Thursday, July 11, 2024

The Homecoming For Jaron Ennis: A Dangerous Test?

There has been much attention recently surrounding undefeated IBF Welterweight world champion Jaron Ennis, known to Boxing fans as “Boots." Ennis, who is unbeaten in thirty-one professional fights, was the last signee to the now-defunct Showtime Sports and made a name for himself competing in fights promoted under the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) group of promoters. With Showtime’s exit from Boxing at the end of last year as part of a significant restructuring of its parent company Paramount Global and a decision by Ennis to not continue fighting under the PBC banner, in stepped promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing and thus the beginning of a new chapter in Ennis’ career. A chapter that not only begins with him signing with a new promoter but also a world championship after recently being elevated to world champion by the International Boxing Federation (IBF) from being it's top contender following former Undisputed Welterweight world champion Terrence Crawford choosing to test the waters in the Jr. Middleweight division for his next fight.

While Crawford is moving up to the 154lb. Jr. Middleweight division, his exit from the 147lb. Welterweight division has signaled a period of transition, which is very similar to what has been going on recently in the Jr. Welterweight and Lightweight divisions, the two weight classes directly below the Welterweight division. With the recent theme continuing to be “Transition," the obvious question is whether Ennis will be able to make a strong argument for himself as being the new central figure in the Welterweight division.

The first defense for Ennis of his IBF crown will come at the Wells Fargo Center in the champion’s hometown of Philadelphia, PA on Saturday, July 13th, which will also mark his debut on digital subscription sports streaming network DAZN. As there always seems to be in Boxing, things are not always simple and straightforward. Ennis was originally scheduled to face contender Cody Crowley in this title defense, but Crowley was forced to withdraw from the bout due to a failed eye exam. In steps former European Welterweight champion and recent world title challenger David Avanesyan on short notice for his second attempt at a world title.

Some may argue that Avanesyan stepping in makes this fight a more dangerous assignment for the newly crowned world champion. In addition to being a former European Welterweight champion, Avanesyan is a longtime top contender, who also had Interim/Regular champion status in the WBA’s Welterweight ratings at one point in his career. Avanesyan has only been stopped twice in his thirty-five fight professional career. Many will remember his last loss, which came at the hands of Terence Crawford in December 2022. It was a fight that was competitive until Crawford landed a fight-ending uppercut in the sixth round. 

While a one-punch knockout will always be a one-punch knockout and as such will always make heads turn, it is important to keep in mind that just because a fighter may be knocked out by a single punch, it does not necessarily mean that said fighter is susceptible to being caught. More simplistically, sometimes fights that end in the manner in which Avanesyan’s title shot against Crawford did, should be viewed on a case-by-case basis. It also goes without saying that Terence Crawford has proven throughout his career to be a rare generational fighter in terms of talent and overall skillset. The question here is whether Jaron Ennis has similar traits.

Although one should not look to Crawford’s knockout of Avanesyan as a baseline to compare what Ennis might be able to do, there is nevertheless some who might expect a similar outcome here based on Ennis’ punching power in having scored knockouts in twenty-eight of his thirty-one professional fights. What one should keep in mind, however, is David Avanesyan is a world-class boxer, who can do a little of everything and has shown the ability to be very crafty throughout his career as well. The challenger has been back in the ring once since his loss to Crawford in scoring a third round stoppage of Serge Ambomo in December of last year. 

While the circumstances of this bout are not ideal for either fighter, the challenge for Avanesyan will be not only stepping into his second world title shot on short notice, but also doing so in the champion’s hometown before what will likely be a partisan crowd. Whether Avanesyan will be able to use his experience to withstand what might be an early storm by Ennis in terms of throwing power punches in an attempt to look impressive in front of his hometown crowd remains to be seen. 

Nonetheless, the new chapter for Ennis will begin with what should be an interesting fight. With Crawford now moving on from Welterweight, the angling for position among the top fighters in the division, those who are world champions, top contenders, and would be world champions has begun. Can Jaron Ennis emerge as the new central figure in the Welterweight division? We will find out on Saturday, July 13th.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

Ennis vs. Avanesyan takes place on Saturday, July 13th at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. The fight as well as its full undercard can be seen globally on digital subscription sports streaming network DAZN beginning at 8PM ET/5PM PT.

(*U.S. Times Only*) 

(*Card and Start time Subject to Change.*)

For more information about DAZN including schedules, list of compatible streaming devices, platforms, Smart TVs, availability around the world, local start times in your area, and to subscribe please visit:

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