Jaron “Boots” Ennis believes boxing hasn’t seen his full potential, and that’s a scary thing.
His latest bout against former champion Sergey Lipinets wasn’t supposed to be easy, but Ennis put on a show with his sixth-round knockout on April 10 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. He also declared that it wasn’t his toughest fight despitebeing heralded as such.
“I thought this guy was going to bring a different side out of me so I could show my full potential [and] my full skills,” Ennis said. “I feel like I didn’t have to go in my bag for this fight. It was just a regular fight.”
It was Ennis’ first main event Showtime contest, and the stars tuned in. Philadelphia’s Gillie Da Kid, NBA star Damian Lillard, and rap icon LL Cool J were among those who showed love to the rising 23-year old welterweight.
Most importantly for Ennis (27-0, 25 KOs), the top boxers are taking notice.
Gillie Da Kid was on a FaceTime call with Dallas recording artist Yella Beezy. Ennis was with Gillie Da Kid, and WBC/IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence was in the background on Yella Beezy’s phone screen.
Spence didn’t say much, but he declared one thing.
“Puppies can’t talk s— to no big dogs,” Spence said to Ennis.
Ennis responded by saying that Spence hasn’t seen his whole arsenal. Then Spence said Ennis’s time is coming.
“You could tell that he wasn’t really trying to engage into it,” Ennis said.
Winning won’t likely continue to be this easy for Ennis. If you take away the no-decision against Chris van Heerden in December, Ennis has knocked out 17 straight opponents. He’s yet to go seven rounds in a professional fight.
According to CompuBox, Ennis landed 91-of-172 power punches (52.9%). Lipinets (16-2-1, 12 KOs) connected on 75-of-266 total punches (28.2%).
“That just showed me the level I’m at because [Lipinets] is at a top level,” Ennis said. “That showed me that I’m beyond his level because it was kind of easy for me. It was kind of like I was boxing ... a little kid.”
The 147-pound division is stacked with a half-dozen contenders on the cusp of title shots against Spence and the two other champions, Manny Pacquiao (WBA) and Terence Crawford (WBO).
Ennis has entered the conversation with the likes of Danny Garcia, Yordenis Ugas, Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman, and Mikey Garcia, who also fought Lipinets. Garcia won via unanimous decision in 12 rounds, so if you’re comparing performances, Ennis was more dominant.
Considering the uphill climb he’s taken, another fight or two might be in store before a title shot. Ennis is hoping to fight in July or August to give himself a chance to fight three times this year. The hope is that it’s against “big names” or “top-five guys,” he said.
Ring Magazine has Ennis ranked as the No. 8 welterweight in the world. He’s seventh and ninth in the WBO and IBF rankings, respectively.
“Like I said before, this is my year. This is my time,” Ennis said. “This is the year that I’m going to be a big superstar and be able to be a pay-per-view superstar next year.”
It’s easy to make general assumptions about a young boxer’s career path. One is that they need more time to refine their skills. While there’s always room to grow, Ennis showed against Lipinets and other boxers that he can fight from different stances and be equally as effective while also showcasing excellent defensive skills.
Even with what Ennis has shown, he’s adamant that there’s an attack that he hasn’t needed to show.
“I can’t let the cat out the bag,” Ennis said. “The world is going to see. Whatever an opponent thinks he’s good at, I can take it away from him and do it better than him.”