Proof matters.

Regardless of how someone looks, live or on tape; regardless of their speed, reflexes, or power; until a fighter gets someone in front of them they know can fight back, they know can beat them if they’re off their game, proof is lacking. In an era where winning titles in multiple classes can become subject to mockery because of how easy it is to manipulate achievements with the right teams and matchmaking, proof still comes in the ring.

Jaron Ennis looks like a potentially elite prizefighter. He checks a lot of boxes in terms of eye tests. He also checks a box in terms of throwback handling. Ennis is a still young fighter whose activity suggests a career possibility of fifty to sixty starts. Like Vergil Ortiz a few weeks ago against a solid veteran in Maurice Hooker, Ennis’s team also isn’t being shy about his matchmaking. They’re ready to make a move.

Sergey Lipinets is the sort of obstacle a potential elite should handle but also one with the skill and experience to highlight how far Ennis is from a finished product. More than that, Lipinets is capable of winning.

In a division that is almost never not stacked, and which today hosts as its primary titlists two of arguably the best 4-5 prizefighters alive (Errol Spence and Terence Crawford), a clash of contenders hoping to get to one of them is worth getting excited about and Showtime has a good one on tap this Saturday (9 PM EST). 

Let’s get into it. 

Stats and Stakes

Sergey Lipinets

Age: 32

Title: None

Previous Titles: IBF Jr. welterweight (2017-18) 

Height: 5’7  

Weight: 146 ¾ lbs.

Stance: Orthodox

Hails from: Martuk, Kazakhstan

Record: 16-1-1, 12 KO

Press Rankings: #9 (TBRB, Ring), #10 (ESPN)

Record in Major Title Fights: 1-1 (2-1 including interim title fights) 

Last Five Opponents: 128-11-1 (.918)

Notable Outcomes, TBRB/Ring Rated Foes: Mikey Garcia L12

Additional Results, Current/Former Champions/Titlists Faced: Lamont Peterson TKO10


Jaron Ennis

Age: 23

Title/Previous Titles: None

Height: 5’10 

Weight: 146 ¼ lbs.

Stance: Orthodox

Hails from: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Record: 26-0, 23 KO

Press Rankings: #10 (TBRB)

Record in Major Title Fights: 0-0 

Last Five Opponents: 100-14-4 (.864)

Notable Outcomes, TBRB/Ring Rated Foes: None

Additional Results, Current/Former Champions/Titlists Faced: None

The Pick: Lipinets enters off a tough night in a draw against undefeated Custio Clayton and needs to win now. The Kazakh has serious experience having come off the floor in giving Mikey Garcia a very good fight in his lone loss and gritting through a memorable war to retire Lamont Peterson. Lipinets isn’t as tall, long, or quick as Ennis. Lipinets will rely on a dependable chin, timing, and heavy hands. If the fight stays at closer quarters more often than not, Lipinets will have opportunities to chip away and make it a long night.

Ennis was seeming to be set up for a showcase in his last outing but a clash of heads never let things get started with veteran Chris Van Heerden. Showtime is invested in his upside and the thinking is he delivers here. Ennis has several inches of height and reach on Lipinets, both of which should allow him to keep Lipinets outside and on the end of Ennis’s punches. Some proof will be there by the end of the night. While the centerpiece battle at welterweight remains Spence-Crawford, Ennis could have fans wondering if he’s ready to take them both with a late stoppage here.  

Additional Weekend Pick

Joe Smith TKO Maxim Vlasov 

Rold Picks 2021: 17-3

Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, a member of the International Boxing Research Organization, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at