By: Ken Hissner
On July 20th at the WinnaVegas Casino & Resort, Sloan, Iowa, unbeaten Philly welterweight Jaron “Boots” Ennis, 20-0 (18), takes on Armando “The Gentleman” Alvarez, 18-0 (12), of Key West, FL, for the vacant WBC United States Silver (USNBC) welterweight title over 10 rounds of boxing. The promoter is Vito Mielnicki’s GH3 Promotions over USA Showtime at 10pmEst.
This is a fight between a pair of top prospects with Ennis being the No. 1 contender in the USBA. Ennis has stopped his last ten opponents. Alvarez has stopped eight of his last ten opponents.
Ennis was an Olympic alternate in 2016 and trained by his father “Bozy” Ennis in the latters “Bozy’s Dungeon” gym on Venango Street in North Philly. The younger Ennis is following in the footsteps of his brothers “Pooh” (USBA champ) and Farah (NABF champ).
Alvarez will be the toughest opponent Ennis has encountered. On the other hand so is Ennis the toughest opponent Alvarez has encountered. Both are stepping up in competition with this match.
Ennis is managed by his father while being promoted by Chris Middendorf’s Victory Boxing Promotions. “There are a lot of questions swirling around Ennis right now. Does he deserve to have his first fight on national television as the main event on ShoBox? Why was he fighting in Utah, New Mexico, Indiana, North Carolina, Virginia, DC, and small shows? Why was he moved so quickly with twenty fights in his first two years as a pro? Tune in to Showtime on Friday and Jaron “Boots” Ennis will personally answer all of your questions,” said Middendorf.
“I’m really excited about “Boots” and I brought Chris (Middendorf) in with his Victory Boxing Promotions. I am now starting my own promotion called N.O.W. Promotions. We will co-promote “Boots” together. I have big plans for him. I’ve had (Terence) Crawford and other pound for pound guys. I have had 34 world champions. I am so high on “Boots”. He wants to be the best fighter in the world. Crawford felt the same. Those guys are special. He just turned 21 (June 26th). His dad and I have known each other for 20 years (thru Philly’s Anthony “The Messenger” Thompson and Demitrius “The Gladiator” Hopkins). I’m getting ready to put 5 or 6 prospects with his dad. He teaches defense that nobody does anymore. They just teach offense. He takes his time with them and teaches them to slip punches,” said Dunkin.
As someone who has seen “Boots” in the gym and the amateurs and a good majority of his pro fights I have not seen anyone from Philly like him since Meldrick Taylor came out of the 1984 Olympics with a Gold Medal. Dunkin and Middendorf have done an excellent job in getting him twenty fights in twenty-five months. Of his twenty fights nine have been in Philly and one in nearby Bristol, PA. I also saw him in DC. Before the fight I asked him to let it go a couple rounds since I just drove for 3 hours. He knocked the opponent out in 0:40 of the first round. You never know if he is going to fight orthodox or southpaw. He is a very level headed young man with the best trainer in Philly as his trainer, his father “Bozy”. His two brothers “Pooh” and Farah are just as nice and well-mannered as him. The father brought them up to show respect and not to be braggers.
Alvarez is trained by Maury Ramos. He is the creator of a program called “play boxing” which teaches a kid to define themselves through boxing but with no contact. His manager is Henry Rivalta.
Both boxers were asked about their outlook for their fight:
“I can’t wait to get in the ring and rock n’roll. I’m ready to put on a show come July 20th and the world will see who Jaron “Boots” Ennis is. I will be the one to watch at 147,” said Ennis.
Middendorf will tell you it hasn’t been easy getting opponents due to the reputation “Boots” had in the amateurs and being the Olympic alternate after a questionable decision. The fact Dunkin and Middendorf have put him in those ten out of PA fights is an investment that didn’t come cheap I’m sure. He sells tickets at home but on the road must be a different thing without the exposure he has had but that will be nullified come Friday one way or another.
“This is a huge opportunity for us both. I have been waiting for this opportunity for a while. I’m very focused and very motivated. I’m very excited to fight on Showtime and for the world to find out who Armando “The Gentleman” Alvarez really is come July 20,” said Alvarez.
On the undercard a pair of unbeaten boxers from China managed by Dino Duva. I met the heavyweight before he turned professional. Southpaw Zhilel Zhang, 18-0 (14) was a Super heavyweight Silver Medalist in the 2008 Beijing Olympics games. In the 2012 London Olympics he lost in the second round to current WBA, WBO and IBF champion Anthony Joshua by decision. He is 6:06 and lives in Las Vegas.
Southpaw Fanlong Meng, 12-0 (7), of Chifeng, China, is No. 12 in the IBF as a light heavyweight. I saw him in 2012 in a USA vs China event in Brooklyn’s Chinatown. He was the most impressive boxer on the Chinese team. (Philly’s Jesse Hart on the USA team) I saw him box professionally in 2015 and 2016 in NJ.
Philadelphia will also be represented in the heavyweight division by 6:05 Darmani Rock, 11-0 (7), who competed in the 2015 Olympic Trials after winning the US Amateur championship at Super heavyweight.