Teon Kennedy vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux on Saturday; Pacquiao & Bradley MGM Grand Arrivals today; Bam on Boxing
Philadelphia PA- Teon Kennedy (17-1-2, 7 KOs) of Philadelphia, who challenges WBA bantamweight titlist Guillermo Rigondeaux (9-0, 7 KOs), of Cuba, on June 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV as part of the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley championship card, has had to overcome two fairly recent family life-shattering incidents that would have broken less-resolute fighters.
Article posted on 03.06.2012
Late in 2009, Kennedy knocked out Francisco Rodriguez, of Chicago, IL, in the 10th round of their scheduled 12-round contest for the vacant USBA super bantamweight title. Kennedy’s elation at winning was short-circuited when Rodriguez collapsed in his corner, was rushed to the hospital and died of a brain injury two days later.
No one prepares a fighter for when the most tragic possible ending occurs in a fight.
“When it first happened it was difficult, but as anyone in boxing knows that could happen,” said Kennedy, who was 13-0-1 and 23 years old at the time. “It could happen to me. Sometimes I do still think about it, but I try not to dwell on it.”
Kennedy did not fight for six months, but he had the encouragement of his team as well as that of the Rodriguez family to get back into the ring.
He came back with three good wins, including a scintillating performance, a 12-round unanimous decision over then-undefeated prospect Julio Diaz, of New Brunswick, NJ.
The second life-altering incident occurred in mid 2011.
Kennedy was charged with a felony stemming from a shooting in Philadelphia. Those charges were later dropped, but it played on Kennedy’s mind as he prepared for a fight last August that, had he won, could gave led to a match with undefeated Yuriorkis Gamboa of Cuba, in a world featherweight title fight.
He went through with the fight last August and lost his first bout as a pro, a 12-round decision to Alejandro Lopez, of Mexico, in a lackluster performance.
“The legal issues were definitely in my head,” Kennedy said. “It’s hard to be falsely accused of something I did not do. That was probably the main reason I didn’t feel like myself.”
He put his first setback and his legal charges behind him and he got back in the gym quickly. Boxing experts weren’t sure if he’d rebound, but he turned in a strong performance in his most recent fight, a draw against the once-beaten Chris Martin, of Chula Vista, CA, in January in Las Vegas. Many observers felt Kennedy, the aggressor for most of the fight, deserved the win.
Kennedy feels that he has come to grips with the arduous road he has had to travel the last several years.
“Everything bad is in the past now,” said Kennedy, who is looking to pull off the upset against the favored Rigondeaux. “I’m just focused on the fight. I’m still going to be aggressive.”
TODAY! Pacquiao & Bradley MGM Grand Arrivals - Noon PT
LAS VEGAS, NEV. (June 5, 2012) – IT’S FIGHT WEEK!
Fighter of the Decade Congressman MANNY “Pacman” PACQUIAO and undefeated world junior welterweight champion and Top 10 pound-for-pound fighter TIMOTHY “Desert Storm” BRADLEY will make their Grand Arrivals, in custom-designed buses displaying their images, Today! Tuesday, June 5, at the MGM Grand porte cochere and inside the main lobby. Bradley will arrive at Noon PT followed by Pacquiao at approximately 12:30 p.m. PT. With only five days to go before their world championship collision, these warriors are approaching the boiling point!
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with MP Promotions, Tecate, AT&T and MGM Grand, remaining tickets to Pacquiao vs. Bradley are priced at $1,200, $900, $600 and $400. Ticket sales at $1,200, $900, $600 and $400 are limited to 10 per person. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster (800) 745-3000. Tickets also will be available for purchase at www.mgmgrand.com or www.ticketmaster.com.
An all-new edition of HBO’s all-access reality series 24/7 PACQUIAO/BRADLEY debuts on Friday, June 8 (8:00-8:30 p.m. ET/PT), the night before the welterweight title showdown.
For Pacquiao-Bradley fight week updates, log on to www.toprank.com and www.hbo.com
BAM on Boxing
Over the weekend, Bethlehem proved it is a fight town. The NBC Sports Network Fight Night series rolled into the Lehigh Valley at the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem with two explosive bouts featuring a couple of Peltz Boxing-promoted fighters. Philadelphia’s world-rated junior middleweight’s King Gabriel Rosado took on another contender, Brooklyn’s amateur and pro standout and southpaw, Sechew Powell. In the co-feature, Ronald Cruz, the poker-faced welterweight from Bethlehem, went to war with Prenice Brewer, of Cleveland, OH.
The sellout crowd brought an immense amount of energy to the Events Center. It reminded me of a clip_image004high-energy college basketball game. The standing-room-only crowd of close to 2,000 fans made the evening just as enjoyable as the fights.
The entire show was competitive from top to bottom, other than the second-round knockout scored by Russian light-heavyweight Sergey Kovalev over Darnell Boone, of Atlanta, GA. The other two local fighters, heavyweight Eric Newell and junior welterweight Jerome Rodriquez, both fought to four-round draws.
Newell fought Tyyab Beale, of Newark, NJ. The two heavyweights were not overly exciting and there was a fair amount of clinching but they were clearly on the same level and neither outshined the other.
Rodriguez had an exciting battle with Hasan Young, of Philadelphia. Rodriguez’ original opponent, Shawn Gomez, withdrew the day before the fight, hours before the weigh-in. A phone call was made to Young (white trunks) and, without hesitation; he took the fight, shedding nine pounds in 15 hours. He went from 151 Thursday evening to 142 Friday morning. The two fighters made for an exciting bout. Young took control of the first two rounds before Rodriguez (black trunks), a southpaw, began to step it up. The draw was the right decision. I applaud both fighters for taking the fight.
Cruz, the local draw, is a blue-collar fighter who brings more than just talent to the table. His bout with Brewer was entertaining, but it looked like Brewer couldn’t follow through on his punches. The busier Brewer could not land a power shot to save his life, which is the reason the scoring was as lopsided as it was, 118-110 from all three judges. Cruz landed nothing but power shots, impressing the officials and the crowd. Once he learns to use the jab to work his way inside, he will be more of a complete fighter.
Nothing changes about Cruz from round 1 to round 12. He fights at the same pace from beginning to end and it works to his advantage. He may be slow on his feet, but his power shots to the body tend to make more of an impression then the pitter-pattering of his opponents.
In the TV main event, Rosado continued to make a statement, stopping the normally durable Powell in nine rounds. The only other fighter to stop Powell was Deandre Latimore, of St. Louis, MO, and that was four years ago.
Unlike many current fighters, Rosado has cut his teeth by fighting anyone and everyone, anywhere and everywhere. Due to his short amateur background, only 17 fights, Rosado has been learning on the job and that explains his 20-5 record. He will be the first to tell you that he learned more from his losses than from his wins and that everything happens for a reason.
Rosado’s last two outings have been more impressive than most fighters could dream of. He means it when he says he’s hungry and he proves it, especially on his current six-fight winning streak. You will have to knock Rosado out to keep him from coming at you all night long. Stamina is not a question with the young lion does not stop at anything to entertain. He does not fight cautiously; he fights to win and he fights to impress and he fights to make a statement.
I wish every boxing card had the energy which was on display in Bethlehem.
The author is a Temple University graduate who is now a part of Peltz Boxing. Follow us on twitter @Peltzboxing and our intern @bamonboxing
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