Six months after seeing a 21-fight knockout streak ended, Jaron “Boots” Ennis returned to his blistering best, battering a game Roiman Villa from pillar to post before finally dropping and stopping him in the tenth round of a scheduled 12 of a welterweight contest at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City on Saturday night.
Ennis (31-0, 28 KOs) began behind a blistering power jab, throwing over 50 in the opening round alone. But by the third round, Villa began to close the distance and stand in front of Ennis, and while the power-punching Venezuelan was able to land some leather on Ennis’ chin, the Philadelphian clearly welcomed the open action and raked Villa with punches from every angle and both orthodox and southpaw stances.
Even as he was losing every round, Villa at least remained competitive until a booming right hand from Ennis landed behind his ear in the sixth, wobbling him and prompting Ennis to launch a furious follow-up flurry. Ennis survived that round, but from that moment it was one-way traffic.
Ennis’ array of punching prowess was at times breathtaking. In the seventh, an uppercut from the southpaw stance was followed by another orthodox right hand; at the end of the eighth, with Villa’s face bloodied and his legs unsteady, it appeared as if a corner stoppage may be close. Villa, however, kept throwing, although Ennis’ defense was almost as good as his offense and Villa’s determined offense merely provided the American with openings to land yet more blows.
Prior to round 10, referee David Fields warned Villa (26-2, 24 KOs) that he needed to see something from him, but it was Ennis who took the opportunity to bring the contest to a halt, landing a left hand and right hook that sent Villa – who had never previously been knocked down - tumbling to the canvas against the ropes as Fields immediately waved it off.
“I knew he was a tough kid. I just had to be smart, take my time, keep touching, touching,” said Ennis afterward. Asked when he expected to finally get a title shot, he responded that “We gotta wait for Errol [Spence] and Bud [Crawford] to fight [on July 29] and then I want the winner. Let’s get it popping.”
Marquis Taylor has developed something of a reputation of beating previously undefeated opponents, and he maintained that record by dropping and outpointing Yoelvis Gomez over 10 middleweight rounds. Taylor has just one knockout in his 15-1-2 record, while Gomez entered the ring with nothing but stoppage wins to his name, but it was Taylor who landed a right hand in the second round that sent Gomez sprawling.
Gomez (6-1, 6 KOs), working for the first time with newly minted Hall of Famer Joe Goossen, struggled to break down Taylor’s awkward, mauling, smothering style, and was unable to land the big power punch that he was looking for. Taylor, in contrast, knew exactly what he wanted to do, and although it wasn’t pretty, it was effective. Working at the closest of close quarters, taylor kept throwing to Gomez’s midsection and the moment the two men separated by even a fraction, he would land a right hand before Gomez could throw again.
Gomez finally began to find his groove over the final few rounds of the fight, landing power punches as Taylor began to break down, but it was too little, too late, as Taylor hung on for a unanimous decision by scores of 96-93 twice and 99-91
“At the beginning it was hard because he is really, really strong,” said Taylor afterward. “So I knew I had to start working on that midsection. Outside, he has crazy, crazy power, so I knew I had to be on the inside and smothering that power and that’s what I did.”
In the opener, Edwin De Los Santos eschewed his typical hit-and-be-hit brawling style to put on a boxing clinic as he outpointed Joseph Adorno via unanimous decision in a ten-round lightweight contest. Adorno won only one of the 30 rounds on the three judges’ combined scorecards. The Dominican southpaw strafed Adorno with jabs and right hooks, slipping in and out of range as well as Adorno (17-3-2, 14 KOs) chuntered forward ineffectually and tried to engage De Los Santos in a firefight.
“We came prepared to show our boxing skills,” said De Los Santos (17-1, 14 KOs), whose victory was a sharp contrast to his most recent outing, in which he dropped Jose Valenzuela twice but was knocked down himself en route to scoring a third round KO