By: Matthew N. Becher
HBO boxing ended the year with a stacked card that began on HBO Latino and ended on the major channel with its last edition of its Boxing after Dark series for 2015, live at the Turning Stone Resort in upstate New York.
he co-main event was a fight between former world champion Nicholas Walters and Jason Sosa. A fight that was supposed to send Walters back on the right track toward world titles and big fights in the New Year.
The main event was a heavyweight contest between two ranked contenders. Cuban Defector Luis Ortiz holds an interim title to the heavyweight championship and posts an undefeated record. Bryant Jennings is coming off of his first professional loss to former Heavyweight king Wladamir Klitschko. Both knew that this was a step closer to getting that title shot, and neither were ready to step down for that chance.
Nicholas Walters (26-0 21KO) vs. Jason Sosa (18-1-3 14KO): Super Featherweight
After an outstanding 2014 where former Featherweight world champion Nicholas Walters made a name for himself in the boxing world, with stellar knockout victories over Vic Darchinyan and Nonito Donaire he ended 2015 without garnering as much noise as the previous year.
Walters shocked us all when he lost his belt on the scales and cruised to a one sided unanimous victory earlier in 2015 at the Theater in Madison Square Garden.
He again underperformed against a lesser opponent in Jason Sosa. Sosa was able to hang with Walters for the first few rounds, both feeling each other out, staying in the pocket and exchanging shots. Neither fighter ever hurt the other, and Walters’s body shots seemed to be the only factor that was able to take the breath out of Sosa who seemed to get tired by the seventh round.
Walters, who has been looking for a major fight against Vasyl Lomachenko, may have blown his chance, as he did not look like his former self of only a year ago, and even though he looked to have done enough to have beaten Sosa, the judges did not see it that way, and the fight was scored a Draw.
96-94 Sosa, 95-95 (2x) Draw
Luis Ortiz (23-0 20KO) vs. Bryant Jennings (19-1 10KO): Heavyweight
The main event to the night did not disappoint. As the two ranked heavyweights left it all on the line and put on a show to end the year for HBO boxing.
Ortiz came out the aggressor from the first round, hurting Jennings badly and unfortunately letting him off the hook in what looked to be an early night for Jennings.
Jennings did not go quietly into the night, as he fought back and stormed forward in the second round.
Once again in the 3rd, Ortiz hurt Jennings, but again let him of the hook. And as the previous rounds, Jennings came back to fight valiantly, trying to stay away from Ortiz’s left hand.
Ortiz was just too big, and to fast with his hand and foot speed for Jennings to answer.
And in an exciting fight, Ortiz caught Jennings with a punishing left hand that floored him. And nobody even expected Jennings to get up from it. He showed heart and fought on for a few more moments to only be stopped by an attack by the champ and soon to be top heavyweight contender Luis Ortiz.
Ortiz TKO 7 2:41