Jaron Ennis doesn’t know which welterweights other than Custio Clayton will express legitimate interest in fighting him later this year.
The gifted Philadelphia native does, however, have a firm commitment from a network. BoxingScene.com has learned that Ennis has agreed to a multi-fight contract with Showtime, which could televise as many as three of Ennis’ bouts before the end of 2022.
The undefeated Ennis, 24, will encounter Clayton in his first fight of this calendar year May 14 at a site to be determined. Their 12-round IBF elimination match will be Showtime’s co-feature before a main event in which IBF/WBA/WBC champ Jermell Charlo and WBO champ Brian Castano will meet in a full 154-pound title unification fight, a rematch of their split draw July 17 in San Antonio.
Ennis (28-0, 26 KOs, 1 NC) isn’t a world champion, but he is commonly considered one of the most talented boxers in the sport. He has had difficulty landing the types of meaningful welterweight fights he wants in part because he isn’t affiliated with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions.
Welterweight champions Errol Spence Jr. (IBF, WBC), Yordenis Ugas (WBA “super”) and Radzhab Butaev (WBA world) all work with Haymon.
Ennis’ new deal with Showtime does not tie him contractually to PBC, but he will continue competing on PBC shows as part of Haymon’s four-year agreement with that premium cable network. Each of Ennis’ past two impressive victories have come, though, against PBC-affiliated fighters in Sergey Lipinets and Thomas Dulorme.
Showtime has televised each of Ennis’ past nine fights. Ennis most recently dropped Dulorme (25-6-1, 16 KOs) twice in the first round and knocked him out just 1:49 into their scheduled 10-round bout October 30 at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino’s Michelob ULTRA Arena.
In Clayton (19-0-1, 12 KOs), Ennis will face an undefeated Canadian contender who fought to a 12-round majority draw with Lipinets in October 2020 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. Ennis battered Kazakhstan’s Lipinets (16-2-1, 12 KOs) until their 12-rounder was mercifully stopped in the sixth round April 10 at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Ottawa’s Clayton, 34, has fought just once since his closely contested fight with Lipinets. Clayton comfortably out-pointed journeyman Cameron Krael (18-21-3, 5 KOs) in their 10-rounder December 11 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.