By Ed Baylor: In what can’t be seen as a surprise to anyone, IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko (63-3, 53 KOs) is reportedly a huge 16:1 favorite to defeat challenger Bryant Jennings (19-0, 10 KOs) in their fight on April 25th on HBO Championship Boxing from Madison Square Garden, in New York, New York, USA.
Jennings, 30, could have had a title shot against WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, but instead he opted to take the fight against Wladimir. It is unknown why Jennings decided on the Wladimir fight other than he didn’t know that Wilder would end up as the WBC champion.
Wilder recently won the World Boxing Council title with a victory over Bermane Stiverne on January 17th of this month. By then, Jennings had already signed to fight Wladimir. However, if he’d waited a little while before signing, he would have likely gotten a much better deal in a fight against Wilder.
This is a potentially bad match-up for the 6’3” Jennings, because he doesn’t have the size or the power to compete against the 6’6”, 245 pound Wladimir. The lack of the power is Jennings’ biggest problem, because he doesn’t have anything to make Wladimir respect him.
Obviously there’s a chance that Wladimir ages overnight in the ring when he gets in there with Jennings. After all, Wladimir will be turned 39-years-old on March 25th, and that’s pretty old to be still fighting. Wladimir didn’t look all that great in his last fight against Kubrat Pulev last November.
While Wladimir did knock Pulev down several times in the fight, he still looked uncoordinated and his time appeared to be badly off. It could have been due to Wladimir not comfortable with Pulev’s 6’4 ½” height, or could be that Wladimir’s age is starting to show.
With the kind of punching power that Wladimir possesses, he can make up for what he’s losing in terms of his hand speed and timing. If he’s able to land his left hook and right hand with any regularity, he’s going to make it difficult for Jennings to take those kinds of shots.
Jennings hasn’t been in with anyone with near the same kind of talent and size that Wladimir has. In Jennings’ last fight, he defeated Mike Perez by a 12 round split decision last July.