LAS VEGAS – Jaron Ennis is all but resigned to having to become a mandatory challenger for a welterweight title before one of the established 147-pound champions would be willing to fight him.
The emerging phenom from Philadelphia called out Errol Spence Jr., Yordenis Ugas and the winner of the upcoming Terence Crawford-Shawn Porter fight following his first-round knockout of Thomas Dulorme on Saturday night. The high-risk Ennis (28-0, 26 KOs, 1 NC) made sure to mention boxing’s newest, least-known welterweight champion, too.
Moments before Radzhab Butaev arrived at a press conference late Saturday night, the 24-year-old Ennis made it clear he would have no problem whatsoever with signing a contract to battle Butaev for the WBA world 147-pound crown the rugged Russian won from Jamal James in the main event after Ennis dismantled Dulorme (25-6-1, 16 KOs).
“Hopefully,” Ennis replied when asked about boxing Butaev next. “We’ll take that in a heartbeat – anywhere, any time.”
Butaev battered James as their scheduled 12-rounder unfolded at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino’s Michelob ULTRA Arena. The 27-year-old Butaev (14-0, 11 KOs, 1 NC) was ahead on two scorecards through eight rounds (77-74, 77-74, 75-76) when referee Celestino Ruiz stepped between them at 2:12 of the ninth round to prevent James from taking more punishment.
Minneapolis’ James (27-2, 12 KOs) lost inside the distance for the first time in his 11-year pro career.
Ennis saw some of Butaev’s victory from a ringside seat after he dropped Dulorme twice and stopped him in the first round of the co-feature of Showtime’s tripleheader.
“Yeah, I watched a little bit of it,” Ennis said. “Typical, you know, fighter that comes straightforward. Tailor-made for my style. But good fighter. But it looked like Jamal James was drained and couldn’t really do nothing. So, who knows? He a good fighter, but it’s levels. I’m on a whole different level right now. And they know how I’m comin’.”
Butaev didn’t dismiss the possibility of facing Ennis at some point. He said, however, that he expects his next fight to come against the winner of the WBA-mandated bout between Cuba’s Ugas (27-4, 12 KOs), its “super” champion, and Lithuania’s Eimantas Stanionis (13-0, 9 KOs, 1 NC) as part of the WBA’s welterweight tournament.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.