Look Out Spence And Crawford: Could 2023 Be The Year Of Jaron 'Boots' Ennis?

The two-horse race at welterweight could be about to become a triple threat
10:48, 02 Jan 2023

Jaron Ennis returns to the ring on Saturday 7th January, ready to kick off what could be the defining year of his career. The man they call ‘Boots’ will be facing Karen Chukhadzhian for the interim IBF world welterweight championship. The Germany-based Ukrainian is not expected to pose him too much trouble, while the bauble on the line is not the glitziest of belts. But the Chukhadzhian fight could be the first step of something truly special.


Ennis has a chance to become the third man in a two-horse race at welterweight. Errol Spence Jr and Terence Crawford hold all four major titles between them. If ‘Boots’ wins the interim IBF strap, it won’t put him on the same level. But it will give him a key to the 147lb executive lounge. Winning this spurious belt against Chukhadzhian would put Ennis on a collision course with Spence.

Fears continue to grow that we will never see Spence and Crawford face each other. Spence vs Ennis is one of the few welterweight consolation prizes that actually feels worthwhile. While the 25-year-old would be giving up the edge in championship experience, his 27 knockouts from 29 wins suggest he would enjoy the power advantage. It would be a true crossroads fight that would bring the best out of both men. One trying to reach a new level, the other trying to maintain his place atop the welterweight tree.

Not only could Ennis’ presence provide an intriguing alternative proposition for Spence, but it could blow the division wide open. Right now we are stuck in a deadlock. Alternative fights for our big two are generating little interest compared to the consistently-denied main course. Crawford’s six-round destruction of David Avanesyan barely moved the needle. But what if ‘Bud’ faced off with Ennis? The destructive streak of ‘Boots’ does call to mind a young Crawford at times. What if the welterweight class’ future met its present? 

Of course the dream scenario remains a clash between Crawford and Spence. The two best welterweights since Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao hung up their professional gloves, it would be the definition of a superfight. ‘Boots’ facing the winner of such a clash would seem to make the most sense. But boxing is rarely ever simple, which is why Ennis could be figuring in world title fights very soon indeed.

What the emergence of ‘Ennis’ as a genuine contender provides is a shot in the arm for the whole welterweight division. A marketable, young, knockout-happy contender is exactly what we need to liven things up. Spence and Crawford have kept the division in stasis for long enough. If they won’t fight each other, they can fight the next emerging star. That man’s name is Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis. The Philadelphia-born contender might be just what welterweight boxing needs.

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