In a show that wound up flying way under the radar after the cancellation of its original Shields-Habazin main event, prospects Jaron Ennis and Jermaine Franklin picked up expected wins last night on Showtime, live from Flint, Michigan.
Ennis, 22, is getting active again after some promotional issues kept him sidelined, and the Philadelphia native is considered a legitimate rising star at 147 pounds. “Boots” dominated and stopped Argentina’s Demian Daniel Fernandez in the third round last night, landing punches almost at will and sending Fernandez to the hospital with a suspected orbital injury.
“It feels good to be back in the spotlight and get another win,” Ennis (24-0, 22 KO) said. “I showed a little of my skills. I wanted to show more, but my dad said go get him and get him out of there, so that’s what I did.
“I’ve been ready for a big fight for a while. I want to go to the next level. I just have to keep putting on shows like this and keep doing my thing and hopefully my title shot will come sometime next year. The big names had better start running. I would even go down to 140 to get one of them.”
Michigan heavyweight Franklin, 25, was appearing on Showtime for the third time this year. He’s been hyped by himself and the network was “America’s best heavyweight prospect,” but neither of his first two wins were particularly impressive. In April, he got past an old and not exactly peak condition Rydell Booker, and in July he got a questionable decision over Jerry Forrest.
On Saturday, Franklin (20-0, 13 KO) got in with aging Czech club fighter Pavel Sour, and the matchup naturally allowed him to look better, as Sour doesn’t have the skills of Forrest or Booker, and mostly seemed to be trying to land one bomb.
Franklin dropped Sour in the sixth and 10th rounds, but had to go the distance, winning a decision on scores of 97-91, 98-90, and 98-90.
“I was trying to get the knockout, I wanted it real bad, but it feels great to get the W,” said Franklin. “I wasn’t looking for a knockdown the first time he went down. I was trying to be quick and catch him with a counter and I caught him. It surprised me that he went down because it wasn’t meant to be a power punch.
“I didn’t think I finished him on the second knockdown. I wanted to, but I slowed down and got a little too relaxed instead. I should have stayed on him.”
Franklin admits he still has work to do, but he did come in noticeably lighter, with his conditioning being questioned in April and July. He weighed in at 245 and 240 for those fights, but was 231 against Sour.
“There are just some minor things I still need to work on, like fighting on the inside, grappling and knowing when to punch on the inside,” he said. “Minor things. Once I get that down, I’ll be doing well.”
“I couldn’t free up my punches and I didn’t let my hands go,” Sour said. “I was too tight in there. I was never really hurt by Franklin’s punches. He is very strong, but I could handle it. I was trying to catch him with a strong right hand.”