It’s not quite the weekend we hoped for, with Stanionis vs Ortiz once again off, but we do have one of the sport’s brightest young stars in action Saturday on Showtime, as Jaron “Boots” Ennis faces Roiman Villa.
Scott Christ (60-29)
Roiman Villa is a very fun fighter and I will still look forward to seeing him return after this against someone like Cody Crowley, Jamal James, Mario Barrios, Abel Ramos, Ve Shawn Owens — honestly, just about anyone out there.
And I think this is going to be a good fight to watch, but Boots Ennis just has way too much in the toolbox for Villa. If Villa presses, as he should because that’s his style, he’s going to get picked apart, and Ennis hits a whole lot harder than Rashidi Ellis. Villa’s only hope is cracking Boots in an exchange and stopping him. It could happen, but won’t. Ennis KO-5
Wil Esco (69-20)
I’m just going to cut to the chase and say I expect Boots to stomp a mudhole in Roiman Villa. The more Villa presses, the faster he’ll get picked apart. Ennis TKO-4
John Hansen (61-28)
A fighter with power, tenacity, and a solid chin is one you can never count out completely. I grind my teeth at the “puncher’s chance” rationalization that accompanies many mismatches, but Roiman Villa is the sort of fighter that makes that label occasionally legitimate. He’s relentless, and he’s proven capable of stomping through a lot of punches to land his own.
If you could simulate this fight 10 times, I suspect Villa would come out with a spectacular finish or two. But, the other 8 or 9 times, his chin and stamina only keep him upright for Boots Ennis to batter him around the ring. If Villa can make it a war, and if he can keep the cards within reach through 7 or 8 rounds? Could be a very interesting fight. But, the likely result is that Ennis gets an ideal foil to showcase his rare blend of top level skill and power, and either wins a wide decision or gets a finish of some sort. Given what Villa has shown before, a corner stoppage is likelier than a 10 count knockout. I’ll give respect to Villa’s resilience, and predict he hears the final bell. Ennis UD-12
Patrick Stumberg (69-20)
The long and short of this matchup is that Ennis can give Villa the exact sort of close-quarters slugfest he craves and still come out on top. “Boots” is too accurate, too defensively aware, and hits too hard for Villa to gut his way through round after round of exchanges. To make things worse, Ennis doesn’t even have to meet Villa head-on; he’s more than sharp enough to pick him apart the way Rashidi Ellis did, and unlike “Speedy,” he hits hard enough to keep Villa honest.
None of this is to say that Villa is a bad fighter, but unlike Karen Chukhadzian, his best approach puts him squarely in Ennis’ wheelhouse. I can count on one hand the welterweights who could conceivably overpower Ennis inside and Villa is not among their number. Ennis TKO-6