Klitschko vs Jennings: The culmination of an American heavyweight resurgence?Written by Steve Lulkoski
On April 25th at the world's most famous arena, Madison Square Garden, heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko will reintroduce himself to the American boxing marketplace when he takes on undefeated Philadelphia upstart Bryant Jennings.
Thus far, the man dubbed "Dr. Steelhammer" has not been enthusiastically embraced by the American masses, and U.S. interest in the heavyweight division, and boxing in general, have been negatively impacted as a result.
However, HBO has now granted Wlad a second chance of sorts, recently televising his recent blistering fifth round knockout over the hard charging and courageous Bulgarian, Kubrat Pulev.
Many fight fans, and HBO of course, were delighted to see a Klitschko performance that was devoid of his "score the hold" tactics and other safety-first measures that can make a fight dull.
As a result, this tilt was considered by many as one of the best knockouts of 2014, electrifying fans throughout the sport.
One weekend prior to Mayweather vs Pacquiao, Klitschko intends to build upon his new brand of 'excitement' and solidify his stake on HBO by impressively dismantling top ten contender Bryant Jennings.
If Klitschko unleashes fireworks, can he significantly boost his marketability and approval rating with American sports fans? Or will it be the underdog who propels boxing back into the American mainstream?
Standing in the way of the champion's grandiose plans is the athletic and personable "Bye-Bye" Jennings. So athletic is Jennings that he found himself in the finals of the National Golden Gloves in just his seventeenth amateur fight.
Now, in only in his fifth year as a pro, Jennings has successfully navigated the heavyweight landscape and boasts wins over durable Polish prospect Artur Szpillka and "Irish" Mike Perez.
While many experts believe Klitschko owns nearly every conceivable advantage, Jennings, a 16:1 underdog, wouldn't be the first long-shot to unseat a reigning heavyweight champion.
Considering "Buster" Douglas was a 45:1 underdog versus Mike Tyson, and Hasim Rahman was a 20:1 dog versus Lennox Lewis, a Jennings win over Klitschko would be less earth-shattering.
What could be substantially more shocking, though, would be if two Americans owned a share of the heavyweight title, Bryant Jennings and current WBC champion Deontay Wilder.
As of late, fans of the Sweet Science are getting louder in their demands for a Klitschko-Wilder unification bout. But, with boxing's new found momentum in the United States, wouldn't things get a little more interesting with a monumental Jennings upset later this month?
Could Klitschko vs Jennings be the final piece of the puzzle that restores American boxing to the status and popularity it enjoyed in the eighties and nineties?
Tune in April 25 when it all goes down center stage, in the Garden.