By: Sean Crose
If you watched Showtime’s coverage of the brilliant Jermell Taylor-Brian Castano rematch on Saturday night, you might well have caught Jaron “Boots” Ennis’ two round destruction of the previously undefeated Custio Clayton. If you happened to witness that brief battle, it was likely you were impressed with Ennis’ performance. Very impressed. For here was a man whose jab was sharp, fast, and powerful. It’s one of the best jabs in the business and the man is only 24 years old. Ennis has yet to win a world title, nor has he faced the best in the loaded welterweight division. Yet there’s good reason to see big things in the Philadelphia fighter’s future.
It’s easy, of course, to hop on a hype train. The job of promoters, and many in the media, is to build up certain fighters. There’s a lot of money to be made in perceived greatness, after all. Yet Ennis at the very least appears ready to try to prove himself among the divisional top dogs. That means facing names like Ortiz, Thurman, Crawford, Garcia, and Spence. Can he best any or all of these fighters? That’s yet to be determined. It’s time, though, for both Ennis and fight world to find out.
The WBC currently has Ennis ranked fourth at welterweight. The WBA and WBO have Ennis ranked second, while the IBF has him ranked third. He may not be sitting atop the divisional heap and it’s unfair at this point to say Ennis is being avoided as he’s relatively new to the conversation, but there’s little doubt that, like Virgil Ortiz, Ennis is ready for his moment in the spotlight. What he does once he’s there is anyone’s guess, but if Saturday nights’ performance is any indication, Ennis is a tough out – an exceedingly tough out – for any current welterweight.
For the man not only has that jab, but he also possesses power. His performance against Clayton showcased the fact Ennis can toss a lot behind that jab, especially when it comes to his opponent’s torso. Ennis’ bodywork this past weekend was nearly frightening to behold, each shot seeming to be thrown purposefully and for maximum effect. And, as for finishing power, that really needs no explanation. Ennis’ current record of 29-0 speaks volumes when you consider the fact that all but two of his matches has ended via knockout. Perhaps the only question truly remaining is who will fall next. But that’s something one might say aboard a hype train.