by Johnny Walker
Lost in the shuffle as Manny Pacquiao’s storied boxing career evaporated in Las Vegas on Saturday night was the quiet rise of an American fighter in the division that boxing fans here have long abandoned.
Philadelphia heavyweight Bryant “By By” Jennings improved to 16-0 as he stopped Bowie Tupou in the fifth round to retain his USBA heavyweight title at Temple University in the City of Brotherly Love.
After edging the first two rounds, Jennings had a scare in the third as the powerful Tupou floored him with a hard right hand on top of the head. For reasons that were unclear, the referee didn’t see fit to rule this a knockdown, however, and Bryant quickly recovered, coming back to exchange some big punches with Tupou as the round came to an end.
Jennings righted the ship in round four, and then in round five brought an end to the proceedings with a crunching right uppercut that punctuated a series of hard punches. Tupou hit the deck and lay flat on his back as he was counted out.
Jennings was declared the winner by knockout at 1:37 of round five.
“I think he hit the crap out of me,” the victor said of the third round knockdown that was missed by the referee.
“Bowie’s a hard hitter, but I pulled it off … the right uppercut put him down.”