By Jake Donovan
Verona, NY – Bryant Jennings thought for sure that his respectable showing in a title fight loss versus then-World champion Wladimir Klitschko in April would be enough to contend with any top heavyweight. The Philadelphia-bred contender was dealt a harsh reality check, as he was dropped and stopped by Luis Ortiz in seven one-sided rounds Saturday evening at Turning Stone Resort & Casino.
The bout marked Jennings’ fourth consecutive appearance on HBO, but has now endured two consecutive losses in as many fights in 2015. His showdown with Ortiz was originally targeted for October at Madison Square Garden in New York City, but Jennings wasn’t content with the terms at the time it was offered.
A better proposal was made in securing the fight for this past Saturday, including more money and what he described as a better position. Also included was the pre-fight requirement of random drug testing as conducted by Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA).
The latter condition was suggested for a number of reasons, including Jennings and promoter Gary Shaw heavily in favor of year-round random testing. It was applicable in this fight given Ortiz’ recent history, having tested positive for a banned substance in a 1st round knockout-turned-No-Contest versus Lateef Kayode last September.
Ortiz (24-0, 21KOs) was dealt a hefty fine and a nine-month suspension before returning to the ring in June. The unbeaten Cuban southpaw – who lives and trains in Miami – has been substance free in each of his last three starts, all of which have ended in knockout.
Whatever happened in the past can be left there, as far as Jennings was concerned. All he asked for was proof that Ortiz’ power and skills were for real and also his own. He was dealt that answer and more than accommodating in acknowledging his opponent’s potential greatness.
“It was a clean stoppage, there's no way that I can question it," Jennings (19-2, 10KOs) told BoxingScene.com after the fight. “Everything about it - we wanted VADA testing, he complied and he delivered a performance like that. I considered myself the #1 heavyweight contender in the world, so he really showed me something.”
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox