Teon Kennedy will get his first crack at a world title tomorrow night on the Pacquiao vs Bradley undercard, as he faces WBA super bantamweight titleholder Guillermo Rigondeaux in the pay-per-view opener.
Kennedy (17-1-2, 7 KO) is 0-1-1 in his last two fights, an upset loss to Alejandro Lopez and a dull draw with Christopher Martin in January. It's a valid question as to whether or not the 25-year-old Philly fighter should even be getting the world title shot at this point, but it doesn't really matter: He's getting it, and if he pulls the upset, he'll be flying high with a world title around his waist. When a fighter gets this chance, he can't worry about "deserve," just about making it count.
Kennedy tells Mike Coppinger at The RING that he feels all the pressure is on Rigondeaux (9-0, 7 KO), a heavy favorite and considered one of the world's elite fighters at 122 pounds. He also thinks he's got the ability to make the Cuban amateur legend uncomfortable, and force him into a fight he doesn't want:
"I need to make him uncomfortable and just be a little rugged in there. He’s never really been battle-tested. He’s a good fighter, he has quick hands, they say he has power, but I don’t know about the power until I get in the ring with him."
Rigondeaux won the belt in just his ninth pro fight in January, easily defeating a mentally absent Rico Ramos on Showtime. The 31-year-old southpaw has been featured on a Pacquiao undercard once before, and drew boos at Cowboys Stadium in November 2010, and harsh reviews from boxing critics, media, and fans for his performance, though he did beat Ricardo Cordoba.
Bob Arum says the Cuban is looking to be more aggressive from now on, in part to make himself more attractive to the TV networks.
Here's a video look at Team Kennedy working out and getting ready in late May: