Welterweight contender Jaron Ennis comes across as soft spoken and humble, a man of few words. Then the opening bell rings.
“That’s how I am in real life,” the gifted 24-year-old from Philadelphia told Boxing Junkie on Wednesday. “I’m just chill, laid back. I don’t say too much. Once I get in the ring, though, I’m dangerous.”
To say the least.
Ennis (27-0, 25 KOs) is one of the most skillful young boxers in the world, on par with the likes of Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson. On top of that, he’s a 147-pound version of Deontay Wilder in terms of his ability to turn anyone’s lights out: He’s riding a streak of 17 consecutive knockouts at the moment.
That combination of ability and power might be unrivaled in the sport. The only thing left to do? Prove it on the highest level.
Ennis has recorded some significant victories, including a brutal sixth-round knockout of highly regarded Sergey Lipinets in April. And he’ll face another test on the Jamal James-Radzhab Butaev Showtime card on Oct. 30, when he’ll tangle with veteran Thomas Dulorme.
However, “Boots” has set his sights much higher than that. He envisions himself as a world titleholder next year and ultimately as an undisputed champion in multiple divisions.
All he needs is a chance.
“I’m just sitting here, getting better and better,” he said. “Then, when my time comes, I’ll be on point. I’ll be ready to rock and roll. Once I get my foot in the door I’ll have one of those belts and everyone’s attention.
“… I know once I get my opportunity, it’s over. I’m going to be on top for a very long time.”
Ennis said he isn’t looking past Dulorme (25-5-1, 16 KOs), a former title challenger who was competitive in a loss to hot prospect Eimantas Stanionis in his most recent fight. He simply believes he’s a level above the 31-year-old Puerto Rican and “locked in, super hungry,” he said.
If things go well in the fight, he hopes his opportunity to fight for a major title will come next.
On one hand, that makes sense. He’s ranked in the Top 6 by all four major sanctioning bodies. He can smell a title shot. On the other hand, the beltholders probably view him as a big risk with too little to gain given his relative lack of star power.
Thus, he might have to patiently continue to win, move up the rankings toward mandatory status and build his name to a point where the Errol Spences and Terence Crawfords and Yordenis Ugases have no choice but to fight him.
Ennis was asked whether the waiting process is difficult for him and said it wasn’t, although he does seem antsy. Imagine having rare ability but not the platform to show it to the world.
Another young star, Teofimo Lopez, was fortunate. He received the opportunity to fight former pound-for-pound king Vasiliy Lomachenko at 23 years old and beat him to become undisputed lightweight champion. A star was born that night.
That’s OK with Ennis. He knows that type of opportunity will come.
“I feel like everybody has a different route to winning a world championship,” he said. “Mine might take longer because I’m going to be on top forever.”