Advertisement
Advertisement

Jennings: My Focus is On Mike Perez, Stealing The Show

By Jake Donovan

Two unbeaten heavyweights collide at Madison Square Garden, with the opportunity for the winner to go on to fight for a world title.

For most other heavyweights, it’s a dream come true. As far as Bryant Jennings is concerned, it’s just another day in the office until he’s convinced he no longer has to chase the best in the division.

Make no mistake, the undefeated heavyweight contender from Philadelphia is genuinely excited over the prospect of fighting in the main room at Madison Square Garden. His most recent bout took place at MSG’s The Theatre, where he stopped Artur Szpilka – also an unbeaten heavyweight heading into the night – in the 10th and final round of their HBO-televised co-feature.

This time around, he moves one fight closer to a major title shot, as he faces Mike Perez – an undefeated Cuban heavyweight now based out of Ireland - in the chief support to the July 26 HBO-televised card headlined by Gennady Golovkin’s middleweight title defense versus Daniel Geale. The winner is guaranteed (on paper) a mandatory title shot versus whomever comes out on top in a forthcoming heavyweight title fight between Bermane Stiverne and Deontay Wilder.

For now, Jennings is focused only on what is in his immediate control.

“Whatever happens between (Stiverne and Wilder), yeah it’s in the back of my mind,” Jennings admits. “But they’re not even scheduled yet. Once they’re scheduled, a title fight against the winner is something I can look forward to. For now, all of my focus is on July 26 and Mike Perez.”

The bout will mark the second straight appearance on HBO and in New York City for Jennings (18-0, 10KOs), regaining momentum that came with a breakout campaign in 2012. Most of his 2013 boxing year was spent feuding with – and eventually splitting from – promoter Main Events, signing with Gary Shaw Productions last fall.

In Perez, Jennings is met with his third unbeaten opponent in a span of 2 ½ years, dating back to his 10-round win over Maurice Byarm in a last-minute scheduled heavyweight clash to kick off the NBC Sports Network Fight Night series. That he took the fight under such circumstances spoke volumes of his willingness to take on any challenge.

Jennings still carries that mentality, as evidenced by his jumping in to face Perez, even while skeptical that it will lead to immediate rewards.

“I don’t see the politics of the sport allowing me to fight for a title by the end of this year,” Jennings believes. “People are dragging their feet to make (the title fight between Stiverne and Wilder), and they’ll take their time after that. I can’t worry about that. I’m just getting ready for combat, ready to go to war on July 26. I’m anticipating a great night and am just keeping my composure not worrying about anything else.”

If anything, the greatest challenge in Jennings’ immediate sights is contending for headlines on fight night later this month.

The win over Szpilka turned out to be the highlight of the night on a card that also featured Mikey Garcia in a 12-round win over Juan Carlos Burgos. Claiming the spotlight that night didn’t prove too difficult; Jennings’ knockout win over Szpilka was an entertaining slugfest, while the main event was a tough watch.

A far more difficult task lies ahead in that regard, as Golovkin has proven to be must-see TV every time he steps into the ring. The unbeaten middleweight titlist has scored 16 straight knockouts, including explosive performances in all four of his HBO-televised appearances to date. His ring return marks his first network appearance of 2014 and second fight on the year, following a Fighter of the Year-level campaign that saw four knockouts, three of which aired on HBO live from New York City.

Furthermore, Golovkin’s ratings have dramatically increased with each fight, which means a large audience is expected to tune in for the HBO-televised doubleheader. Most will be watching to see what Golovkin can do in his toughest test to date versus Geale, a former middleweight titlist.

Jennings has every intention of setting the bar very high by the time the main event begins.

“If you’re on the undercard, your job is to steal the show,” Jennings points out. “He’ll bring a different crowd than who normally sees my fights, so I plan to gain some new fans in the progress. They’ll come to see him, but I plan to make sure everyone knows who I am by the end of the night.”

Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by joe strong on 07-05-2014

[QUOTE=Weltschmerz;14725199]Great fight, this is the manhood challenge for Jennings. If he gets past Perez in convincing fashion, he is definitely a legit top contender. Perez is already legit in the mind of Weltschmerz.[/QUOTE]should be a good fight but I am…

Comment by Weltschmerz on 07-04-2014

Great fight, this is the manhood challenge for Jennings. If he gets past Perez in convincing fashion, he is definitely a legit top contender. Perez is already legit in the mind of Weltschmerz.

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (2)
Top Headlines Kim Poulsen Gets Career Back on Track, Training at Wild Card Photos: Mikey Garcia vs. Rojas, Malignaggi vs. Bracero - Face Offs Photos/Weights: Adonis Stevenson vs. Thomas Williams, More Photos: Leo Santa Cruz, Frampton Face To Face at Final Presser Photos: Gennady Golovkin in Beast Mode For Kell Brook Clash Lee Baxter Promotions Brings Boxing Back To Toronto Flanagan vs. Verdejo Ordered By The WBO, Says Frank Warren Santa Cruz: I Won't Be Like Quigg, I'll Force Frampton To Fight! Hatton Warns Harrison That Rabchenko Will Make Statement Joseph Diaz Reflects on Velez Win, Talks Strategy Against Proa Ed Brown Returns To The Ring Against Venegas in Indiana Santa Cruz Hopes Mares Overcomes Eye Issue; Wants Rematch Josh Warrington: I Want Lee Selby More Than Anyone Else Amir Khan: I'll Fight Conor McGregor To Prove I'm a Real Man! Roach: If He's 100%, Pacquiao Would Destroy Floyd Mayweather! Joseph Diaz vs. Josh Warrington Clash Eyed By Golden Boy Dusty Harrison vs. Thomas 'Cornflake' Lamanna on Sept. 16 Lee Selby Will Have a Ringside Eye on Santa Cruz vs. Frampton Pacquiao Says Comeback is NOT About Money, But Passion Khan on Canelo: He Weighed 187 With Me - Fight Golovkin! Marlon Tapales To Receive Hero's Welcome For Title Win Leo Santa Cruz vs. Carl Frampton: Ring the Damn Bell Amir Khan Aims For Danny Garcia Mandatory Shot in January Miguel Cotto Officially Passes on Marquez Over Weight Dispute Mikey Garcia: You're Going To See a Better Version of Me! Joseph Diaz: Liam Smith is a Very Tough Fight For Canelo Photos: Adonis Stevenson, Thomas Williams Size Up at Presser Carl Frampton: Everyone Expects Me To Lose, I'll Get The Upset! Dorticos To Shumenov: You Paper Champ, Stop Running Chicken Photos: Margarito, Alvarez Go Face To Face at Presser Video: Leo Santa Cruz Ready For War With Carl Frampton Amir Khan: Arum is Bitter, He's Scared To Do The Pacquiao Fight! Photos: Frampton, Leo Santa Cruz, Malignaggi, Garcia Workouts Photo: Kell Brook Embraces VADA Testing For Golovkin Shot Amnat Ruenroeng Vows To Get Olympic Gold For His Family Photos: Andre Ward Cheers on Kevin Durant, Team USA Czar Glazkov Still Recovering, Return is Possible in November Video: Golovkin's Coach on Terence Crawford, Kell Brook, More Leo Santa Cruz: If Dad Didn't Get Better, I May Have Pulled Out Lucas Browne Enters WBC's VADA Drug Testing Program
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement