On fight night boxing changes from a team sport to an individual sport. There is not much left for the team to do, it is all up to the fighter at that point.
Saturday night, super bantamweight Teon Kennedy lost his first fight, along with his NABA and USBA titles. Everyone watching was thinking the same thing–Kennedy (17-1-1, 7K0s) should have cut the ring off better, he should have been quicker, he should have done a thousand things that he just did not do.
People began to make excuses for him, not noticing he did not make any excuses himself. He gave it his best shot, and on that particular night it just was not good enough. Sometimes that happens; It is not worth judging a fighter on one bad night, instead judge him on what he does next.
This was Kennedy’s first shot at a fighter who moved a lot, and the fans could tell. Regardless of how good Alejandro Lopez (22-2, 7K0s) looked, Kennedy did not seem himself. It was as if he had that off night that night fighters are not allowed to have. He knew what he needed to do, he just could not execute. Kennedy could not catch up to Lopez.
Kennedy is no longer undefeated. Does that make him a different fighter? No. He gave it his all, he has more heart than anyone could expect. His right eye looked swollen shut in about the fourth or fifth round and by the end of the fight Kennedy appeared blind in both eyes. That did not stop him; he went out there and fought his heart out.
There are more undefeated fighters now than ever. Is it because they are that good? Or have they been carefully matched. Kennedy has bounced back time and time again, and there is no doubt this is something else he will bounce back from.
The loss should only make people more interested in Kennedy, in his next move, his reaction, and where he goes from here. The test of a fighter is to see what he does after a loss. Does he stick to what he is comfortable with, or will he adapt.
Everyone cannot be Floyd Mayweather Jr (41-0, 25K0s). Not every fighter goes the distance and stays undefeated, and there is nothing wrong with that. After Bernard Hopkins (52-5, 32K0s) lost in his pro debut in 1988 he went on to have a 22-fight undefeated streak until Roy Jones Jr. beat him in 1993.
Hopkins lost to Jones Jr. in his first shot for the IBF middleweight title. That one loss obviously did not stop Hopkins from accomplishing his goals. The next time he fought for the IBF title he faced Segundo Mercado of Equador. Hopkins was dealt a draw that night, but he did not let that stand in his path. Hopkins won the IBF middleweight title in 1995 in the rematch with Mercado.
Hopkins defended his IBF middleweight title and added the WBC and WBA titles. Currently, Hopkins holds the WBC light-heavyweight title.
Kennedy may no longer have his perfect record, but he has learned a lot about himself. One loss should not keep him from accomplishing his goals, Kennedy is the type of fighter who will adapt and get stronger because of this experience.
Brittany Rogers contributes the BAM on Boxing column to PSC. You can also check her out, as well as everything else you need to know on Philly boxing, at PeltzBoxing.com. Follow Brittany on Twitter @bamonboxing and Peltz Boxing @PeltzBoxing.
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