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Rising Star Jaron Ennis Faces Empty Arena in Welterweight

Jaron "Boots" Ennis, the electrifying Philadelphia fighter who has captured attention with his dazzling performances, finds himself in a peculiar position as he ascends to the rank of IBF welterweight champion. Despite his remarkable skills and fighting prowess, the landscape of the welterweight division presents a challenging dilemma: the absence of formidable opposition.

Jaron Ennis

"The welterweight division has kind of become barren," remarked former division champion Paulie Malignaggi during a recent episode of Pro Box TV's "Deep Waters."

In a significant development, Ennis (31-0, 28 KOs) has inked a promotional deal with Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Boxing. Reports emerging this week suggest that the 26-year-old pugilist is slated for a mandatory title defense in the summer against relatively unknown Canadian challenger Cody Crowley (22-0, 9 KOs), with a purse bid scheduled for April 23.

The shifting dynamics of the welterweight landscape have seen top-tier talents like Terence Crawford, Errol Spence Jr., Keith Thurman, and Danny Garcia express interest in moving up to the junior middleweight division. This exodus leaves Ennis and a handful of emerging contenders to carry the torch in the welterweight ranks.

"Jaron Ennis has had to wait his turn. He wasn’t given a shot when the moment was right for him," observed Malignaggi. "Now, he’s sort of in a position where his career’s been mismanaged. He doesn’t really have anywhere to turn to, as far as [receiving] the direct credit he deserves and getting the big fights in his prime."

The challenges confronting Ennis are compounded by the complexities of boxing politics and promotional alignments. Despite his undeniable talent and potential, Ennis has faced barriers to accessing the elite echelons of the sport.

"It’s a shame, but does [Ennis] really have a choice?" questioned Malignaggi. "It must be real frustrating to be Jaron Ennis and his team."

Shawn Porter, another former welterweight champion, echoed these sentiments, likening Ennis' predicament to that of legendary boxer Roy Jones Jr. Porter emphasized the importance of Ennis considering a move to the 154-pound weight class, where he may find more opportunities for significant challenges and recognition.


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