PHILLY BOXING HISTORY                                                                             May 30, 2013


Home Boxers Fights Arenas Non-Boxers Gyms Relics More About Contact


by John DiSanto


When Teon Kennedy, 17-2-2 (7 KOs), returns to the ring on Saturday night after a layoff of nearly one year, Philadelphia boxing fans hope that he will be not only bigger, but also better than ever before. The sometimes-boxing, sometimes-slugging North Philadelphian will look to bounce back from his 5th round title fight TKO loss last June to Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux in the 10-round main event at Bally's Atlantic City against Carlos Vinan, 10-9-5 (2 KOs). Kennedy's title try came at 122 pounds, but on Saturday night he'll fight Vinan at 130 pounds, two weight classes higher (junior lightweight) than he's ever been.   

Kennedy and his team say the rise in weight is a long time coming. His struggles to make the 122 pound limit increased over the past few years, and may have figured into his two year winless streak. (He's 0-2-1 in his last three bouts.)

"Some nights I couldn't eat because I had to make weight," Kennedy said. "(But now) I don't have to struggle to get to 122. It feels great. I'm not fighting with my coaches because I'm not eating. So training camp is going good." 

Teon Kennedy with Co-Trainer Wade Hinnant

Co-trainer Wade Hinnant concurs with his fighter. 

"He's not as miserable because he's not having to lose all that weight," Hinnant said. He's a bit more pleasant to deal with at this stage. He's been consistently strong and sharp." 

"I feel stronger right now," Kennedy said. "I feel faster. I feel stronger. I feel real good. Hopefully that will play a part when I get in the ring on the 1st." 

"I don't have any concerns at all," Hinnant said. "I knew that Teon would not hold 122. I think at some point, he'll fight as a super lightweight. So I'm not concerned about the weight at all." 

On Saturday, Kennedy won't have to look for Vinan. The Ecuador-born, Newark, NJ fighter usually stands in front of his opponents and tries to bring the fight into the trenches. Vinan doesn't carry great power, but provides plenty of pressure and is more than capable of making war. His brawling tactics worked in Philly wins over the skilled Eric Hunter (W6) and trench war master Victor Vasquez (W6). 

"I think Carlos Vinan has the style that Teon needs to look against, provided he don't get caught up with what Vinan is trying to do," Hinnant said. 

"I just know that he likes to come forward and keep the pressure on you," Kennedy said. "That's all we know about him. My corner's been watching tapes on him. I don't really watch tapes." 

Vinan will provide a good test for Kennedy. He'll measure how Kennedy performs at the new weight, and he'll gauge where Teon is after the resounding loss to Rigondeaux. Some fighters have difficulty coming back from such a defeat, and although Kennedy seems to be a guy that lets things roll right off his back, only time will tell what he has left in his tank. 

"I think his mental attitude is great," Hinnant said. "If he can't get past that and have a short memory about what happened in the Rigondeaux fight, then we have a problem. But I don't see that happening. Teon's been doing this for 20 years." 

Against Vinan, who is also coming off a significant layoff himself, Kennedy won't have to deal with punches that strike like lightning bolts, a la Rigondeaux, or with movement by a floater like Alejandro Lopez, who neutralized Kennedy and dished him his very first loss in the same Bally's Atlantic City boxing ring. With Vinan, Kennedy should be able to utilize either of his styles, whether it be the exciting brawler he turned into a few years back, or his original incarnation as "The Technician" that started his career and sometimes still surfaces in his fights.    

Either way, the fight on Saturday feels like a new start for Teon, which is exactly what he needs at this point of his career. Kennedy has already packed a lifetime into his 21 bouts so far. He's won two regional titles, endured the Francisco Rodriguez tragedy, and fought numerous brutal and thrilling ring wars. 

Teon's gone from a technical boxer and sure thing prospect, to an exciting warhorse, who many feared was burning out. There have been displays of brilliance as well as frustrating nights when Kennedy made his fights far harder than they should have ever been. But through it all, his performances have  been "must see" events for Philly boxing fans. Kennedy's career resumes Saturday night in Atlantic City before his fan base, all of  whom are dying to know which way the remainder of Teon's career will go.   

"I'm really, really excited about what he's going to do come Saturday," Hinnant said. "I think it's a great thing for him to fight in front of his home fans, and we feel we'll get back on the winning track." 

"I'm just trying to get back to the top, where I was before," Kennedy said. "It's always a good thing to be the main event in front of your crowd. Sometimes you perform even better when you're in front of your crowd." 

So Kennedy goes back to work against Vinan, and the rest of his boxing days hang in the balance. 

"I can't wait for this day," Kennedy said. "I just can't wait to get back in there. It's like it's my first fight again."

Co-Trainer Randy Hinnant




John DiSanto - Philadelphia - May 30, 2013