2021 Contender of the Year – Jaron “Boots” Ennis

Jaron “Boots” Ennis is something special. Rarely do we get generational fighter, but “Boots” feels like a fighter that only comes along every so often – a legend.

Ennis is signed to Cameron Dunkin, and though some boxing nerds feel that he needs to “choose a promoter” to get a shot a world title, I feel truly great talents get exceptions, and that Showtime as a network sees the star power of Ennis, and will look to keep him on their airwaves. TV dates equal worldwide exposure, and especially with an industry-leader, and boxing sanctioning bodies are just as much a business as well, so television exposure will be welcomed. 

Ennis had two fights this year, defeating former world champion Sergey Lipinets via a TKO in round six. This bout was seen on paper as a step-up, yet Ennis looked in control of the bout from start to finish. Ennis returned in October to stop Thomas Dulorme, a former Terence Crawford opponent in one-round. 

Stopping Dulorme in one round was a major statement, as I doubt even his team expected a tough and battle-tested veteran to go down so quickly. 

In my opinion, Ennis is the best welterweight in the world, and just needs the fights to prove this – as Terence Crawford has earned that distinction, but Ennis is looking to be a rightful challenger to anyone who claims that they’re the best, and at 28 pro fights, he is unstoppable seemingly.

Honorable Mention

Charles Conwell – Easy to overlook, but more than likely the best 154 lbs fighter in the world, the 2016 Olympian Conwell, only fought twice this year, once in Kentucky against rugged Silverio Ortiz, and in August off-television on the Jake Paul vs. Tyron Woodley I undercard. Quite simply, we need to see Conwell on television, and in meaningful fights, he is that good. Conwell is a good body puncher who keeps his hands up well, a trait not seen in modern boxing.

Vergil Ortiz Jr. – Ortiz Jr. defeated former world champion Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker, and former Olympian Egis Kavaliauskas, a/k/a “The Mean Machine”. These were two world-class opponents that he stopped at the welterweight division, and he stopped Kavaliauskas in the eighth, a round prior to when Terence Crawford had stopped him, as Crawford is the gold standard of the division. 

Arnold Barboza Jr. – The only world-rated super lightweight to not fight for a world title, Barboza Jr., is a dog and talented, yet often overlooked by the media. A guy I see as a world champion.

Tim Tszyu – Tim Tszyu is a second generation fighter, fighting in his father’s footsteps, the legend, Kosta Tszyu, and he can really fight. A future world champion, who will probably fight for a vacant world title in the near future, will bring a lot of excitement to the division and Australian boxing right now along with fellow Australian, George Kambosos Jnr. 

William Zepeda – This Mexican lightweight who defeated Hector Tanajara Jr. is a problem for any-and-all. A southpaw with good pressure, and high volume. Zepeda is the real deal, and quite possibly could be avoided as he is a tough match-up for everyone in this division. 

Filip Hrgovic – Hrgovic just doesn’t fight enough. He seems like the next guy at heavyweight along with a fighter like Jared Anderson, yet, he is unable to stay active, as he fought two times this year. Being that his last three fights have been sanctioned ten-round bouts, hopefully we see Hrgovic in with a fellow undefeated fighter next year.

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Lukie Ketelle

Lukie Ketelle