NEWARK, N.J. — Bryant Jennings has gone from being a virtually unknown upstart to being lauded by Freddie Roach as the best American heavyweight prospect active today.
With all of that pressure riding on him, the 27-year-old Jennings, of Philadelphia, Penn., ran his record to 14-0 (6 knockdowns) with a dominant unanimous decision victory over Steve Collins (25-2-1, 18 KOs) in the co-featured bout to the Tomasz Adamek-Eddie Chambers main event at The Prudential Center, but he failed to live up to the expectations bestowed on him following a series of impressive performances on NBC Sports Fight Night. The scores were 100-89 on all three cards.
Jennings, 225, started off slow, pushing out his jab and picking single shots on the slower Collins, 244. In the third round Jennings began to throw combinations, backing Collins into the ropes and sapping his confidence. Jennings finally began to show some star quality when, as the last minute of the fourth round approached, he landed an uppercut that between the guard that Collins never saw coming, followed by a left hook and right cross. Collins didn’t touch the canvas but was knocked into the ropes, resulting in a technical knockdown.
From there, the fire power came and went in spots. Jennings still remained in command, pushing forward but without a forceful jab and flurrying with combinations that kept Collins on the defensive, but never again showed the explosiveness that he exhibited in the fourth round.
“I came out to win and that’s all I wanted,” said Jennings. “I don’t look for knockouts and I didn’t want to force it, but I could’ve done a lot more. I still have some tricks in the bag and I still work hard. It was tough but I got through it.”
Jennings, who stopped former heavyweight titlist Sergei Lyakhovich in his previous fight, is still learning on the job, having only amassed a modest 13-4 amateur record after lacing up the gloves for the first time three years ago.