Fighting on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley WBO welterweight title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Philadelphians Mike Jones and Teon Kennedy can capture world titles while Jesse Hart continues the boxing legacy of his family by making his much-anticipated professional debut.
Jones (26-0, 19 KOs), the IBF No. 1-ranked welterweight fights No. 2-ranked Randall Bailey (42-7, 36 KOs) for the vacant IBF title.
Kennedy (17-1-2, 7 KOs) challenges super Bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux (9-0, 7 KOs) for his WBA belt.
Hart, the son of middleweight knockout artist Eugene “Cyclone” Hart, won the 2011 National Golden Gloves and U.S. National Champions and was the No.1-ranked amateur middleweight when he decided to turn pro.
If Jones and Kennedy win, they will join WBC light welterweight champion Danny Garcia to give Philadelphia three world title holders for the first times since cruiserweight Nate Miller had the WBA belt, Charles Brewer the IBF super middleweight and the legendary Bernard Hopkins had the IBF middleweight title in 1997.
“This could bring Philadelphia back to being the boxing capital of the world like it used to be,” said Jimmy Williams who co-manages Jones and Kennedy with Nowicki. “I’ve been in boxing since 1970 and never had a title shot.”
It’s about the individual opportunity and the opportunity for Philadelphia boxing.
“We’ve already got one young world champion in Danny Garcia,” Jones said. “If I handle my business, that’s one more. If Teon handles his business, that’s another.
“It can definitely bring a strong boxing era to Philadelphia, like it was back in the day.” n
Contact John Smallwood at firstname.lastname@example.org Read more about each of these Philadelphia boxers in “SportsWeek” starting with Jesse Hart on Saturday.