Sergey Lipinets left the ring in April 2021 beyond impressed by Jaron Ennis.
The former IBF junior welterweight champion knew he would face a fast, intelligent, strong opponent, but Ennis was even better than he realized. Philadelphia’s Ennis dropped Lipinets twice, once in the fourth round and again in the sixth, on his way to a sixth-round knockout.
Ennis’ performance that night convinced Lipinets that he could beat any welterweight in boxing, including undefeated champions Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr., both of whom consistently rank among the sport’s top five pound-for-pound.
“If he fights either of those two guys, it’s gonna be a 50-50 fight,” Lipinets told BoxingScene.com. “And I’m being very conservative to not disrespect Spence or Crawford.”
Lipinets, 33, fought for the first time Saturday night in the 16 months since Ennis knocked him out.
The Kazakhstan native stopped Omar Figueroa Jr. following eight one-sided rounds in a 12-round, 140-pound bout Showtime televised from Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Omar Figueroa Sr., who trained his son, stopped their fight after the eighth round.
Lipinets (17-2-1, 13 KOs), who replaced Adrien Broner as Figueroa’s opponent on only five days’ notice, moved back down from the welterweight limit of 147 pounds to fight Figueroa (28-3-1, 19 KOs). He thinks Ennis out-weighed him by more than 10 pounds by the time they entered the ring at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, but Lipinets conceded that Ennis’ elite-level capabilities set them apart more than anything.
“He’s very young and that’s the number one thing that works for him,” Lipinets said before essentially calling Ennis a genius in the ring. “The second thing is his IQ is way above 140 in the ring. He does many things in the ring that not many fighters nowadays do, including Crawford and Spence. He has power and the way he switches up from left to right is very effective. He doesn’t do it just to do it. He knows why he is doing that. And he is dedicated. He’s a very clean kid that always stays on point. I believe he is the future of boxing.”
The 25-year-old Ennis (29-0, 27 KOs, 1 NC) has knocked out veterans Thomas Dulorme (26-6-1, 17 KOs) in the first round and Custio Clayton (19-1-1, 12 KOs) in the second round since he defeated Lipinets. His next fight hasn’t been scheduled, but Ennis expects to return to the ring sometime in the fall.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.