Rashidi Ellis: “I’m Going To Put Everybody On Notice”
By: Hans Themistode
At the age of 27, Rashidi Ellis has had the word prospect attached to his name for far too long. Having spent the vast majority of his career in boxing obscurity, the undefeated welterweight has grown tired of both his inactivity and his inability to land big fights.
Come this Friday night on October 30th, Ellis (22-0, 14 KOs) will end an 11 month time period on the shelf when he takes on Alexis Rocha. Yet, for the second year in a row, and the fourth time overall, he will have only entered the ring just once over the span of twelve months. Most of his inactivity however, is through no fault of his own he believes. So while he isn’t ranked in the top ten of any of the sanctioning bodies, Ellis is ready to work his way up the rankings to back the rest of the division into a corner.
“I’m going to put everybody on notice this Friday,” said Ellis during a recent interview with Boxinginsider.com. “A lot of these welterweights are ducking and dodging but I’m just going to keep winning in the ring so that they got no choice but to fight me.”
While Ellis will look to make an example out of Rocha within the next few days, the California resident has been both active and performing well against respectable competition. Earlier this year, Rocha (16-0, 10 KOs) dropped Brad Solomon on his way to a wide unanimous decision victory. Throughout his short career, he’s cruised to win after win and barely broke a sweat in doing so. But while Ellis respects him as an opponent, the level of concern that he has for what he brings to the table is extremely low.
“There’s nothing that I have to worry about but I know he’s a good opponent. He’s strong and comes forward but there’s nothing I’m worried about. I’m prepared for everything.”
Stepping through the ropes, no matter how infrequently, has always been second nature for Ellis. With that being said, COVID-19 has made things slightly different this time around. For the first time in his professional career, Ellis won’t have the cheers of the crowd pushing him through the lull periods of a match.
Regardless of that, crowd or no crowd, Ellis still plans on dishing out a beating of a lifetime.
“It’s pretty much going to be like a sparring match but one when where I really have to beat your ass.”
The win for Ellis hasn’t been tallied just yet, but the 27 year old is already looking ahead. With multiple belt holders at 147 pounds, Ellis won’t be picky when choosing his next opponent. All he hopes is that someone from the upper echelon gives him a shot.
“Anybody with a belt. Manny Pacquiao, Terence Crawford, the winner of Danny Garcia and Errol Spence like any of those guys.”
Rashidi Ellis is Tired of Waiting
By: Hans Themistode
Welterweight contender Rashidi Ellis has been mesmerizing inside of a boxing ring. In the blink of an eye, he has been known to let off four to five punch combinations that has left his opponents kissing the canvas and fans scrambling for the remote to press the slow motion button.
Yet for as fast as he lets his hands go inside of the ring, he is slow to return to the squared circle when his contests are over.
For much of the seven year career of Ellis he has been sequestered. After an active 2013 and 2014 which saw him enter the ring three and ten times respectively, his time between the ropes has been truncated. In both 2015 and 2017, Ellis saw action just once. He managed to squeeze in three fights in 2018 but followed that up with only one ring appearance in 2019.
Now, with a COVID-19 ravished 2020, Ellis has yet to climb through the ropes at all. The lack of consistency is due to a combination of factors, but in no way is he eschewing from the competition.
“I don’t know man,” when asked by BoxingInsider.com as to why he isn’t more active. “A few injuries and fights falling through, it’s just a bunch of bad luck. I was supposed to fight March 26th, but now this pandemic happened so that got canceled. It’s just some bad luck and fighters not wanting to fight me. It’s just hard for me to get fights.”
Ellis finds himself in a position that many of his peers seldom ever have. The championship time frame for many of his contemporaries have been five years. Former Welterweight belt holders in Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter along with current unified champion Errol Spence Jr were established contenders within the first four years of their careers and undefeated champions during year five.
Terence Crawford and Keith Thurman waited until year 6 to add gold to their waist, but were bonafide contenders by year four.
Ellis on the other hand, is entering year seven and does not hold a top 15 ranking within any of the four major sanctioning bodies.
Warmup fights be damned for the Welterweight contender. Tune up contests against unknown fighters and long layoffs have placed him in the unwanted position he is in today. His fight calendar is currently free, but when he does return, he isn’t looking for any one-sided matchups.
“I just want to jump right into it, I don’t really believe in tuneups and all that. I just want to fight.”
Closed mouths have never been fed in the sport of boxing. Ellis has gone the route of not calling out high profile fighters in the past. The “I’ll face anyone,” routine is a playbook that hasn’t led him to the fights he has wanted. So instead, he’s stepping outside of his normally reticent comfort zone and naming names.
“Danny Garcia,” said Ellis when asked who he wants next. “I don’t know why but I just want to fight him. It’s just something about him that makes me want to fight him, he just has a punchable face.”
The call outs from Ellis will be extraneous without the consistency in the ring. Whether fans are in attendance or watching from home, the Welterweight contender is ready to make a statement.
“I feel like I need to start stopping guys to ring some bells. Whether there is a crowd there or not I’m going to go out there and kick some ass.”