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Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis deserves his shot against Crawford & Spence says Paulie Malignaggi

Image: Jaron 'Boots' Ennis deserves his shot against Crawford & Spence says Paulie Malignaggi

By Brian Webber: Paulie Malignaggi says unbeaten highly ranked welterweight contender Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis (30-0, 27 KOs) deserves his shot against 147-lb champions Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford & Errol ‘The Truth’ Spence Jr.

IBF/WBA/WBC champ Spence has chosen to go up to 154 for his next fight against former WBA/WBC welterweight champion Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman in April, and it’s unknown if he’ll return to the 147-lb division.

Ennis predicts that Spence won’t return to 147 to fight him or Crawford, which means he’ll never get a chance to face him unless he goes up to 154.

If those two belt-holders aren’t going to fight each other, they should at least face ‘Boots’ Ennis so that he can show the boxing world whether he’s for real.

Last weekend, Ennis defeated a cautious survival-oriented Karen Chukhadzhian (21-2, 11 KOs) by a lopsided 12 round unanimous decision in a much-criticized performance of the unbeaten ‘Boots’ by the fans.

The fans weren’t happy that the 25-year-old Ennis couldn’t dispatch the underpowered Chukhadzhian like he’d done against 27 other opponents during his seven-year professional career.

As Malignaggni states, Ennis’ opponent Chukhadzhian wasn’t there to win and was throwing a small number of punches to limit the chances ‘Boots’ had of nailing him with a knockout blow to get him out of there.

Further, Chukhadzhian was on the move the entire fight, not allowing Ennis to get close to him to sit down on his shots the way he normally does.

As a result, the punches that ‘Boots’ Ennis did land were ones in which he was throwing while on the move against a target that was on the run.

Ennis easily won by the scores 120-108, 120-108, and 120-108, but fans were still upset that he couldn’t cut off the ring better and KO Chukhadzhian with a body shot.

“Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis got a decision. It was the first time he had to go twelve rounds, and the opponent [Karen Chukhadzhian], I don’t think he showed up to win, I’ve got to be honest,” said Paulie Malignaggi on his Paulie TV channel about Jaron Ennis’ win over a defensive-oriented Karen Chukhadzhian last Saturday night.

“He was a durable guy that knew how to give you problems. There are opponents like this. They just show up to give you problems. They won’t be a threat to beat you, but maybe they’ll expose some flaws.  But it’s also tough to look good against a guy who is not there to win,” Malignaggi said about Boots Ennis not looking especially sharp against the safety-first fighting style of Chukhadzhian.

“I don’t think Jaron Ennis’ opponent was there to win over the weekend. If you go twelve rounds, it’ll be a moral victory, and he would be able to do something nobody else had been able to do against Ennis.

“It did show us some things. Ennis’ footwork, sometimes he’s walking forward instead of shuffling forward, and I think it’s something that I noticed Philly fighters do because they’re so used to that toe-to-toe action where they just kind of walk to each other and fight.

“It doesn’t always cost you, but at a high, high level, it could be costly at times. I just think Ennis was making certain mistakes because at times, he seemed sort of disinterested at times. He’s 29-0; he should have been had a world title fight.

“Because of the logjam at the top caused by the Spence & Crawford traffic, that fight not happening, the rest of the welterweight division is cluttered up behind them with this logjam, and this guy [‘Boots’ Ennis] is 29-0, and he still hasn’t fought for a world title.

“He’s in his 30th pro fight against a guy [Karen Chukhadzhian] like this. Sometimes you don’t look your best because you can’t get up for the fight in the same way anymore.  You know what you deserve, and you’re physically trained for the fight.

“Obviously, Ennis is in shape, but mentally, you’re not looking to perfect these little tidbits for these fights as you would for the bigger fights. You kind of lose interest, and it’s sort of a natural tendency sometimes.

“I don’t want to have criticism for Ennis despite some of the flaws that he showed in the fight because I really believe it comes from not getting what he deserves as far as the shots at the fighters that he should be fighting at this point in his career.

“It’s not fair to him, honestly. Whether we get Spence and Crawford at this point, Ennis should get a shot at somebody. There are fighters that deserve to get shots against these guys if they’re not going to fight each other.

“I remember a few years ago; we were waiting for Wilder & Joshua to fight. When they didn’t fight, Tyson Fury came in and ended up beating Wilder. Then Usyk came in and ended up beating Joshua.

“There are top guys like [Vergil] Ortiz and Ennis that deserve their shots against Crawford & Spence. I’m not saying for sure they beat Crawford & Spence, but I’m saying this.

They deserve their chance at being able to eliminate the chance for Spence & Crawford to happen just like Fury & Usyk eliminated the chance for Wilder & Joshua to happen, at least at a high level. Now, we’re clamoring for Fury and Usyk.

“I believe that Ennis deserves his shot, or otherwise, you’re possibly going to risk these kinds of performances where he’s fighting good fighters. The guy is a good fighter, the guy [Chukhadzhian] he fought. The fact that you can go 12 rounds with Ennis, it’s an accomplishment, but he didn’t show up to win.

“I think if he had showed up to win and showed up to do a little more damage than to land the occasional right hand and make Ennis look a little bit awkward on his feet at times if he had showed up to do a little bit more than that if he had showed up to try and win, I think Ennis would have got to him because you’re committing a little bit more and that gives Ennis the chance to hurt you as well.

“You don’t get the chance to see the best of Ennis, and he’s also disinterested in fighting guys like this. I’m not making excuses for Ennis. Listen, there’s certainly criticism to give, but I’m also understanding of that kind of performance. Nonetheless, it’s really not that much criticism to give anyway.

“He still won 120-108 on all the scorecards. So the fact that he went twelve rounds, it probably does him good. It probably does him a little bit of good, and we’ll see if he gets the shot that he deserves,” said Malignaggi about ‘Boots’ Ennis.

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