By: Hans Themistode
Regardless of whom you may ask in the boxing world, the talent of Jaron Ennis is often described as otherworldly, fantastic, or superb. Perhaps, even all of the above.
Throughout his relatively short career, the Philadelphia native has dazzled fight fans with his ability to end fights in the blink of an eye and the mastery he’s shown when fighting out of either stance.
With Ennis bursting out in a huge way in 2021, he’ll look to inch even closer to his first crack at a world title when he takes on Custio Clayton on May 14th, in an IBF title eliminator.
While often praised for his come-forward style and never say die attitude, Clayton is supremely overmatched in the eyes of both the boxing public and in the minds of the betting world. But, despite being counted out, Eric Belanger, Custio’s trainer, believes that his fighter will present Ennis with an unsolvable puzzle come fight night.
“I think we bring a lot of different things to the table,” said Belanger to FightHype.com. “We can box, we can pressure, we can counterpunch, our defense is slick. I think we also bring a level of maturity that Jaron hasn’t seen yet.”
At the age of 24, Ennis might be considerably younger than his 34-year-old veteran opponent, but the Philadelphian believes he’s ready to take on the world. With Ennis enjoying his moment in the sun, Clayton has worked quietly in the shadows.
In 2020, following his knockout win over Diego Ramirez, Clayton took on former 140-pound titlist, Sergey Lipinets, on just two weeks’ notice. In spite of the short turnaround, Clayton fought Lipinets on even terms, resulting in a majority decision draw. Ennis, on the other hand, easily stopped Ennis one year later.
As Belanga continues to prepare his man for what could be the biggest challenge of his career, the longtime trainer finds it difficult scouting the highly touted 24-year-old.
At this point, Ennis has yet to be tested in the ring, leaving Belanga with more questions than answers heading into their upcoming contest. Still, regardless of it all, Belanga is confident in his ability to come up with an adequate game plan to pick up the win.
As the leading voice in Clayton’s corner proceeds to breakdown tape of Ennis into the wee hours of the night, he often finds himself grinning at what he sees.
Ultimately, he admits that Ennis has extraordinary talent. However, with that in mind, he believes that come May 14th, his hype train will be derailed in a major way.
“He’s flashy which makes us get excited,” continued Belanga. “He does big movements, he has charisma, he has that wow factor when he’s in the ring. It kinda makes my job difficult a little bit in a certain sense because when you have an undefeated guy who hasn’t been tested, all the holes that you see in his game are assumptions. You gotta assume that their holes but once we get there, that’s when we’re going to find out. We can’t base our game plan on one assumption. Is he all hype? We assume he is. Is he going to be exposed on May 14th? I assume he will.”
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