HBO ratings released today continue to confirm the success of his performance as the average number of viewers watching the telecast was 1,637,000, while peaking at 1,742,000, the top performing bout on premium or basic cable this year and the most watched HBO World Championship Boxing event since June 2012.
From Tuesday night brawls at the legendary Blue Horizon, to throw downs at the Barclays Center, I have attended boxing matches at nearly every venue of note in the northeast. Yet for all of the live fights I have witnessed, I had never had the privilege of attending a fight at the Mecca of boxing, Madison Square Garden. That all changed on a whim Saturday night, when at the last minute I scored a pair of tickets to watch Bryant “by-by” Jennings challenge Wladimir Klitschko for all the marbles in the heavyweight division. As with any last minute ticket acquisition my choices were limited, and I found myself in the 200 section surrounded by Klitscko’s faithful, who were adorned in blue and yellow, the colors of the flag of Ukraine. Each time Wladimir’s chiseled features graced the big screen over the ring, the packed house would explode, with the loudest cheers emanating from the throng occupying the upper decks, of which I was now a part.
After last night’s jab-hug-hold fest in NY, that finally saw Wladimir Klitschko (64-3, 53ko) deducted a point for the antics that have served him so well for so long, it would appear WBO #1 Tyson Fury (24-0, 18ko) will definitely be the giant Ukranian’s next contest later this summer.
If the reception from the watching American public towards Klitschko was lukewarm before the opening bell, then last night’s performance against Bryant Jennings will have done nothing to whet their appetites ahead of a clash with the 6ft 9″ British gypsy.
I, along with many others, wrote Jennings off leading into the fight, and whilst the score cards pitched a shut-out, you can make an argument that they don’t fully reflect the performance of the Philadpelphia fighter, who showed heart and persistence in spades.
Wladimir Klitschko (63-4) retained his titles via UD against extremely fit and rugged challenger Bryant Jennings (19-1) at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night. The scores were wide, 116-111 twice and 118-109, and the skill differential even wider but Jennings was more problematic for Klitschko than the scores or his own boxing ability could suggest. Klitschko acknowledged the hand speed of his opponent baffled him and he compared Jennings to a modern Frazier but he was surely far too kind and gave his opponent too much credit for fighting back sporadically. Bryant demonstrated a granite chin and courage to spare but if he had Frazier’s left hook or even half of it the fight might have turned out differently.
Wladimir Klitschko successfully defended his WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles at New York’s Madison Square Garden tonight with a unanimous points decision over previously undefeated challenger Bryant Jennings.
All three judges found in favour of the Ukrainian with scores of 116-111, 116-111 and 118-109, despite a spirited effort from the challenger who succeeded in announcing himself as a name in the heavyweight division.
Klitschko seemed to be missed, as the crowd was littered with Ukranian flags and would erupt even at the sight of him on the arena screens before his match-up with Jennings.
Kenneth Sims Jnr UD6 Luis Rodriguez
Unbeaten Chicago light-welterweight prospect Kenneth Sims Jnr ran out a convincing winner tonight over game Puerto Rican novice Luis Rodriguez, winning everything but one round on the three scoring judges cards.
His challenger Bryant Jennings, 19-0 (10KO’s), looked equally impressive – despite the size aggregate – notching a ripped 226.8 pounds.
Sadly, it was not the two men who will put it on the line tomorrow that will take the headlines from today. These will once again be dominated by the tedious sideshow that is Shannon Briggs and his furious slanging match with reigning WBC World heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder.
Saturday’s HBO World Championship Boxing doubleheader telecast begins at 10:00 p.m. (ET/PT).
The HBO telecast kicks off from Madison Square Garden in New York City with an exciting 10-round welterweight showdown between Sadam Ali and Francisco Santana. The main event pits Wladimir Klitschko defending his heavyweight championship against Bryant Jennings.
Official Weights from New York:
Wladimir Klitschko: 241.6 lbs. – Bryant Jennings: 226.8 lbs.
Sadam Ali: 146.8 lbs. – Francisco Santana: 146.4 lbs.
Ahead of this weekend’s heavyweight clash from New York that pits dominant lineal champion Wladimir Klitschko against Philadelphia’s Bryant Jennings, Frank Warren has written in his weekly column for the Independent in the UK to talk of his hopes for British #1 Tyson Fury, and how he wants the fight for his man against Wladimir in the UK.
Fury is the mandated challenger to Wladimir’s WBO belt and should Klitschko beat Jennings Saturday night as all expect him to, then Warren and the Klitschko’s have 30 days to put the fight together before it goes to purse bids.
Warren wrote of Klitschko;