Bryant Jennings isn’t your typical Philly fighter—mixing the wisdom of an old wise man, with the brashness that accompanies a guy who made out off the streets of North Philadelphia.
Jennings will test his mettle again this Saturday night when he faces the unbeaten Cuban power puncher, Luis Ortiz, at the Turning Stone Casino Resort in Verona, New York.
Ortiz is ranked No. 1 by the WBA, which has agitated the sixth-ranked Jennings, who really wants to know who the Cuban heavyweight has really beaten?
Jennings sat down with me in advance of his heavyweight tilt this Saturday night.
We talked about it a little during the conference call, but what did the loss to Wladimir do for your confidence going forward?
"It’s taken me to a different level. You know I think differently now, I’m a totally different fighter now, and you add in the addition of my new trainer. My attitude about boxing is different, and it changes every day. Win or lose that fight was going to change my life. I have a faster process of growing and retaining information."
How are you approaching Ortiz, the unknown and his vaunted knockout power perse?
"I did just fight Wladimir Klitschko and survived his vaunted knockout power, right?"
"So then I’m not worried about his power, and once again, tell me what legit fighter he’s knocked out? He lacks confidence. He has chin issues. His conditioning needs to be questioned. He’s going to have to fight, and he’s someone that’s not used to being touched. He doesn’t have dog in him."
Do you worry about the possibilities of PED usage, given Ortiz’s past failed drug test?
"We addressed that with the random drug testing, so I'm not worried about that. As long as the powers that be do they job, we should have a good clean fight."
How would you assess the heavyweight division, seeing as how its the one division in boxing where we struggle to get the best matchups?
"That’s just the business of the heavyweight division. Since the division is so shallow, the powers that be choose to go about setting up fights in an odd manner. The division is so shallow, that it may force a lot of us to fight each other more often."
Do you feel the “shallow” business of boxing will get in the way of you getting the fights you want or deserve?
"Well that’s a whole different story. I’m not on that specific side (Golden Boy, Top Rank) so some people could interpret it as difficult for me. Things are always going to be harder for us. We’re just going to do things in a certain matter, and focus on the things we can control. I’m good in life, I don’t worry about that."
Do you foresee a future bout with Deontay Wilder at some point?
"I can’t predict anything, but I believe that it will happen, it makes perfect sense. I’ll speak into the air, but it will come together."
You carry yourself a little differently on social media and the message you’re trying to get across. Explain that and the pride you take in repping Philly?
"That’s just what I’m used to. I do me and I’m proud to be myself and rep where I’m from. I fashion myself like a rapper, a Jay Z, Jeezy or Rick Ross, one of those lyrical rappers that speak their minds and what not. You can’t speak or preach about the struggle if you’ve never gone through it. You have to go through and understand what people need to hear. The people that know the real understand what I’m talking about."
You’re essentially the people’s champion more or less?
"Exactly. I can’t box on social media, I can’t box on Instagram, so I can only be social on that platform, talking or interacting with other people. It’s being social."
Finally, BY, what can we expect from you on Saturday night?
"Well I don’t work off of predictions, but I expect things to go well, I expect to dominate and put on a powerful performance. This isn’t a false personality or a persona, this is me, I’m going to shake up the division, and Ortiz is first."