We can all agree Jaron “Boots” Ennis is pretty good, right? Like, that’s the minimum he is. And we can agree that knockout power hanging over his opponents as if a delayed blast fireball, simply waiting for the moment to detonate — along with his willingness to mix it up and prioritize offense — make him pretty entertaining, let’s assume.
It’s not that either of those things are interesting to talk about, mind you. But those two dynamics, once you move past them, make every fight he has going forward primarily educational toward what might happen when he steps in the ring with anyone even a day’s car trip from his talent level.
And in that regard, his knockout win over Sergey Lipinets Saturday on Showtime was at least somewhat informative. Lipinets has been in against one world-class fighter, Mikey Garcia, one weight division lower at 140 lbs., where he lost a decision in which he didn’t look woefully out of his depths. But Lipinets has proven good enough at welterweight to warrant a top-10 Transnational Boxing Ranking Board enumeration, and thus he constituted, by far, Ennis’ toughest test as a pro.
Here, Lipinets was far, far out of his depths.
It doesn’t make much sense to recount matters round by round. Every round was functionally the same: Ennis was bigger, faster, and simply better in every way, and Lipinets come-forward style was tailor made for Ennis’ all-around game.
The highlights outside of that parameter worth mentioning amount to approximately three developments. In the 4th, Ennis scored a phantom knockdown when Lipinets tripped. In the 6th, a right hand/left uppercut scored the KO; he still hasn’t seen the 7th round in his career. It was vaguely wombo combo-ish, with the right pushing Lipinets forward for the left that propelled him up and backward to leave his consciousness off-screen. When he landed with his elbows on the mat. forming a right angle with his gloves in the sky, the ref had rightly seen enough.
That’s two developments. The third is that Lipinets made flush contact with Ennis a handful of times. That warrants the most discussion. Pros: Ennis took those shots well, suggesting his chin is, at least, solid. It didn’t happen very much at all. He responded with the quality the special fighters do, that is, in kind. And Ennis clearly could avoid getting hit much at all if he really felt like it by being slightly more conservative on offense. His upper body movement is elite, and his feints keep opponents from getting off much.
Con, singular: Lipinets made flush contact with Ennis a handful of times.
Lipinets trainer Joel Goossen wisely scouted Ennis before the fight as such: “The good thing is he’ll fight you. The bad thing is he’ll fight you.”
That’s likely going to be the thing that determines what happens when someone just has to drive down the block from his talent level, the Errol Spences, the Terence Crawfords, the Vergil Ortizes. Is there evidence that he can rein his offense in slightly to win the way he wants? Yes, there is! In this fight, in fact. Ennis’ career is being moved just about perfectly right now, as Lipinets was exactly the kind of opponent he needed, and as much as he’d want one of the aforementioned three men, everybody knows he’s unlikely to get them anytime soon, including Ennis. He’s talked about wanting three more fights this year, and he hasn’t yet established himself as a big paycheck foe for guys at the stage of Spence or Crawford, anyway. Crawford and Ortiz probably aren’t viable options with different promoters, and if Spence goes in with anyone dangerous, it’ll be for a better payday than Ennis can offer yet.
Ennis expects that Spence and Crawford will move up to junior middleweight before long. Maybe. If anyone looks more made for junior middleweight it’s Ennis, actually, who’s as tall as Spence and very broad of shoulder. Until the day Ennis faces a fellow elite talent, in whatever division, he’ll make for excellent study.
On the undercard:
- Fellow welterweight blue chipper Eimantas Stanionis didn’t excel like Ennis in his own toughest career test to date against Thomas Dulorme, a prospect turned gatekeeper. It was a tough decision win as Stanionis wore down a quick-starting Dulorme, who, admittedly, probably posed a more difficult style matchup than Lipinets did for Ennis.
- It’d be hard to find a more brutal junior bantamweight wince-inducer than Jerwin Ancajas’ decision win over Jonathan Rodriguez. It also would be hard to find shittier scorecards than 116-111 or 117-110 (115-112 was OK), except of course this is boxing and nevermind, there will be one just around the corner or even just was.
(“Philly’s @JaronEnnis ringing in fight week with the home team @sixers.” Via)