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Old 11-27-2012, 12:49 PM   #1
IntentionalButt
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Default Bryant Jennings vs. Tor Hamer

These two are IMO the best American h2h contenders. In terms of achievement to date, they're correctly not yet rated up there as neither has that signature trophy yet - but if you stack them up against the rest of the Yank field: Arreola, Mitchell, Wilder, Hanks, Scott, Mansour, Banks, Johnson, Lawrence, and the dinosaurs who somehow survived the meteor shower of the last two decades (Barrett, McCall, Boswell, Harris, Oquendo, Rahman, McCline) - I'm strongly favoring both Jennings & Hamer to outclass them all based on their showings to date against mostly lesser opposition.

What hasn't really been discussed is the proposition of them vying directly for supremacy of the domestic scene. Why not have the best two h2h contenders in the country go...well, head to head?



Jennings' true arrival as an impact player came in his debut and sophomore headlining turns on fledgling boxing network NBC Sports, quickly metamorphosing into their homegrown flagship talent. Declaring his presence by muscling aside fellow unbeaten prospect Maurice Byarm and then further establishing it by thumping on Sergei Liakhovich (whose fourteen year campaign has been a rollercoaster ride, but who'd just looked mighty useful against Helenius) really etched his name into the minds of the public. His next pair weren't quite as special, but he took out the trash with aplomb and without much room for criticism. A three-card shutout with a knockdown followed by a KO1 is hard to argue with. That's what someone in his place should be doing to the likes of Collins and Koval. The question then becomes whether he should even still be in with their ilk after having already climbed much higher. He takes a few rungs back up toward those and perhaps eventually loftier heights next month against Bowie Tupou. Jennings should be able to at least equal if not surpass the number done on the crude Tupou by Malik Scott back in September. It's a step in the right direction, at least - which Collins and Koval weren't.

Jennings' strengths are his smooth and steady lateral movement, balance of activity and pacing (decelerating his output or pulling his punches where needed to save gas), high guard based defense while on the attack or circling, and his jab which is equally effective mid-step or stationary.. He's got moderate pop, speed and timing. His uppercut when he unleashes it can be pretty fearsome. That weapon could use sharpening, as he seems a little unsure of what range to throw it from and keeps it sheathed for the most part. His chin seems to be in proper working order thus far. He could work to improve his combination punching, or at least his willingness to use it since he can rip some nifty ones. He also stops and admires shots, taking a little break with his hands dropping ever so slightly, leaving some holes that a savvy and watchful enemy could exploit.

Hamer got sidetracked a few years ago in a competitive and exciting loss to still-undefeated Kelvin Price (who's got a chance to collect another zero against Wilder in a few weeks) on the Khan vs. Malignaggi undercard @ MSG. Since then he's been quietly toiling away and rebuilding himself, unable to really break through - until Prizefighter. He came in and handled every match-up he drew like a boss, looking a cut above. Granted, Nascimento and even formerly buzz-worthy UK puncher Tom Dallas are a far cry from world class - but in the Final he slapped seven shades of shit out of none other than Kevin "Kingpin" Johnson. Granted, Johnson seemed oddly hesitant and cautious and put in an effort about as pitiful as his world title bid against Vitali Klitschko. Still, Hamer boxed his ears off & just plain outfought him while forcing him to engage. The tournament endeared him to British fans but probably didn't significantly affect his brand image back home. Neither did becoming the umpteenth person to knock out Dominique Alexander last month, one of two 10-rounders mysteriously not televised on a ShoBox card that instead aired some tepid & meaningless 8-rounders. (the other dark match involving Jermain Taylor!!)

Hamer's strengths lie in his dancing footwork, reflexes, awkwardness, ability to create surprising angles, and shot selection leading to a high rate of accuracy. He was successful but not prolific in the amateur ranks, going 34-1 and claiming a national Golden Gloves title. As a result, he's learning on the job but didn't fall into the "amateur trap" of conditioning himself to waste shots. He instead emphasizes clean touches, hitting and not getting hit. He's an in-and-out pest who uses plenty of zigzags and keeps his skull a mobile target, and will settle for body shots if the opponent's isn't available to hit cleanly. He isn't a huge puncher but not a creampuff either...and neither blazing fast nor slow. He sometimes does misjudge distance, and often resorts to throwaway wide hooks that leave him dangerously wide open to counters, especially up on his toes.
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