Jaron Ennis doesn’t hide his ambition. The gifted, powerful Philadelphian plans to become the top welterweight on the planet, whether or not he has to beat Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr. to get there.
“Boots” must tend to some important business first, however. He faces unbeaten Custio Clayton on the Jermell Charlo-Brian Castano II card Saturday in Carson, California (Showtime).
Ennis (28-0, 26 KOs) understands that there is no room for slip-ups as he pursues his destiny.
“I’m looking to make a big statement come May 14,” he said. “I’m coming to win in dominating fashion and get the knockout. I’m ready to take over this division.”
He went on: “I’m feeling great. Camp has been going very well and I can’t wait to shine on May 14. I’m ready to rock and roll. We’ve been running a lot more sprints this camp and focusing a little more on conditioning each day, about a half an hour more every session.
“A lot of it are the normal things we do, like the underwater treadmill and chopping wood. We’re just working 10 times harder.”
Ennis had a big 2021, stopping durable Sergey Lipinets in six rounds in April and taking Thomas Dulorme down in less than two minutes in October.
He has knocked out 18 consecutive opponents, not counting a no-contest against Chris van Heerden in December 2020. And he said he expects to continue to improve.
“I feel like I’m getting better at taking my time and being more relaxed in the ring,” he said. “I believe that the better the competition I face, the better I’m going to be. We’ve been working on jabbing more and being even more alert and sharper.”
He plans to demonstrate his progress against Clayton (19-0-1, 12 KOs) on Saturday.
“This fight is everything to me,” he said. “This is a big stage and it’s time for me to shine. From here on out, it’s only getting bigger and better. After I do my thing on May 14, we’re just going to keep going up and up. I’m looking to show everyone everything that I’m capable of. My speed, power, defense, ring IQ and footwork.
“At the end of the night, I’m coming for the knockout. That’s what the fans are coming to see. I’m going to show them what I can do and close the show with a knockout.”
Then comes even bigger and better things.
Of course, no one knows how the 147-pound championship picture will look in the coming months. Spence and Crawford could end up fighting one another to unify all four titles. Ennis would then be a candidate to face the winner, although both Spence and Crawford have talked about moving up to 154.
Ennis’ mission is to be ready for whatever comes.
“It doesn’t matter to me if Spence and Crawford decide to stay in the division and face me,” he said. “I’d love to take the belts away from the champion, but if I have to fight for a vacant belt, I’ll see Spence and Crawford at 154 pounds. They can’t go too far.”
Good, bad, worse: KOs courtesy of Jose Zepeda, Jaron Ennis, Radzhab Butaev
Watch it: Jaron Ennis' awesome display of power
Jaron Ennis takes out Thomas Dulorme in less than two minutes
Jaron Ennis: 'I’m going to be on top for a very long time'