Jaron Ennis at welterweight champions: Fight me or get off the belts and get out of my way!
LAS VEGAS – Jaron Ennis’ systematic rise in the welterweight division has left the gifted Philadelphia native in a precarious position.
A six-round demolition of Sergey Lipinets and a first-round destruction of Thomas Dulorme in back-to-back fights have proven the 24-year-old contender ready for a 147-pound title shot. These two impressive victories established Ennis – a seemingly generational mix of athleticism, intelligence, power, skill and speed – as much of a high-risk, low-reward proposition as possible for welterweight champions making campaign to earn as much money as they. can during the rear ends of their first physical.
Ennis (28-0, 26 KOs, 1 NC) is ranked high by the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO, but not high enough to ensure that a title shot is one or two fights away. An Ennis patient understands that he will almost certainly have to occupy a number one position and receive a mandatory title shot.
That didn’t stop the usually-reserved Ennis from delivering a message to Terence Crawford, Errol Spence Jr. and Yordenis Ugas after his first-round knockout against Puerto Rico’s Dulorme (25-6-1, 16 KOs) on the month. last at the Mandalay Bay Resort and the Michelob ULTRA Arena at the Casino.
“Either you all beat me up, or you get off the belts and get out of my way,” Ennis said, “because I’m coming.”
Ennis seems most interested in challenging Spence (27-0, 21 KOs), a powerful southpaw who owns the IBF and WBC belts.
Spence, 31, is recovering from surgery in mid-August to repair a damaged retina. The DeSoto, Texas native is much more likely to face Ugas next in what could be a welterweight title unification fight.
Cuban Ugas (27-4, 12 KOs) could be forced by the WBA to necessarily defend his “super” WBA championship against Lithuanian Eimantas Stanionis (13-0, 9 KO, 1 NC) in his next fight, or risk to be stripped of this title. Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs), from Omaha, Nebraska, must defend his WBO belt against former IBF / WBC champion Shawn Porter (31-3-1, 17 KOs) on November 20 at Michelob ULTRA Arena (ESPN Pay – Per view).
Crawford (34), Porter (34) and Ugas (36) are all in the same age range, which, with the stages of their careers, could continue to make it difficult for Ennis to attract one of them in the ring.
Spence, Porter and Ugas are all affiliated with Al Haymon’s early boxing champions. Porter’s fight is the last fight in Crawford’s contract with Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc.
Ennis is not affiliated with PBC, but has a multi-fight deal with Showtime, which has televised eight of its last nine fights. Although PBC and Showtime are partners, Haymon might not be willing to give Ennis any fights with his top welterweights unless Ennis and his promoter, Cameron Dunkin, partner with PBC in some capacity.
Meanwhile, Ennis is ranked third by the IBF, fourth by the WBA, fifth by the WBO and sixth by the WBC.
“Whichever belt I’m best ranked in,” Ennis said when asked what title he hopes to get. “I think it’s the IBF, so that’s where we’re going. So that’s Spence, and he got the WBC and the IBF [belts]. If I can have it, that would be perfect. But if not, I’ll take Ugas. If I can’t have Ugas, I’ll take the other champion, the winner of Crawford and Porter. If I can’t get them, give me Keith Thurman.
Ennis couldn’t help but laugh as he mentioned the name of Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs, 1 NC), a formidable but perpetually inactive former WBA / WBC champion who hasn’t fought in over two years. since losing a 12-round split decision to Manny Pacquiao (62-8-2, 39 KOs) in July 2019. Nonetheless, Ennis is hoping 2022 will be the year he gets his title, somehow. of another.
“Like I said before, from 2021, 2021 was the year I had to step in the door, show these guys my talent, show them what’s going on,” Ennis said. “And then in 2022, I kick down that door, climb to the top and take control of the welterweight division and grab all these belts.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer / columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.