SAN DIEGO, April 25, 2015 – No real surprises Saturday night in New York City. Heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko (64-3, 54 KOs) made his 18th straight title defense with relative ease against American Bryant Jennings (19-1, 10 KOs) in a unanimous decision.
No matter to his Ukrainian fans cheering him at Madison Square Garden on waving their blue and yellow flags, they were thrilled to see their hero win on American soil. No matter to serious fight fans, who saw a lot to like in Jennings’ attitude and tough chin. He went the distance with Klitschko, which only 13 of his 67 professional opponents can say. Klitschko is a seasoned veteran of the ring at age 39; Jennings only started boxing six years ago, and this is his first defeat.
But we can understand the average fan being a little bit bored by the smothering style of Klitschko. This wasn’t a thrilla or a rumble. Still Jennings did more than expected, and the performance needs to be put into the proper context. If a loss can be considered productive, this was it. It should provide Jennings a steep learning curve, and there’s nothing wrong with it. He earned plenty of respect for his efforts.
More than 17,000 fans packed Madison Square Garden for the event. It may be due as much to the overall level of excitement over boxing right now with the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight looming next weekend. Whatever the reason, fans were in the seata and it’s all good.
Klitschko said it felt great to be back fighting in the U.S. “Fans from all over the world also love to come to the States and see the fight at the Garden. It was a great experience,” said Klitschko.
Jennings said his confidence propelled his performance. “I’m a man and he’s a man and when we get inside that four squares, that’s what we’re here to do… “I’m not bitter. I hope I gained some respect. I know I gained some fans. Let’s do it again”
When asked about a rematch, Klitschko offered the boxer’s version of the polite brushoff. “I didn’t see a challenge that was so tight we need to fight again. When you are a champion you have a lot of obligations. Now I need to do all the mandatory defenses,” said Klitschko. That would be WBO title holder Tyson Fury.
Referee Michael Griffin took a point away from Klitschko for holding, not that it mattered. “It is what it is,” said Klitschko. “I didn’t want any complaints. Sometimes when a fighter is shorter than you, things like that happen.”
Sadam Ali (22-0, 13 KOs) continued his rise in the welterweight division but a steely Francisco Santana of California (22-4, 11 KOs) made Ali work for it. The fight appeared closer than the judges scored it, but the right man won. Ali survived a blitz of punches from Santana in Round 8 and hit more cleanly throughout the fight, putting a nice exclamation point on his effort by hurting Santana in the final round. He wouldn’t have lasted 12 rounds.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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