A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
Klitschko vs. Jennings: Fight for History
Unified IBF/WBA/WBO and IBO/Ring Magazine heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko is in pursuit of two of boxing’s most coveted and unreachable records held by the legendary Joe Louis.
Louis, boxing’s longest reigning heavyweight champion by 11 years and 8 months, also holds the record for most consecutive title defenses with 25.
Klitschko (63-3, 53 KOs), on April 25, at Madison Square Garden, is scheduled to defend his unified championships against unbeaten Philadelphian Bryant Jennings (19-0, 10 KOs). Klitschko-Jennings will be televised live on HBO in the U.S.
Should Klitschko emerge victorious, he will be celebrating his tenth-year as heavyweight champion and will have won his 18th consecutive title defense. Only Louis and Larry Holmes had more consecutive title defenses.
Klitschko, at 6’ 7,” 250-pounds remain boxing’s premier heavyweight. Although he just recently turned 39, the former 1996 Olympic gold medalist, continues to take his growing legacy to new heights. Klitschko’s left-jab, straight-right is the most powerful one-two punch combination in the heavyweight division. Klitschko’s left-hook, which maybe his best punch, carries so much power and velocity; it can end a fight within a moment’s notice. Very few heavyweights have the athleticism, balance, and Bowie Tupound footwork that Klitschko has. Klitschko is as difficult to fight, as he is to beat.
When people observe Klitschko’s career they marvel over his accomplishments and his track record. His victories have been nothing short of stellar during a career that has a few disappointments that include two consecutive knockout defeats to Corrie Sanders (2003) and Lamon Brewster (2004). But following the improvements that Klitschko made during his time with the late Emmanuel Steward, Klitschko is far from that fighter more than a decade ago. In fact, Klitschko hasn’t lost since.
Klitschko won the IBF heavyweight title in April 2006 with a spectacular knockout of Chris Byrd. In title defenses against Calvin Brock, Tony Thompson (twice), Samuel Peter, Alexander Povetkin, Francisco Pianeta, WBA champion David Haye, Mariusz Wach, Jean-Marc Mormeck, Calvin Brock, WBO champion Sultan Ibgarimov, Alex Leapai, Hasim Rahman, Ruslan Chagaev, Ray Austin, Lamon Brewster (rematch), Eddie Chambers, and Kubrat Pulev.
“I do have great respect for Bryant Jennings and his achievements,” Klitschko said. “He has good movement in the ring and good technique. I know this will be a tough challenge.
In Jennings, this is an opportunity of a lifetime. Jennings will be fighting to make history of his own. The 30-year-old will fight to become the first Philadelphia-born fighter since Tim Witherspoon to win a world heavyweight title.
“This is the moment I’ve been waiting for,” Jennings said. “Now it’s time to bring the belts home.”
Jennings turned professional in February 2010. In his 13th professional bout in 2012, Jennings knocked out former WBO heavyweight champion Sergi Liakhovich in the ninth round. That year, Jennings fought five times (5-0, 4 KOs). In 2011, he fought six times (6-0, 2 KOs) and five times in 2010 (5-0, 3 KOs).
Jennings’ last two fights occurred at Madison Square Garden against two undefeated southpaws. He stopped Arthur Szpilka and won a split-decision against Mike Perez in an elimination bout.
Whether Jennings is ready for the biggest fight of his career on the world’s biggest stage, Klitschko-Jennings promises to be a very intriguing match. Jennings, at 6’ 3,” 220-pounds, is very determined and confident that he will emerge victorious.