On July 8, welterweight Jaron Ennis (31-0, 28 KOs, 1 NC) dominated yet another opponent in a tenth round stoppage victory over Roiman Villa. With the win, he retains his status as an IBF mandatory challenger. Currently, the IBF welterweight title currently is held by Errol Spence Jr. Although Ennis is due a title shot, it is unlikely he will fight for the belt this year as Spence is currently set to face Terence Crawford on July 29. Due to a rematch clause, Spence could wound up fighting Crawford twice in 2023.
As is the case following any fight, many wonder what is next for a fighter and Ennis is no different. A fight against Spence or Crawford appears unlikely, which leaves several other talented welterweights for him to face. Big Fight Weekend takes a look at three possible opponents for Ennis’ next bout.
Three possible opponents for Ennis
Crowley (22-0, 9 KOs) is a Canadian welterweight with a number three ranking with the IBF. His most recent ring appearance was on March 25 when he took on Abel Ramos, winning a majority decision. Like Ennis, Crowley also fights on Showtime, making this an easy bout to schedule. For both men, it is a way to further solidify their standing with the IBF. In the event that IBF title becomes vacant following Spence-Crawford, Ennis would become a full titlist. His first defense of that belt could against Crowley, the next highest rated challenger following Villa.
Ranked fourth by the IBF, Barrios (27-2, 18 KOs) last fought on February 11. An eighth round stoppage of Jovanie Santiago gave him his first win as a welterweight. Prior to the win over Santiago, Barrios had an unsuccessful debut at the weight class in which he lost a wide decision against Keith Thurman in 2022. Now, however, he has a win in his most recent fight, a high ranking with the IBF, and fights on Showtime. This combination of factors could help him secure a clash with Ennis.
James (28-2, 12 KOs) is ranked sixth by the IBF and also fights on Showtime. Following a loss to Radzhab Butaev in 2021, James came back on February 25 this year with a decision win over Alberto Palmetta. Like Barrios, his high standing with the IBF and the fact he fights on Showtime could help him secure a bout with Ennis.