Jaron Ennis’ boxing matches are about checking boxes at the moment.
To garner a championship bout, Ennis is pitting himself against former competitors of elite welterweights. He fought Sergey Lipinets, who took Mikey Garcia the distance. Before that it was Chris van Heerden, who was knocked out in the eighth round against Errol Spence Jr.
Next up is Thomas Dulorme, who has lost to Terence Crawford, Yordenis Ugas, and Jamal James.
“I feel great,” Ennis said. “I’m locked in, focused, ready to put on another beautiful performance and get another highlight knockout.”
Ennis (27-0, 25 KOs) and Dulorme (25-5-1, 16 KOs) will meet at 10 p.m. Saturday on Showtime in a 10-round welterweight co-main event at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. The fight was originally scheduled for December before Dulorme’s positive COVID-19 test canceled the bout. James will face Radzhab Butaev in the other headline fight.
On April 10, while prepping in the locker room for his match against Lipinets, Ennis got a look at Dulorme, who fought Eimantas Stanionis on the same card. Dulorme lost a 12-round unanimous decision, but he started off sharp before Stanionis took control.
“He did good with that guy, but I’m not that guy,” Ennis said. “I’m a whole different animal.”
Camp has been business as usual for Ennis, a Philadelphian who sparred three or four 12-round sessions over the last six weeks. He’s using the jab more in workouts and the power is as strong as ever.
There was a time when finding an opponent for Boots was harder than eating a cheap steak. To get in the ring and face that power is a business decision. His father, Derrick “Bozy” Ennis, doubles his body armor when Boots is practicing body shots.
At a recent workout, Ennis, 24, took his time through most practice rounds but unloaded combinations in the final 15 seconds that sounded like a drummer at a rock concert. With his father up against the ropes, Ennis swung so hard and fast that sweat flew from his body and scattered like raindrops as it landed outside the ring.
Viewers looked on with smirks and laughter, in amazement of the power and speed. Bozy didn’t get the jokes. The Pennsylvania Boxing Hall of Fame trainer was being dealt the punishment, so he asked the onlookers if they wanted to put the pads on and take those shots.
“Oh, he’s strong,” Bozy Ennis said.
How Ennis’ power matches up against the 31-year-old Dulorme is the big question for Saturday. Of the three previously mentioned top welterweights Dulorme faced, only Crawford stopped him. He gave James all he could handle and he knocked Ugas down in Round 7 of their closely fought battle.
Ennis hasn’t faced the type of adversity that Dulorme gave the latter two fighters. It hasn’t mattered who the opponent was for Ennis because he has knocked almost all of them out. Ennis fought Juan Carlos Abreu in September 2020. Abreu went the distance with James and was known as a guy who was never knocked out in 29 career fights. Ennis knocked Abreu down once in the fifth round and twice in the sixth as that streak ended.
“With me, I don’t look for the knockout,” Ennis said. “I go in there and have fun and just let it come to me.”
If you take away the first-round no-decision against van Heerden, Ennis has stopped 17 consecutive boxers. With all of those stoppages, the one thing missing on Ennis’ resume is a long fight. People don’t know how he’ll fare as the rounds get late. Would he have the same power? Would his defense be as sharp?
The best indicator is his practice habits. Ennis shows no signs of slowing down in those 12-round training sessions as he sweats like someone who just jumped out of a pool.
“He can go those rounds,” Bozy Ennis said. “We just ain’t had somebody to push him to go those rounds.”
“People don’t understand that I get stronger as the rounds go on,” Boots Ennis said. “I’m in shape for anything and anybody.”
A case can be made that Dulorme will be Ennis’ best test yet. Lipinets would have a strong argument, but where Dulorme has the advantage is having fought three top-10 guys at 147 pounds.
Ennis has been told that if everything goes well, he should get a championship shot next year.
“I want top guys but at the end of the day, I have to stay busy, too,” Ennis said. “Dulorme is in my way, and he’s got to go.”