Live Coverage by Gary Purfield
In a local showdown of unbeaten prospects Teon Kennedy of Philadelphia and Jorge Diaz of New Brunswick New Jersey met in a junior feather weight showdown that could catapult the winner into a possible title fight. While the fight was not included in the HBO broadcast both fighters had strong crowd support and the excitement the bout generated may have stolen the show.
Diaz opened fast bringing pressure but Kennedy who is known as the technician for his boxing skills also has no problem standing in the pocket to fight. Diaz was the aggressor in the first two rounds but Kennedy landed the sharper more accurate punches.
In round three Kennedy got himself a knockdown when Diaz seemed to half-slip and then be helped down from a punch. Rounds four and five continued to be close and competitive. Entering the sixth round this was still anyone’s fight. Then in the sixth Kennedy turned the fight in his favor and never let go.
Standing toe to toe in the middle of the ring Kennedy landed with several heavy punches finished off by an overhand right that spun Diaz’s head and dropped him to the floor. Kennedy went for the finish as Diaz tried to hold on. By the end of the round both fighters were spent. Kennedy half fell half tripped into Diaz taking both fighters into the ropes and onto the ground at the end of round.
From that round on Kennedy had control. In the early rounds it was Diaz moving forward and backing Teon into the ropes but now with no legs left Diaz was being pushed backward. Kennedy walked his opponent down and landed crisp punches that largely went unanswered for the remainder of the fight.
Kennedy took the unanimous decision by scores of 113-11, 118-109, and 117-109 (I had it 117-110). While two of the three scorecards ended in a wide margin this was a highly competitive bout and exciting to the capacity crowd that came to support their hometown fighters. When either fighter flurried his portion of the audience would erupt and competing battle chants of Jorge-Jorge went against the Philly crowd countering with Teon-Teon.
The excitement of local fighters with a passionate crowd is unmatched and often underutilized in boxing. Give Top Rank credit for being smart enough to put this fight onto its card with more well-known national fighters to draw interest and excitement to the arena.
Teon Kennedy from the Philadelphia side and Jorge Diaz from New Jersey across the Ben Franklin Bridge
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