By Lem Satterfield
Jaron Ennis has done nothing to disappoint since being signed as an amateur by promoter Chris Middendorf.
A switch-hitting legacy and 2015 national Golden Gloves champion nicknamed, “Boots,” Ennis was 3-0 after successive stoppages in 42-, 23- and 20-seconds in April, May and June 2016 against Cory Muldrew, Luis Ramos and DeShawn Debose.
Ennis went 8-0 with seven knockouts in 2016, 9-0 with eight in 2017, and he’s 5-0, all knockouts, this year, bringing his record to 22-0 with 20 knockouts as a welterweight.
He has gone as far as four rounds seven times and six, once, his route-going victories being four- and six-round unanimous decisions over Eddie Diaz (September 2016) and James Winchester (March 2017).
"The plan has always been to fight as often as possible. It helps me stay sharp and I believe I've gotten better from it,” said Ennis, 21, during a recent interview with BoxingScene.com. "If there are things that I've improved on, it is sitting down more on my punches. I'm also a lot more clam and relaxed in the ring.”
Ennis has scored nine knockdowns in seven rounds over his past three fights comprised of a two-knockdown second-round TKO of former contender Mike Arnaoutis (June), four more during a third round TKO of Armando Alvarez (July) and three during a second-round KO of Raymon Serrano in his last on November 16.
The 6-foot-1 Alvarez was 18-0 with 12 knockouts and stoppages in six of his previous seven fights before being dismantled by Ennis, a 5-foot-10 talent with a 74-inch reach and an amalgam of speed, double-fisted power and finishing skills.
Ennis dazzled fans, yet again, at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia against Serrano, the Philly native’s 12th straight stoppage. In succession, Ennis floored “Tito” Serrano with a right hook to the temple out of the southpaw stance, a right hand while orthodox, and, finally, a hybrid-uppercut, right hand along the ropes.
“The one thing about Jaron that’s so amazing is that he doesn’t have his man strength yet. Jaron has great defense, he switches beautifully," said Middendorf of Ennis, the youngest of three siblings all coached by their father.
“The reason we moved him along so quickly were his innate abilities. Jaron knows how to fight, he’s an entire integrated package. For Jaron to have all of those abilities as a 21-year-old, that’s just phenomenal. The issue was just getting the wins to get him up there."
Ennis’ corner man is his father, Boxy, who also trained older siblings, Derek Jr. and Farah. Boxy’s also Ennis' co-manager with Cameron Dunkin, who has guided past world champion such as Hall of Famer Mark “Too Sharp” Johnson, Timothy Bradley Jr., Johnny Tapia, Diego Corrales, Kelly Pavlik, Brandon Rios, Danny Romero and Stevie Johnston.
“They have a wonderful family with a magical combination of things. Their mother is absolutely into keeping everyone’s heads straight and in the right place, thinking about God and family and things that are the most important," said Middendorf.
“We have to decide over the next couple of weeks what’s next, and who he’s going to fight. We’ve been held back somewhat on the opponents because who wants to fight a 21-year-old kid in his home town who has all of this buzz about him?”
But t won’t be long before Ennis steps up his resume in a deep and talented 147-pound division whose world champions are southpaw Errol Spence (IBF), Keith Thurman (WBA), Shawn Porter (WBC) and switch-hitting Terence Crawford (WBO).
The welterweight landscape offers plenty to choose from with two-division champion Danny Garcia, two-time titleholder Andre Berto, former titlists Amir Khan, Devon Alexander, Victor Ortiz and Luis Collazo, title challenger Jose Benavidez and contenders Yordenis Ugas and Jamal James.
“When you’re a boxer from Philly, it means you have to put on a show. I love fighting at home, that’s the best feeling ever...I just feel at home. I feel comfortable and relaxed," said Ennis, prior to defeating Serrano.
“My goal is to be world champ...I want to unify, get all the belts, move up in weight and keep going, and keep going. Watch out all 147’s. A young animal is on the way."