NEW YORK – Jerry Forrest doesn’t think any of Jared Anderson’s first 12 opponents were equipped to take the young knockout artist where Forrest will lead him Saturday night.
The skillful, tough Forrest has fought numerous heavyweight contenders, nearly pulled off two upsets that resulted in back-to-back draws with Zhang Zhilei and Michael Hunter in 2021 and has been knocked out only once in 33 professional fights. Anderson has generated buzz in boxing by knocking out every opponent he has fought, but only two of his 12 fights have lasted beyond the second round.
The 23-year-old Anderson, of Toledo, Ohio, has won each of his past four fights by second-round knockout or technical knockout. Anderson acknowledged during a recent interview with BoxingScene.com that he needs rounds and Forrest figures to accommodate him in their 10-round co-feature Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.
“By me being here before, I’m not worried about me,” Forrest told BoxingScene.com following a press conference Thursday at Madison Square Garden. “You’ve seen my fights. Realistically, I’ve sent veterans to the hospital. Michael Hunter hasn’t fought again. I’ve been in with everyone and he’s no different. I’m gonna take him into deep waters, like I do everyone, and see how he does. Literally, I drown people after four rounds.”
Caesars Sportsbook lists Anderson as a 25-1 favorite entering a bout ESPN will televise just before the 10-round main event between former lightweight champ Teofimo Lopez (17-1, 13 KOs) and Spanish southpaw Sandor Martin (40-2, 13 KOs). Forrest (26-5-2, 20 KOs), of Newport News, Virginia, assumes those odds were established in part due to his decisive defeat to 41-year-old Bulgarian contender Kubrat Pulev in his most recent fight.
Forrest entered that fight with a rib injury, though, which limited him in a 10-rounder he lost by unanimous decision May 14 at The Forum in Inglewood, California. Pulev (29-3, 14 KOs) defeated Forrest by scores of 98-92, 99-91 and 99-91.
“The injury actually happened before the Michael Hunter fight [in December 2021],” said Forrest, who has been knocked out only by Gerald Washington in August 2013. “I fought Michael Hunter injured, but the injury wasn’t grave. After that fight, in camp for the Pulev fight, I actually injured myself worse. With my skill level, I believed I could beat Pulev injured. I believe in myself so much, that I was like, ‘I can beat him injured.’ It didn’t work out, but you know, still fought and I still did my thing. Besides the injury with Pulev, I’ve always showed up and showed out.”
Forrest followed his doctor’s orders and took three months off following his loss to Pulev. The 34-year-old southpaw is much healthier as he prepares to test Anderson (12-0, 12 KOs) in a fight Forrest promised will be much more competitive than oddsmakers have indicated.
“If anyone saw my fight with Pulev and thinks that I’m a pushover,” Forrest said, “you’re gonna be in for a rude awakening. It’s not gonna go how you think it’s gonna go.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.