By John J. Raspanti
Unbeaten heavyweight Luis Ortiz (24-0, 21 KOs) stopped high ranking former challenger Bryant Jennings (19-2, 10 KOs) in the seventh round Saturday night at the Turning Point Resort Casino in Verona, New York.
Ortiz, a southpaw, went to work in the opening stanza. He cuffed his opponent with right hands. A right hook/uppercut hurt Jennings. Another big left caused his knees to buckle.
Jennings looked shell-shocked but dug deep and rallied in round two. He landed an uppercut and right hand. Ortiz, 36, connected with his own insides hooks.
Both men went to the body. Jennings did some good work on the inside.
The 31-year-old Jennings circled to his right in round three. Ortiz attacked with vicious hooks to the head and body. A left sent Jennings staggering to the ropes. A few seconds later, Jennings, seemingly recovered, fired a combination that seemed to surprise Ortiz.
Round four was fought in a phone booth. Jennings stayed busy on the inside. He smothered the big man. Ortiz got on his toes and boxed in round five. He needed room to land his heavy blows. A huge left banged off Jennings ribs. A uppercut stunned Jennings.
Jennings needed to stay close to be effective. His plan was to outwork Ortiz. In rounds five and six, he did some good work but was quickly countered by the more powerful Ortiz. Jennings went to the body in round seven. Ortiz stepped forward and landed a huge uppercut that sent Jennings crashing to the canvas. The Philadelphia native pulled himself up but was badly hurt. Ortiz connected with two long hooks that caused Jennings to wobble. The referee immediately waved off the contest.
The time was 2:41 seconds of round seven.
"He’s a fighter who deserves his respect," said Ortiz of Jennings. "I have my training. Everybody has to take me into consideration as a heavyweight."
He made his point.