SANTA MONICA, California – Jaron Ennis understands why most established welterweights, particularly champions and former champions, have been reluctant to fight him.
Ennis isn’t braggadocious, just not the type to question their courage. Besides, the emerging welterweight contender from Philadelphia doesn’t believe elite-level champions like Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr. – or even younger contemporaries like Vergil Ortiz Jr. and Conor Benn – are afraid to fight him.
“I mean, you could say that,” Ennis told a group of reporters Wednesday during an open workout at Churchill Boxing Club. “But I feel like ain’t no fighter scared of nobody. I feel like they just make the smart business decisions and what’s best for they career. I mean, eventually I’ll see these guys, whether it’s at ’47 or ’54.”
Ennis will turn 25 on June 26 and has been a pro for six years, yet he has tried to remain patient while awaiting a shot at a 147-pound championship.
Spence (28-0, 22 KOs), who owns the IBF, WBA and WBC welterweight titles, and Crawford (38-0, 29 KOs), the WBO champ, finally appear headed toward their long-discussed showdown later this year. Ennis (28-0, 26 KOs, 1 NC) hopes to fight the Crawford-Spence winner sometime in 2023.
For now, however, he is tasked with facing undefeated Canadian contender Custio Clayton (19-0-1, 12 KOs) in Showtime’s co-feature Saturday night (9 p.m. ET; 6 p.m. PT).
Their 12-round bout will air before IBF/WBA/WBC champ Jermell Charlo (34-1-1, 18 KOs) and WBO champ Brian Castano (17-0-2, 12 KOs) square off in a 12-round, 154-pound title unification rematch at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. His fight with Clayton will mark the start of Ennis’ multi-fight agreement with Showtime, which will televise a 10th straight Ennis fight Saturday night.
Some skeptics have questioned Ennis’ level of opposition, especially because he has been branded boxing’s next, can’t-miss superstar. Ennis has had little choice, though, but to face the types of welterweights who’ve been willing to step into the ring with him.
“Man, I don’t gotta prove nothing to nobody but myself, you know?,” Ennis said. “I ain’t worrying about what nobody saying. None of that stuff bother me. As long as I’m doing my thing and winning and putting myself in position to, you know, win the world title, that’s all that matter. I ain’t worried about what nobody else got to say.”
The powerful, skillful, versatile Ennis reiterated that he is open to fighting any welterweight willing to face him next.
“It don’t matter to me,” Ennis said. “They already know that. Any and everybody. I don’t care who it is. They can line ‘em up and we’ll knock ‘em down – no matter who it is.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.