Jaron Ennis watched his brothers, Derek and Farah fight in Philadelphia as a kid.
He still remembers the atmosphere, and how much he wanted to make it his own.
The undefeated Germantown native takes on Raymond Serrano on Friday in a battle between Philadelphia welterweights. The schedule 10-round fight headlines a three-bout Showtime event at 2300 Arena starting at 9:30, and it's expected to be the toughest bout of Ennis' career.
But Ennis (21-0, 19 knockouts) doesn't see it that way, saying a fight he won unanimously, 60-53, was his toughest.
"It's not the biggest test of my career. I feel like I haven't had a test yet," Ennis said. "The toughest test was my 10th fight, when I fought a guy, Jamie Winchester (20-13, 8 KOs). He was the toughest test I've had as a pro, and I still dropped him."
Ennis, 21, has heard previous fights labeled his first big test. Most recently in July, in his first televised match, he handed Armando Alvarez his first career loss by way of a third-round knockout at WinnaVegas Casino in Sloan, Iowa.
Ennis managed four knockdowns in three rounds.
He had moments of showmanship, wearing shorts with pink and blue fringe and playing the crowd while dodging punches.
"My only criticism at all … was that he played around a little bit," promoter Chris Middendorf told Philly.com in October. "The fights are going to get tougher — he's going to be pushed to go the distance. … He's not going to have time to play any games."
But Ennis doesn't have plans of changing his style in the ring. He likes to keep it light. He got two custom mouthpieces made for the fight, green and purple to resemble the Incredible Hulk.
On his shorts, he has "something special" cooked up, but he's keeping it a secret until fight night.
"I just go out there and have fun and do what I gotta do to get the win," Ennis said. "It's how I am in all my fights, I go out there and have fun."
Now, Serrano (24-5, 10 KOs) is the one expected to challenge Ennis.
For Ennis, fighting in his hometown for the most anticipated fight of his career has special meaning.
"I always feel more comfortable and relaxed," Ennis said of fighting at home. "It's a big fight for Philly. I'm ready to show my talents once again."
Ennis trains with his dad, Derek Sr., who led Jaron's older brothers Derek (24-5-1 13 KOs) and Farah (22-2 12 KOs) to solid careers before both retired.
But Jaron Ennis has goals to carry on the family name in the ring, with his dad in his corner.
"I would never fight without my dad," Ennis said. "He knows what's best for me and he tells me what to do and what not to do.
"[My brothers] tell me to stay focused and do me, and always stay in shape," Ennis added.
The telecast will open with Arnold Khegai (13-0-1 9 KOs) fighting Jorge Diaz (19-5-1, 10 KOs) in a super-bantamweight fight. They'll be followed by super-lightweights Samuel Teah (14-2-1, 7 KOs), a Philadelphian, against Kenneth Sims Jr. (13-1, 4 KOs). Both fights are scheduled for eight rounds.