Jaron Ennis was puzzled when he heard Terence Crawford state on Instagram Live recently that he would’ve fought Ennis next, but Ennis’ name “never came up.”
Ennis respects Crawford’s accomplishments and the three-division champion’s capabilities as one of the best boxers, pound-for-pound, in the sport. Crawford’s explanation still doesn’t make any sense to the undefeated Philadelphia native whose handlers have had difficulty securing fights against welterweight champions or top contenders.
“I don’t know how my name didn’t come up because I’m ranked higher than the guy he’s fighting,” Ennis told BoxingScene.com. “I don’t know what he’s saying, but we love that fight. We’ve been asking for it, so I’m ready. I’ve been ready.”
Ennis (29-0, 27 KOs, 1 NC) is the WBO’s second-ranked contender for Crawford’s 147-pound championship. David Avanesyan (29-3-1, 17 KOs), who will challenge Crawford on Saturday night in Crawford’s hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, is ranked sixth among the WBO’s welterweight contenders.
Vergil Ortiz Jr. (19-0, 19 KOs) is ranked number one by the WBO and is the mandatory challenger for the WBO belt Crawford (38-0, 29 KOs) has held since June 2018.
If the heavily favored Crawford defeats Russia’s Avanesyan, Ennis expects that Crawford will have to fight Ortiz or him if he doesn’t re-engage in negotiations with Al Haymon for his ill-fated fight against Errol Spence Jr., who owns the IBF, WBA and WBC championships.
“If he ain’t got nobody else to fight, he gonna have to fight me or one of these other young, hungry people,” Ennis said. “Who else is he gonna fight? What is he gonna stay at 147 and fight Keith Thurman? Or somebody else, like Ugas? There’s nobody else there. There’s only young, hungry lions. Unless he’s gonna move up.”
The 35-year-old Crawford could move up to the junior middleweight limit of 154 pounds after facing Avanesyan. If he gives up his welterweight title to compete in that division, though, he will still have to deal with Haymon to get a title shot because Jermell Charlo (34-1-1, 19 KOs), the fully unified 154-pound champion, also is affiliated with Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions.
The 25-year-old Ennis, meanwhile, is preparing for his bout against unknown Ukrainian contender Karen Chukhadzhian in a Showtime Pay-Per-View co-feature January 7 at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.
Ennis is the IBF’s number one contender and Chukhadzhian (21-1, 11 KOs) is ranked fourth. Ennis would prefer to fight Spence next, but he hasn’t been able to land that title shot, thus the IBF sanctioned Ennis-Chukhadzhian for its interim welterweight title.
“I think people understand that it’s not my fault,” Ennis said. “Everybody know that I’m calling everybody out and everybody know I wanna fight these guys. I just know that 2023 is gonna be my time to be a world champion.”
Crawford and Avanesyan, meanwhile, will headline a BLK Prime pay-per-view show from CHI Health Center in Omaha. Most handicappers have made Crawford at least a 14-1 favorite versus Avanesyan in advance of the main event of a five-fight telecast ($39.99; 9 p.m. ET; 6 p.m. PT).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.
ADD COMMENT VIEW COMMENTS (44)