Eddie Hearn is attempting to guide Jaron “Boots” Ennis into a super-fight with Terence Crawford.

Ennis, the IBF champion and world’s leading welterweight, recently entered a promotional agreement with Matchroom, and to that end, the promotional organization then won the purse bid to stage the first defense of his title against his mandatory challenger, Cody Crawley.

As is consistent with its approach to promotion, Matchroom will take Ennis-Crawley to Philadelphia, the home city of the 26-year-old EnnisI , but in the longer term plan on matching him with Crawford, widely recognized as the world’s finest fighter.

On Wednesday, Matchroom confirmed that it is overseeing the fight between Crawford and Israil Madrimov for the WBA light middleweight title in Los Angeles on Aug. 3, and in the same way that Crawford is planning on proving himself the world’s leading fighter at 154 pounds, Ennis intends on building his profile by enhancing his reputation at 147 pounds before attempting to succeed Crawford at light middleweight in the same way that he is on course to at welterweight.

“He’s the best fighter out of Philadelphia since Bernard Hopkins,” said Eddie Hearn. “In terms of American talent, you’re talking about serious levels of fights. Like Crawford, like [Errol] Spence, like ‘Canelo’ [Saul Alvarez]. He’s in that, and they all know it as well.

“The division’s quite interesting. You’ve got [Eimantas] Stanionis, you’ve got [Mario] Barrios, you’ve got all these fighters, and they’re accessible. Whereas Spence, Crawford, those kinds of guys, just don’t need to fight him unless the money’s made. Which it will be, eventually. We’ve just gotta build it.

“First thing’s first is get the mandatory out of the way, which is Cody Crawley. The plan would be to stage a fight in Philadelphia in July.

“[I’ve wanted to sign Ennis for] four, five years – when we first went to America. He was one of 15, 16 names – ‘We need to get Boots.’ We reached out; then, maybe six months, a year later, we go, ‘Any interest?’ About two years ago, we got to a situation where there was a chance to do something; it got very close. In this market particularly, every major signing perks up other fighters. That’s just how it works. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the start of three or four additional fighters. When we signed Canelo, that stirred up the pot for other fighters.

“The problem he had was the inactivity,” Hearn said of Ennis. “The last thing you want is to sign someone like him and fight him once a year, or twice a year. You’ve got to be able to box him three times a year, and you need to have a lot of dates to do it – that’s the problem PBC [Premier Boxing Champions] are having.

“There will be a fight with Crawford, but only when we build Jaron to the levels that make sense for Crawford to take that risk. Crawford’s gonna want $20 million-plus to fight Jaron, so we need to make sure we can generate that type of money and he can get paid to the same kind of levels.

“He will move to 154, and he’s going to start fighting the champions at 154. But after he’s unified the division, we wanna make sure that he can move to 154 and become a multi-weight world champion after he’s cleaned up at 147. I don’t think Crawford will fight him anywhere else but 154, so he’s got to take care of business at 147 first.”

The signing of Ennis gives Matchroom its most impressive ever stable, according to Hearn, who, excluding the marquee signing of Alvarez, initially struggled to attract the American fight market’s leading talent when Matchroom first expanded into the U.S.

“I just don’t understand, in America, how [irregularly rival promoters] take stars to their home city,” he said. “It’s like us taking [Leeds’ Josh] Warrington to Cardiff. Philadelphia is a fight city. It’s an hour from New York. It’s so accessible, and he’s a superstar. It’s madness. So I think we’ll get a massive shock with the crowd when we take him to Philly. It’s an obvious thing to do.

“We took Tevin Farmer there when he boxed Jono Carroll – that was about four years ago. I just don’t know any big-time boxing that’s been there since, and it is a fight city. There’s been shows there, but no big-time boxing. Mental.

“We’re very confident [Devin Haney] will stay with us. Subriel Matias, who’s world champion – brilliant fighter. [Jesse] ‘Bam’ Rodriguez – a pound-for-pound great in his absolute prime. Then, Jaron in his prime. [Previously] you’d get a guy at the end of his career who wants a payday. ‘I’ll go to Eddie for one or two fights.’ Now you’re getting fighters in their prime putting their trust in us to guide them.

“With Jaron, and especially fighters like Bam coming through – [Dmitry] Bivol, [Juan Francisco] Estrada – you’ve got four fighters in the top 10, pound for pound, so that’s impressive. We’ve just got to build him so that the money for him to go into the megafights is there to pay the other side. Crawford’s going to want $20 million-plus to fight him. But when people want that fight enough, it’ll happen, ‘cause it’ll get paid for.

“We know that [Jaron’s father, Derek “Bozy” Ennis, is] one of the best trainers in the sport. But also, at the same time, he’s seen us work with Andy [Cruz]. That goes through from the team, the travel, the shows. Everything. He’d have seen that, hopefully, and gone, ‘These guys are pretty good – this is the place for my son to be.’”

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