by Chris Cella
For the first 18 fights of his young career, Philadelphia’s own and former USBA super bantamweight champion Teon Kennedy (17-2-2, 7 KO) was flying high, discarding of one opponent after another and staying undefeated as he worked his way up the ranks. The closest he came to defeat was when he fought to a draw against Lante Addy in 2009, but he followed that performance with four consecutive victories, earning his chance to fight for the interim NABA super bantamweight title.
In the title fight against Alejandro Lopez, Kennedy came up short and lost via unanimous decision, and has been unable to exit the ring with a ‘W’ in the two fights since, scoring one draw, and losing by way of TKO to Guillermo Rigondeaux this past June for the WBA world super bantamweight championship.
On December 8 at Temple University, nearly 21 months since his last win inside the ring, Kennedy will square off with undefeated prospect Jerry “The Corpus Christi Kid” Belmontes in a 10-round junior lightweight contest.
Belmontes (17-0, 5 KO) is fighting on the East Coast for only the second time in his career, and at 23-years-old has been working diligently to establish a name for himself. He immediately jumped at the opportunity to go to battle with Kennedy in his backyard, and anxiously awaits fight night.
“Hell yeah, I’ll take the fight,” said Belmontes. “Fans are really going to like this one. I have watched all of Kennedy’s fights on TV. I have a lot of confidence I’ll get the ‘W’.”
This bout will be Kennedy’s first fight since moving up in weight, and despite only being stopped once, has shown that his chin is questionable. In his last outing, the Philadelphia pugilist tasted the canvas five times before losing the fight, and although Belmontes isn’t known for his power, having only five knockouts in 17 wins, how Kennedy responds to tasting leather could prove to be a deciding factor.
Kennedy knows the importance of this fight, and how imperative it is to get back on the winning track. He is relishing the chance to go to work in front of his hometown fans.
“It’s a great opportunity to fight on this card in Philly, cause I can showcase my skill again on TV,” said Kennedy. “And when I win, it will put me back where I need to be.”
Part of an action packed eight-fight card, headlined by Philly’s heavyweight Bryant Jennings putting his USBA heavyweight crown on the line against Bowie Tupou, this matchup between the two speedy and crafty junior lightweights will make for an exciting bout.
The fight will be aired live Saturday, December 8 at 9 p.m. on NBC Sports Network.