By Stefan Radosavlević: First of all, let’s be honest here and say that giving Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis a belt was the easiest way out for all parties involved.
Terence Crawford can now go after his big money fights, Ennis gets a chance to prove himself, and IBF has a pretty clear situation in their hands.
No matter how unpopular this decision is among fight fans, it will answer many important questions. Rarely can we see some of the governing bodies making a good decision, but this was one of them.
Is Crawford vs. Ennis even a possibility?
Crawford has been around since 2008, fighting and winning belts in three different weight classes. The TKO victory over Errol Spence crowned him as the best welterweight in the world and one of the best boxers pound for pound.
This fight answered many questions and left ‘Bud’ with all four belts as a unified champion. A possible rematch with Spence is the first big obstacle for a Crawford vs. Ennis showdown.
Crawford-Spence fight contract contains a rematch clause that gives the losing side the opportunity to contractually exercise his right to an immediate rematch.
There is also another problem, maybe even bigger than a rematch clause: Crawford’s age! At this stage of his career, he only has a couple of good fights left in him.
Many boxing experts believe that ‘Bud’ is not afraid of Ennis; he’s just trying to make the best of what he has left, and after being at the top for a decade, we can’t argue that he deserves that opportunity. Who doesn’t want to see Crawford clashing against Canelo Alvarez?
Who’s the real deal
Finally, we get to see who is who at 147. As a belt holder, ‘Boots’ can not be avoided anymore, and this leaves us with at least two or three good fights.
Cody Crowley (22-0), Alexis Rocha (25-2), and Giovani Santillan (32-0) are some of the names. Even though Ennis is a clear favorite to win these bouts, they would show us where he stands in comparison with other young welterweight contenders and belt holders.
In a perfect situation, a showdown against Mario Barrios (28-2) or Eimantas Stanionis (14-0) would be the next logical step, and those are the fights every boxing fan wants to see.
Veteran Keith Thurman is also an interesting option, but he had only one fight in nearly two years. Without boxing politics, we could have a clear situation at 147 in a year or two.
Paper champion is a ‘title’ no boxer wants to carry around. One thing is for sure: fans, opponents, and media will be on Jaron’s back now! Is he good enough to carry the weight?