Klitschko sees unhappy ending for 'Rocky Balboa' opponent

Wed Feb 4, 2015 5:32pm EST
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Long-reigning world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko likens his next challenger, Bryant Jennings of Philadelphia, to the Rocky Balboa character of film fame.

But the towering Ukraine who has ruled the division for nine years does not predict a happy ending for Jennings in their April 25 clash at Madison Square Garden.

"I think Bryant is Rocky Balboa," Klitschko said Wednesday referencing the lead character in Sylvester Stallone's "Rocky" series.

"He's from Philadelphia. He's someone who started late in boxing. He's a top contender. I can see the desire and will, the way he carries himself. Makes me think this fight is going to be exciting. This is his life chance."

But Klitschko likes his chances as holder of five heavyweight belts and a 63-3 record.

"As the champion, I am the Bad Man. I am the Baddest Man on the Planet in boxing," said Klitschko, who has made 17 title defenses during an uninterrupted reign started in 2006 for the second longest heavyweight run behind legendary Joe Louis.

Jennings is 19-0, but at 6-3, 225 pounds and wearing a black tee shirt with "I MATTER!" lettered on the front, looked like a kid brother as he stared up at Klitschko for photographers.

"I'm ready because I've got to be ready," Jennings, 30, told Reuters about measuring up to the task.   Continued...

Unified Heavyweight World Champion Wladimir Klitschko (L) and challenger Bryant Jennings face-off following a news conference to announce their upcoming bout at Madison Square Garden in New York February 4, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid