Jaron Ennis continues to impress, but there is no need to rush his development, writes Nigel Collins
JARON ENNIS’ flamboyant style is a hybrid, grounded in bedrock fundamentals but expressed in a seemingly spontaneous manner. It was far too much for the normally durable Sergey “Samurai” Lipinets to handle during their scheduled 12-round welterweight bout at the Mohegan Sun Casino on Saturday (April 10). The California-based Kazakh was knocked out at the 2-11 mark of the sixth round, the victim of a continual beating and a right-left coup de grâce that left him helpless on his back.
Lipinets’ only previous loss was to Mikey Garcia by unanimous decision in March 2018, but he was at a considerable physical disadvantage against the undefeated Ennis. At 5ft 10ins the 23-year-old stood three inches taller than Lipinets and enjoyed a seven-inch reach advantage.
Ennis spent the first round establishing his jab, and shortly before the bell unleashed a quick flurry, a small sample of what was to come. The ambidextrous Philadelphian switched from orthodox to southpaw in the second round and concentrated his attack on his rival’s body. Lipinets, 32, connected with a good right to the head but it wasn’t nearly enough to discourage Ennis, who upped the tempo in the third round, attacking the head as well as the body.
In the fourth Lipinets tripped over Ennis’ foot and fell. Referee Arthur Mercante Jnr mistakenly ruled that it was a knockdown, but Lipinets proved he wasn’t hurt, landing a number of clean counters when Ennis went after him.
Ennis increased his punch output in the fifth. He wanted to finish the fight, but just as things were looking particularly grim for Lipinets, he drilled Ennis with a low blow. Boots doubled over, turned away, mouth open, eyes popping. Mercante warned the offender and allowed Ennis time out to recover. It was at best a delay of the inevitable.
Boots is an outspoken advocate of sending his fans home early and happy, and went out for the sixth round intent on doing just that. He attacked relentlessly, digging hard to the body and belabouring Lipinets’ head with flush punches from both hands. With blows raining down at a merciless rate, it seemed remarkable that Lipinets was still on his feet – and then suddenly he wasn’t.
Ennis threw two rights, the first was blocked but the second connected and sent Lipinets slumping sideways. Boots took a short step to his left and drove an arcing left into his opponent’s face. Lipinets fell on his back, prompting Mercante to immediately wave off the fight without a count. It took several minutes to get Sergey off the canvas and onto a stool.
There’s a significant talent gap between Lipinets and the top of the welterweight class, and it makes sense for Ennis to take his time. Going after Terence Crawford or Errol Spence Jnr at this point would be premature.
“My goal is to keep getting better, sharper, faster and stronger so I can become world champion,” Ennis said. “As long as I keep fighting top guys, I’m happy. I feel like I will be world champion by the end of this year or beginning of next year. Patience is the key though.”
In a splendid fight Jerwin “Pretty Boy” Ancajas made the ninth successful defence of the IBF super-flyweight title with a unanimous 12-round decision over Jonathan “Titan” Rodríguez. It was an unrelenting shootout that was much closer than two of the judges would have you believe.
The 25-year-old Rodríguez, a relative unknown from San Luis Potosi, Mexico, was floored by a flurry of punches in the eighth round, but other than that held his own remarkably well.
The left-handed Ancajas, 29, made excellent use of his jab that connected with unerring accuracy. Every time it seemed the fight might be slipping away, the Filipino’s jab steadied the ship.
Rodríguez worked his way inside during the third round and jolted Ancajas with several uppercuts. There was a spirited give-and-take rally near the end of the fourth, and although Rodríguez scored well with left hooks early in the fifth, the title-holder rallied back with jabs and quick combinations.
The sixth was a protracted toe-to-toe struggle featuring an incredible frenzy of action. The only thing missing was the animalistic roar of a pre-COVID-19 audience that used to accompany such wild abandon. It was an insanely close round, but if anyone edged it, it was Rodríguez.
By comparison the seventh was relatively slow due to the amount of energy expended during the previous three minutes. The ninth-round action was intense but Rodríguez was visibly hurt twice with body shots.
The challenger staged a major comeback in the 10th, and by the end of the round Ancajas looked spent. Somehow, he mustered the energy to engage Rodríguez in two more rounds of torrid action. The Mexican nicked both, but not by much.
Referee David Fields did a good job of staying out of the way and letting the boxers get on with it. The same cannot be said for judges Don Trella and Tom Schreck, who scored it 117-110 and 116-111, respectively, for Ancajas. Judge Tony Paolillo was nearer the mark with a score of 115-112.
Unbeaten Lithuanian welterweight Eimantas Stanionis wore down Puerto Rican Thomas Dulorme to win a 12-round unanimous decision. Dulorme boxed well over the first three rounds, moving laterally, avoiding most of Stanionis’ offerings, while peppering him with jabs and quick one-twos.
Stanionis, five years younger at 26, had youth and strength on his side and began landing with increasing regularity as the fight progressed. Dulorme regained his form in the sixth but was back on the receiving end throughout the second half of the match.
Dulorme was cut over his left eye by an accidental headbutt in the 10th and told his corner between the 11th and 12th rounds that he couldn’t see. Nonetheless, his corner persuaded him to continue. He staged a brief rally at the start of the final round but soon faded as Stanionis regained control to win by scores of 115-113 (Steve Weisfeld), 116-112 (Frank Lombardi) and 117-111 (Tom Carusone). Harvey Dock refereed.
The Verdict A fine scalp for Ennis to add to his résumé.