a decade shows that the odds of him being granted or denied all time greatness in the boxing public’s eye is around a 50-50 proposition.
Now, leading up to the Jennings bout, Klitschko has been receiving praise that was previously withheld. Major US media use terms like “best of his generation” or “unbeatable.” If that doesn’t spell trouble ahead, we are not talking predictable pugilistic pitfalls.
If Klitschko wins, in spectacular fashion, it is with eyes beyond the usual sporting world upon him, due to the boxing-linked juggernaut that Money meets Pacman has become. The global impression Klitschko makes this weekend is potentially the most significant of his career.
Klitschko is in his usual great shape, but he didn’t look that much bigger than Jennings at the weigh – in, and 15 pounds is not a huge weight disparity in the heavyweight division.
Klitschko’s “Bye, Bye / Hit the Road Jack” clip was amusing, but it might have also showed the champ to be a bit too relaxed. Training in a ballroom with thick, ruffled curtains and a renaissance looking painting? He will not meet Jennings beneath any chandeliers at Madison Square Garden.
We live in an unpredictable world, therefore I predict that Jennings gives Klitschko far more trouble than the large majority of knowledgeable observers seem to foresee. As in serious trouble like a knockdown or punch induced cut.
If Jennings wins, it will increase his recognition immeasurably, at least in the realm of boxing. If that succeeds, as he said, in getting him inside the MGM Grand Garden next Saturday evening for Mayweather – Pacquiao, it will only be one of the perks. Hunger games.
One has to assume there is an immediate rematch clause, but if on the very unlikely chance that there is not, that overconfidence on K2’s part would be another ingredient for disaster.
As someone who gave Klitschko credit while others who praise him now were mocking everything from his style to his opposition, I am not being critical when I say he is ripe for an upset. Jennings is from my hometown, so I have to pull for him a little, and he’s such a big underdog I have to pull for him a bit more.
Still, I hope Klitschko gets the type victory that secures elite status for him. He is, by far and with few equals, one of the classiest characters I’ve ever met.
But I fear life has been going too smoothly for Klitschko for too long. Boxing history also shows that fistic fate smiles upon very few fighters for their full duration.
Can Klitschko steal the pound for pound spotlight from Mayweather and Pacquiao at the same time, or will Dr. Steelhammer’s own return to New York show get stolen from him?
Betting Klitschko at current odds is far more risky than it sounds, and getting long numbers on Jennings isn’t the worst risk ever. If you can get odds on Klitschko – Jennings looking something like the first Klitschko – Tony Thompson affair, there’s your safest wager.
Klitschko – Jennings is more about Fate than fisticuffs.
Remember, “Rocky” played out very differently in Hamburg than it did on Broadway.