Top Rank Boxing Preview: Jennings vs. Rivas
By: Hector Franco
This upcoming Friday at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino perennial heavyweight contender Bryant “By-By” Jennings (24-2, 14 KOs) will make his return to the squared circle when he takes on undefeated Columbian Oscar Rivas (25-0, 17 KOs) in a twelve round bout.
Jennings is coming off of a busy 2018 where he fought three times in the calendar year. In his previous bout, Jennings took on Alexander Dimitrenko in a tougher than expected match. The Philadelphia fighter was knocked down in the fourth round and rallied back scoring three knockdowns en route to a ninth round stoppage victory.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account
At this time Jennings isn’t considered one of the elite heavyweights in the division who should be up for a title shot. However, his resume is undoubtedly one of the best in the division with victories over Mike Perez and Artur Szpilka. In 2015, Jennings took on two of the best heavyweights in the world back to back when he faced Wladimir Klitschko in April of 2015 and ended the year by taking on the perceived most feared heavyweight at the time, Luis Ortiz. Jennings lost to Klitschko via unanimous decision, but had his moments against the future Hall of Famer in a competitive bout. Jennings did not fair better against Ortiz who stopped him in seven rounds in one of the best performances of his career.
At age 34, Jennings still has plenty of time in continuing to rebuild his career to earn another world title opportunity. In the heavyweight division, many of the top fighters are in there 30’s giving Jennings more time to perfect his craft rather than keep up with younger opponents. However, Jennings has to continue winning against the pugilists Top Rank puts him in the ring against.
As for Jennings opponent, Oscar Rivas, the bout with Jennings will be just his second fight in the United States. Rivas is Columbian, but fights out of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He has only had two matches outside of Canada one of them being in France in late 2017. Not much is known about Rivas, which could be used to his advantage if Jennings is not prepared for his style.
Jennings does have the height and reach advantage standing at six foot three with an 84-inch reach compared to Rivas standing at six feet with a 76 and a half-inch reach. The goal for Top Rank will be to get Jennings back into contention for a heavyweight title. On Friday night another roadblock will be put in front of Jennings to push down.
On the undercard, Newark, New Jersey’s Shakur Stevenson (9-0, 5 KOs) will step back into the ring for the first time in 2019 against Jessie Cris Rosales. In 2018, Stevenson showed vast improvements with each fight. In his last contest, Stevenson scored his most impressive victory to date when he defeated Romania’s Viorel Simon by first round stoppage. Much of the criticism laid towards Stevenson is for his lack of punching power. At just 21 years of age, the number of knockouts will likely increase as he gets older more into his prime.
Also on the undercard, will be former WBA 130-pound champion, Jason Sosa (21-3-4, 15 KOs). Sosa will be taking on Mexico’s Moises Delgadillo. Sosa is still on somewhat of a comeback after two back to back losses to Vasiliy Lomachenko and Yuriorkis Gamboa in 2017. Against Delgadillo, he will be facing an opponent who has lost six of their last eight bouts.