Sunday, April 11, 2021

Boxing Challenge: Ennis erases Lipinets, Smith shades Vlasov

 The Saturday boxing evening shifted to ESPN and Showtime and while the results ended in wins for the expected "Chalk", but in only one case did the winner walk out of the ring with the kudos that were expected as well.

Let's start with the three-fight Showtime card from Uncasville, Connecticut, and their main event with the highly touted Jaron "Boots" Ennis taking his next step forward against former IBF junior welterweight champion Sergey Lipinets.

Much as in last week's fight between Jamel Herring and Carl Frampton, the size difference between these two was glaring and Ennis dominated the once-beaten Lipinets in every round, including a 10-8 round after a fourth-round knockdown.

With Ennis leading 50-44 going to the sixth, there wouldn't be a seventh as Ennis finished with a right hook followed by a left hand to send Lipinets crashing to the floor with the fight ended without a count.

Al Bernstein made a great point on the telecast when he stated that Ennis is unusual for a fighter that can switch easily from lefty to righthander in that he can do so without losing power in either hand.

Ennis is bad news already for anyone in the division, not named Spence or Crawford, and his talents might be just as even against them although he could need a little seasoning against a fighter better than Lipinets against a Shawn Porter or Keith Thurman before a fight with the champions.

Ennis may not receive that title shot for a while as he is the definition of high risk-low reward for Spence, Crawford, or newly crowned WBA champion Yordenis Ugas and may have to be the mandatory challenger, but unless one of the inept "Four Donkeys" of boxing decides to radically elevate Ennis after his win over Lipinets, Ennis may have to fight an eliminator or not.

Ennis is currently ranked 7th by the WBO, 9th in the IBF (although this could be his biggest leap as Lipinets was rated 3rd there), 12th by the WBC, and unranked by the putrid WBA, who finds a way to rate fighters such as Gabriel Maestre, Alberto Palmetta, Abel Ramos, Cody Crowley, and Conor Benn without Ennis.

Truly awful...

The undercard pitting two of those WBA welterweights rated ahead of Ennis in an eliminator between Eimantas Stanionis and Thomas Dulorme.

Dulorme is a solid, but not quite top ten 147 pounder and he was thought to give the undefeated Stanionis his toughest fight as a pro and he did so in a close unanimous decision victory,

Stanionis won the final four rounds on my card to win 115-113 over Dulorme, who likely earned himself another paycheck against an undefeated prospect/contender with a strong effort.

I don't think Stanionis has a prayer against Jaron Ennis, but he looks like an eventual top ten welterweight.

The opener was expected to be a dull battle and instead was a terrific fight as Jerwin Ancajas retained his IBF junior bantamweight championship with a unanimous decision over Jonathan Rodriguez.

Lots of action in this one and Ancajas scoring an eighth-round knockdown that won him the fight on my card 114-113, although it seemed that many were unhappy with the official scores that saw Ancajas win by wider margins of three, five, and seven points.

If you really stretch things, you may see Ancajas by three points but the five and seven are ridiculous cards.

Ancajas kept his title for the ninth time and I'd like to see him in a unification fight against WBO champion Kazuto Ioka, which would create a natural opponent for the survivor of the triangle between Juan Francisco Estrada, Roman Gonzalez, and Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, and a great attempt for the unknown Rodriguez, who I would like to see again in a big fight.

Over on ESPN, heavily favored Joe Smith rallied to win the final two rounds and slide by Maxim Vlasov by a majority decision in Tulsa Oklahoma to grab the vacant WBO light heavyweight title.

The scorecards were even at 114-114 and the two cards for Smith were 115-113 and 115-112.

The latter score didn't cost Vlasov the fight, but Smith hit Vlasov in the back of the head in the eleventh round and the fight was shortly delayed so Vlasov could recover, but the 115-112 judge still scored the round 10-8 stating that he thought it was a knockdown.

That's great and all, but your ruling isn't suppose to overrule the referee's decision- Be grateful that point didn't cost Vlasov all that much.

Vlasov used an awkward volume punching style that puzzled Smith for most of the fight and I thought Vlasov did enough to pull the upset 115-113 on my scorecard.

But per usual, the underdog on the road rarely gets the close call and Vlasov certainly didn't help his cause by giving Smith the final two rounds which were enough to give Smith the win.

Smith will likely unify his newly won title with those of WBC and IBF champion Artur Beterbiev in what should be a great fight between two straight ahead bombers with the best punching power in the division.

In the boxing challenge, I outscored Ramon Malpica seven-five on the weekend (including the previously written Conor Benn win) with the win by Jerwin Ancajas allowing for the two-point difference.

I lead the boxing challenge 45-41.

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