Jennings: Lateral movement and persistance will counter Klitschko’s jab
At a recent International conference call, heavyweight world title challenger Bryant Jennings answered media questions regarding his upcoming fight against Wladimir Klitschko.
The undefeated American faces the formidable Ukrainian at Madison Square Garden in New York this Saturday night in his toughest test to date.
Here’s what the fighter from Philadelphia had to say this week to the questions posed:
Can you tell us a little bit about how camp is going so far?
Bryant Jennings: Camp is going good. It’s real comfortable and you don’t have to work as hard when you live a good life and stuff like that. We have everything right on point.
Q. Hello, Bryant. Congratulations on your opportunity. You charted this out and you planned and you’ve executed each step just to get to this opportunity. Now that it’s here how do you feel about it, what does it represent to you and how can this really effectively just change your entire life?
A. Well, it’s a great experience. It’s a great point in my life. It’s part of history. You don’t find it every day, when we get to a point in any type of profession to get to the top of it. I’m very blessed and I’m very aware of my blessings, I’m very aware of my purpose here and I’m just thankful because just five or six years ago I had no idea that I would be anywhere near anything like this.
Q. Bryant, would you talk a little bit about the challenges that Klitschko presents and also the fact that he’s got so much experience in the ring? I mean, you have quite a bit of experience now, too, but he’s one of the most experienced fighters pretty much ever in the heavyweight division.
A. Yes. Well, you know, the challenges that he brings, first of all, being a boxer, period, comes with a lot of challenges, especially being a heavyweight. We’re challenged because one punch from a heavyweight has the power to pretty much put just about any man down, so I’m aware of that. Plus, I’m aware of the specimen in Wladimir. He’s a very dedicated individual. He’s always been. He appears to live the clean life and he’s a 100% athlete.
So you know, there’s a lot of things that I’ll be taking on come April 25, but there are some things that I bring to the table as well, which is that, you know, the same attributes and stuff like that. But, you know, him being experienced. Experience plays a part but it’s not a big part because we’ve seen situations where the inexperienced guy comes out on top whether it’s in sports, whether it’s in politics, whether it’s in anything. I don’t pretty much play that experience game because everybody who I face has more experience than me. I first put on the gloves six years ago and here I am playing for the heavyweight championship of the world.
So I’m doing it and I’ll be what I think is the fourth Philly-born heavyweight to ever fight for a title and the second Philly-born heavyweight to ever win it once I become champion April 25.
Q. Now, tell me about your training away from home and how that’s going and how it’s maybe different from your last camp away from home, which you had said before posed a few issues with you when you got into the ring.
A. Yes. Well, you know, being away is kind of like a better peace of mind. When you’re home, and where I come from it’s not nice, and it’s like everybody pretty much crowds you, you get overwhelmed with friends and everybody wants to stop in and people just trying to – they don’t know. There’s no harm, but they’re actually I won’t say irritating at all, I won’t say it, but it’s just interfering in a sense because I’m trying to focus.
So therefore, I train away from home. Houston is the place that I chose because my manager, James Prince, he lives in Houston. The resources in Houston are great. The weather is good. Also, my strength and conditioning coach is based in Houston as well, so therefore I get to go away. The sacrifices that I take to go away are being away from my son and my family and stuff like that for months at a time. I mean, it’s all a sacrifice, but I have to go away and if I don’t then I’ll be bombarded and I’ll be bothered and all that.
Q. Okay. Follow-up question. You talked a little before about the difference in experience and how you’re not really looking at that as a major factor. You’re also going in the ring as a considerable underdog. Talk a little bit about what it’s like to do that. What’s the mindset going in as an underdog and is it an advantage, is it a disadvantage? How do you feel about it?
A. Well, I’ve been pretty much the underdog in just about all of my fights. Whether they like it or not, most people focus on the inexperience part and most people focus on the size part, but everybody has a different story once they enter the ring, once they enter the ring with me, and as you can see, I always like to ask the question of certain people that say what makes me different or what makes me look inexperienced? Do I look more inexperienced than others or what is it actually that you can actually point out? Then my size is just my size. I’m 225. Usually, like, that’s almost like the lowest that I can pretty much get. A lot of these guys are just; they’re maybe like big cruiser weights or big light heavyweights and things like that.
Inexperience and all of that is something that I pay no attention to. The underdog is something that I’m used to being. I understand that I’m a great underdog in this fight. That’s because people only look at the size and they look at the inexperience, but they don’t look at the possibility. All you have to do is respect the possibility that this fight could go either way.
Q. When you win on April 25th you’re going to win a lot of heavyweight championship belts. Have you thought about how you’re going to carry all those belts out of the ring? Do you have a big enough entourage to do it?
A. Well, you know, I have a team. I don’t have an entourage; I have a team. Everybody in my team actually has a purpose, and their purpose is definitely love and acceptance and I very much appreciate it. I don’t really get into the entourage thing, but you know there’s going to be extra people, there’s going to be a lot of people that are going to be there to want to hold the belt.
I think I’m strong enough to hold them all. I don’t want nobody holding my belts for me. That’s how it’s going to go; it’s going to be a wonderful night.
Q. I just wanted to ask if you could give me a scouting report on Klitschko based on the studying that you and Fred have done. Without divulging your game plan too much, are there certain things that you perceive as weaknesses that he’s got, holds that you’re going to try to exploit? Or is it a case of him doing everything well and there’s just certain things he does less well than other things, you know?
A. Well, we know he holds very well. He holds. That’s one of the things that he does do. He doesn’t fight back pretty well and he does a lot of things great, though. That’s pretty much what it is. His weakness will be getting to his chin, but he does that great job, protecting that, but I understand that it’s going to be a tough task and it’s going to be that’s something that I – that’s what I signed up for. I’m with that. I’m all for it.
Q. My question is basically I kind of fielded a question to Klitschko regarding the jab. We know how important the jab is in the fight game. You seem to employ the jab quite often and sometimes double jab and try to keep guys on the outside. Mike Tyson was really good at moving laterally and kind of being able to get to his guy, which made him such a great heavyweight. Do you see that as something that you’re going to have to really try to kind of ward off to get on the inside to fight Klitschko?
A. There are a few ways to get inside. Yes, he has a great jab. I have a, I want to say an exceptional jab compared to his as well. He is one of the best athletes I’ve seen for that. There are definitely plenty of ways to actually get inside of a jab. Like you say, lateral movement, head movement and relentless effort will definitely penetrate and make a change.
Q. Do you feel that you’re going to be able to make those adjustments as necessary in the ring? Again, without giving up strategy, how do you feel you’re going to be able to counter the jab? Because I feel like in most of his fights, you know, everything starts in boxing; everything starts and ends with the jab. So my point was is how do you feel you’re going to be able to deter that jab to come inside if you have to?
A. Well, only being a week away from the fight I have 100% confidence in everything that I do. I had a great training camp. The way that we actually prepare and practice to get inside or to actually be able to maneuver around the jab, I feel those are effective and I have 100% faith that what we practiced is effective. All I’m going to have to is be patient and be smart.
Q. I got you. Training camp was eight weeks?
A. A little longer than that.
KLITSCHKO vs. JENNINGS is presented by K2 Promotions and the Klitschko Management Group in association with Gary Shaw Productions and will be televised Live on HBO World Championship Boxing® beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT in the United States and RTL in Germany.
ALI vs. SANTANA is presented by K2 Promotions in association with Gary Shaw Productions and Golden Boy Promotions.
Tickets priced at $1000, $600, $300, $200 and $100 may be purchased through the Madison Square Garden Box Office, www.TheGarden.com and www.Ticketmaster.com.
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