Errol Spence Jr. has a one-track mind for his next fight.
The WBC, WBA, and IBF welterweight champion is intent on finally fighting WBO welterweight titlist Terence Crawford for an undisputed title fight.
On Saturday, rising phenom Jaron Ennis scored a second-round knockout against Custio Clayton in a title eliminator to secure his spot as the No. 1 challenger for Spence’s IBF title.
Spence was sitting ringside soaking in the action at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. to support stablemate Jermell Charlo, who secured his own undisputed champion status by knocking out Brian Castaño.
After his fight, the 24-year-old Ennis (29-0, 27 KOs) officially challenged Spence (28-0, 22 KOs), who’s long-billed himself as the “big fish” of the welterweight division.
“Anybody can get it right now. But I’m the IBF No. 1 contender and I think ‘Mr. Big Fish’ is here himself, so it’s time to go fishing,” Ennis said during his post-fight interview.
Minutes later, Spence had a conversation with Showtime reporter Jim Gray, who asked Spence where Ennis fits into the 147-pound picture.
"He's right there [in the puzzle]. He's right on the edge,” Spence said during the broadcast. “It's just like with me when you had Kell Brook, Shawn Porter, and Keith Thurman and all those guys, I was right on the edge begging for an opportunity, calling guys out. He's doing what he's supposed to do. He's hungry. He's supposed to call me out and call everybody out. You have to be a hungry young lion. The guy he just fought, I don't feel like he was hungry. I don't feel like he wanted to fight. He basically just came here for a check. I believe he didn't do anything. He didn't even try to fight. Ennis can fight, I'm very high on him. He has the right attitude. He has the right team behind him. He's going to go a long way. “
Spence also commented on Ennis trying to bait him in for a bout.
“I heard he said he wanted to reel me in -- you might catch something he doesn't want. Don't go too hard trying to reel me in,” Spence quipped before walking off.
It’s highly unlikely Spence and Ennis will face one another, especially at 147 pounds. Spence has campaigned exclusively in the division ever since turning pro in 2012 and has expressed his desire to move up to 154 pounds once he faces Crawford.
Despite the fact that the upstart Ennis could be a future rival, Spence has regularly dished respect toward the cant-miss prospect.
Last year, Spence proclaimed he liked Ennis because the Philadephia-bred boxer could fight, is flashy, has charisma, and is sharp as hell.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com.