Undefeated Welterweight Jaron Ennis’ 16th straight KO, a 6-round beat down of Juan Carlo Abreu, signals “the show” is over – 2021 is all business
I was playin’ in the beginning, the mood all changed. – “Lose Yourself” (Eminem)
Ever since Showtime Boxing introduced Welterweight sensation Jaron “Boots” Ennis to boxing fans the switch-hitting prodigy’s entertainment value has been a major headline of the 23-year old’s unfolding story. In his debut on the network, a July 2018 ShoBox: The New Generation card, Ennis quickly started dismantling 18-0 Armando Alvarez. At the end of the second round Ennis started embarrassing Alvarez.
This writer thought he was seeing Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s second “Answer” in action. Amid a vicious body attack, Ennis (26-0, 24 KOs) mixed in his brand of flare and fun as he dropped Alvarez four times during the TKO3 win.
Four months later, in November, Ennis showcased his talents on another Friday night ShoBox. He ran over Raymond Serrano in two fast-paced rounds. In October of 2019 and January of 2020 he stopped both Demian Fernandez and Bakhtiyar Eyubov before the end of the fourth round. The stoppages were one-sided, but Ennis stood 4 inches taller than both men, and he benefited from obvious athletic advantages versus both opponents.
Last night Ennis lit up Showtime’s Covid-19 related residency at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. He stood eye-to-eye with Juan Carlos Abreu, a rugged 5-foot 10 1/2-inch 33-year old from the Dominican Republic. In addition to being the same height, Abreu (23-6-1, 21 KOs) hadn’t ever been stopped inside the distance of his previous 29 fights. He also failed to make the 147-pound max weight limit.
Ennis opened the fight in a similar fashion to his fast start against Alvarez in 2018 in Sloan, Iowa. Abreu struggled to get started offensively, and when he did in round three a sense of desperation started surfacing in rounds four and five. Early in the fifth round a low blow by Ennis went without warning from referee Johnny Callas, or a timeout for Abreu to recover. The Dominican grimaced and turned away after receiving the blow, thinking he was about to receive a break.
The action continued on with Ennis only being told to watch his punches. In the ensuing exchange Abreu addressed the accidental foul with an intentional low blow of his own. Ennis was finally confronted with some adversity. But not for long.
Unbeknownst to Abreu prior to the start of the fifth round, father and trainer Bozy Ennis had already gotten serious with his son during the break. “Listen… (mimicking Ennis’ flashy movement) put them punches together and stop playing.”
Following Callas’ stern warning to Abreu (at just under 2:00), young Ennis’ approach became more direct. He started strafing the 33-year old with a punishing barrage of power punches. With :21 left to go Abreu lunged forward with a punch, and while on his heels, Ennis slipped the shot and connected with a right uppercut to the Dominican’s chin.
Abreu stumbled forward after the punch and tumbled down to the canvas. Amazingly he beat the count, and went on to survive the round’s final seconds. Before heading to his corner after the bell, he yelled “Fuck you!” at Boots and reared back to throw a right hand after a quick stare down.
Ennis alertly got in his stance, but quickly realized Callas and another official had Abreu restrained. Anything he would have thought to do at that moment, he could do without fear of disqualification and possible suspension after the bell to start the sixth round. And Ennis did exactly that.
Both men fiercely fired away with powerful punches in the opening seconds of round six. Ennis shoved Abreu to get the space he desired and punched with controlled ferocity. At 2:44 Abreu fully loaded up his right hand and then recklessly walked into a right hook that knocked him backwards, and then down to the canvas for a second time.
Abreu laid on his back staring upwards with his chest rising and falling with deep inhales before getting up to continue fighting. He immediately walked to Ennis fully committed to an apparent blaze of glory scenario – a moment he vowed to create during the media availability on Thursday. Ennis outmaneuvered him along the ropes, turned him to set up a final flurry that sent Abreu down for a third and final time.
Ennis showed he can do everything needed as he works his way towards world champion status. He even handled some body work and wild shots to his head from Abreu. He is skilled enough to box, and war-ready to battle if necessary. And he extended his streak of KOs to 16 against a fighter who had only been dropped four times in 30 previous bouts.
Aware of his accomplishment Ennis laid out his plans for 2021.
“I know he’s fought some tough guys in the past. Compare what I did to what they did. It shows the different skill level and attributes that I have. I made a statement tonight and stopped someone who’s never been stopped. Bring on the top 10 and top five guys or title eliminators. I’m coming for the championship next year.”
Now that we’ve all enjoyed the show, all that’s needed is the type of marquee bouts that can confirm everything about Ennis that, to this point, has only been described as potential. However, we all know special when we see it.
This world is mine for the taking, make me king… “Lose Yourself” (Eminem)
All photos by Amanda Westcott/Showtime