Jenkins has been training boxers for a long time. Before
that, he was a fighter himself. The PA Boxing Hall of Famer
has been in the sport for 43 years, and after all that time,
and after developing countless boxers at the ABC Recreation
Center in North Philly, all his hard work just might pay off
with his latest pupil, heavyweight contender Bryant
Jennings, 18-0, 10 KOs. The pair travel to Madison Square
Garden this weekend to take on Mike Perez, 20-0-1, 12 KOs,
in a 12-round WBC title eliminator.
Tell me about Bryant
JENKINS: “He’s a unique individual. He likes to be
challenged, and whatever challenge comes, he puts it in the
back of his mind that he’s got to complete the challenge and
out-do the next guy. That’s his pattern of fighting, and
that’s his pattern in life. He’s always out-doing the next
What does he have to
do to out-do Mike Perez?
JENKINS: “He’s got to stay ahead on each round, don’t
come from behind. He got to win each round. No matter what
Perez brings to the table, Bryant (must be) able to adjust
to the situation and win the round. I’ll tell you what, the
best thing for Mike Perez is not to hit Bryant. If he don’t
hit Bryant, it will be a nice fight. As soon as he hits
Bryant, the fight’s going to change around.”
Bryant has developed quickly, but he hasn’t seen everything
yet. How do you prepare him for the things he hasn’t seen?
JENKINS: “You have to realize, he’s only been in the
business five years. I’ve been in the business 43 years.
So what he don’t see, I’ve already seen. I usually try to
prepare him for it, whether he knows it or not. So when we
train, we do a lot of different styles. We consistently go
over different patterns of fighting. So when he’s in the
ring, and the opportunity shows itself, he’s going to
automatically do it.”
How about that tough
night that every fighter eventually has, getting knocked
down and such?
JENKINS: “You rely on his conditioning. Every fighter
should get up from a knockdown. Every fighter, if they are
conditioned right, can get up.”
Bryant is so confident. How important is that when he gets
in that ring?
JENKINS: “It’s very important. It’s what keeps him
motivated. He believes that he’s great. It’s not my job to
change that. As long as he stays that way, my job is to
keep him over-confident, make him think that he’s
invincible. And that’s the way he is. He was an ordinary
guy before I created a monster. No matter what he do
outside the ring, he got to perform inside the ring.”
If he wins the world
JENKINS: You say ‘if’. I say he going to win the world
title when the opportunity comes. I have to think that way
at all times because that’s the purpose of training a
fighter. You can’t put no doubt in his mind. When the
opportunity comes, he will win the world title.
When he wins
the world title, you’ll have another world champion to your
credit. Tell me about your first one, Charlie Choo-Choo
JENKINS: “He was 22, I was 25. But not only Choo-Choo
Charlie Brown. Rockin’ Rodney Moore, Zahir Raheem, David
Reid, Malik Scott, Randy Griffin, Anthony “The Messenger”
Thompson. There’s a whole slew of fighters. So my work
speaks for itself. They don’t belong to nobody else. They
belong to me. I started all those guys from scratch.
Working with all those guys. Learning their ups and downs,
and the ins and outs of boxing. Bryant Jennings is the
What’s the secret to your success?
JENKINS: “Just being around boxing for 43 years.
You look for ways to make your fighter focus better than
the other fighter. My success is always open to keep
learning. Once you say you know it all, that’s when you
fail. I don’t know it all. I’m still learning as I go.”