Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis (28-0, 26 KOs) and 2012 Olympian Custio Clayton (18-0-1, 12 KOs) has agreed to meet in an IBF-ordered welterweight title eliminator bout in the spring.
The Ennis vs. Custio fight winner will be the mandatory challenger for the April 16th victor between IBF/WBC champion Errol Spence Jr. and WBA champion Yordenis Ugas.
Ennis, who will be turning 25 in June, says he wants to fight the Spence-Ugas winner straightaway after dealing with the Canadian Clayton in the spring, but he realizes it’s out of his hands.
The only way Boots Ennis doesn’t get to fight the winner of the Spence vs. Yordenis fight is if they take on WBO 147-lb champion Terence Crawford for the undisputed championship later this year.
Ennis and the 34-year-old Clayton share a common opponent in Sergey Lipinets. Clayton struggled against the former IBF 140-lb champion Lipinets, fighting him a 12 round draw in his last fight in October 2020.
Clayton failed to win because he spent a lot of time moving and fighting with his back against the ropes, allowing the Lipinets to look good.
Ennis had an easy time defeating Lipinets, destroying him by a sixth round knockout in April of last year.
Given how much better Boots Ennis looked in defeating the same opponent, it’s likely he’ll have little problems beating Clayton, especially if he chooses to fight with his back against the ropes against him like he did with Lipinets.
Jaron “Boots” Ennis and Custio Clayton have reached a deal for an IBF welterweight title eliminator in the spring in the United States, sources tell @MikeCoppinger.
The winner will become the No.1 contender for the victor of Spence-Ugas. pic.twitter.com/Yk78gW6DhN
— ESPN Ringside (@ESPNRingside) February 15, 2022
Assuming Boots Ennis defeats Custio Clayton in the spring; he may need to stay busy fighting someone else because it’s unlikely that the Spence-Ugas winner will want to tangle with him.
The management for Spence and Ugas will make sure that they stay away from Boots until it’s necessary to complete that fight.
Some boxing fans see Ennis as a bigger, stronger, younger version of Terence Crawford. If Boots is that good, you can bet that Spence and Ugas will avoid him at all costs.
“I think Ugas is going to try and start fast because Spence is going to lay off. I think Spence is going to win a close fight in a split decision,” said Boots Ennis to Fight Hub TV in predicting a win for Errol against Ugas on April 16h.
“Everybody’s lifestyle is different, but it’s definitely going to catch up to you. We’re not going to know until it happens,” said Boots when asked about whether Errol Spence’s lifestyle outside of the ring will lead to him prematurely aging and shortening his professional career.
“I think it’s going to be a close decision because Ugas is going to try and win a lot of the early rounds. I think Spence is going to try and pick it up towards the end and try and break Ugas down. I hope I get the winner. That’s what I want, give me the winner.
“I feel like I should be able to get one of those guys this year,” said Ennis about the champions at 147. “Those guys want to fight each other. They don’t want to fight somebody like me, someone up and coming. They want to fight other champions and stuff like that.
“We’ll see how it plays out. I’ll do my thing, and hopefully, I get the winner. Right now, we’re fighting on Showtime, working with Showtime. Al Haymon allowing me to fight his fighters, I appreciate that. Most definitely,” said Ennis when asked if he’d be free to fight Vergil Ortiz Jr. in 2022 if the option came available to him.