By Keith Idec
Jeremy Bryan won two national Golden Gloves titles and defeated Danny Garcia twice during a promising amateur career that ended in the 2008 U.S. Olympic Boxing Team Trials semifinals 6½ years ago in Houston.
But Bryan realizes potential doesn’t mean much when you’ve just turned 28 and have been stopped in three of your past six professional fights. The Paterson, N.J., native knows his televised eight-round, junior welterweight fight tonight against Issouf Kinda is his last chance to really resurrect his professional career.
The Kinda-Bryan bout will open an ESPN2 “Friday Night Fights” telecast at 9 p.m. ET from Paramount Theater in Huntington, N.Y.
“I’m coming there,” Bryan said, “to take away everything he’s got.”
Bryan (16-3, 7 KOs) suffered a devastating, second-round knockout defeat to heavy-handed prospect Amir Imam (12-0, 11 KOs) in his last fight, which Showtime televised April 12 from Las Vegas. A crushing right hand from Imam left Bryan flat on his back, unable to continue.
“That’s what happens when you drop your hands,” said Bryan, who trains and resides in Sumter, S.C. “Anything can happen. I got caught after dropping my hands. That’s what messed up the whole game plan. He caught me with a good punch, but for this fight I’m going in with a different game plan. We’re going in with our hands up and we’ve been working on footwork, defense and throwing punches, letting our hands go at different angles, turning him, and beating him to the punch. It’s going to show on Friday night.”
The 25-year-old Kinda (16-1, 6 KOs), a Bronx resident raised in the African nation of Burkina Faso, also is coming off a loss. Kinda suffered a technical decision defeat to Cincinnati’s Chris Howard (16-2-1, 7 KOs) in his last fight, May 24 in Uncasville, Conn. A cut over Howard’s eye caused a ringside physician to stop that fight after six rounds and sent it to the scorecards early.
If Bryan beats Kinda, the win could lead to him facing the winner of tonight’s 10-round main event between hometown favorite Chris Algieri (18-0, 8 KOs) and Emmanuel Taylor (17-1, 12 KOs), of Edgewood Arsenal, Md.
“This is a chance for Jeremy to resurrect his career,” said Sal Alessi, Bryan’s manager. “I think he’s going to go out there and take it out of the hands of the judges. He’s an angry kid right now. He’s one of those guys that liked the attention and the criticism has hurt him. He reads things that people write and he hears things that people say. So he’s angry and he wants to prove people wrong. I’m looking forward to seeing what that turns into in the ring.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.