Boxing is a mess. Whether it’s warring promoters, Mad Max levels of oversight or Ponzi-by-numbers business models, the sport can’t stay out of its own stupid way. Yet every now and then, a thing of beauty is fished from the bog – a selfless act, a genius tactic or just a moment worth sharing. I hope to find and highlight these here weekly. (C’mon, boxing, three a week ain’t too much to ask!) Got an idea or tip of your own? Feel free to send it my way, and I’ll be sure to give you a nod if it’s used.

1. Boots is in business

If I’ve ever cornered you to talk boxing, you already know I’m as likely to give credit to a boxing promoter as I am to, say, praise Floyd Mayweather Jr. for being an upstanding family man. And yet, here we are:

Thank you, Eddie Hearn, for … (gulp) … signing Jaron Ennis.

Look, there’s a whole boxing ecosystem that, for better or worse – and, trust me, it is for worse – keeps the sport spinning on its crooked, greasy axis. And although there’s undeniably a better way to do this (because people are awful and we can’t have nice things), boxing is left with what we have. And the fact is, most fighters get the stick.

But in this case, I believe, our guy “Boots” backed into a win.

Having compiled to this point a sterling 31-0 record, including 28 knockouts, Ennis is generally regarded as landing somewhere between the next Roy Jones Jr. and an utterly unproven commodity at the world-class level. He had an opportunity to win a vacant welterweight title in 2020, but he had it yanked away when an accidental head-butt ended his matchup with Chris van Heerden inside a round. Since then, Ennis has been (convincingly) dispatching dudes named Custio Clayton and Karen Chukhadzhian to try to build his case as a contender to what, until recently, had been a fiercely contested 147-pound throne.

Now? Ennis, 26, will need every ounce of juice in the jug at Matchroom Boxing to get him lined up with fights that test his Matrix-like gifts. I, for one, am a believer. But it’s all the stuff of urban legend unless you can prove it against the best at 147 and perhaps, down the line, against the likes of Terence Crawford or Errol Spence Jr. or Tim Tszyu. The panel would also accept Sebastian Fundora, Serhii Bohachuk or Israil Madrimov. Ennis is the goods, and he has earned the chance to prove it. If Hearn manages to quickly land Boots a matchup with someone not named Bakhtiyar Eyubov and puts him on a trajectory toward the best or bust, his new promoter will deserve, without reservation … the heartfelt gratitude… and undying devotion of boxing fans everywhere.

2. The Brits are doing it better

The line between patriotic and xenophobic in this sport is almost impossible to make out, which may be why it gets crossed more often than the Gongbei Port. (See? Even that sounded vaguely troublesome.) But as an American, I feel comfortable drawing a line in the sand here:

British boxing does it better.

A short timeline: On Friday, bantamweight Charlie Edwards filled a badass little boxing venue in Bethnal Green’s York Hall and breathed new life into his career by outpointing Georges Ory to earn a minor vacant belt. It was a mid-profile fight that nevertheless appeared on England’s public Channel 5. Edwards did his work, won the day, praised his opponent and kept it moving.

On Saturday, junior lightweight Jordan Gill put in a game effort against Zelfa Barrett but was ultimately done in by a barrage of body shots. Wasn’t his day – although it kinda was. After the fight, Gill posted this to his Zombie Twitter account: “Manchester … what a buzz! Felt like I was winning the fight until I got caught, but that’s boxing! No excuses, huge congrats to [Barrett], one hell of a fighter and a great human being. Gracious in victory and in defeat. …”

On Sunday, Charlie’s younger brother Sunny Edwards commented on the moment of his recent signing to fight Adrian Curiel on June 29. With Hearn standing over Edwards in an antiseptic cinder-blocked room that could have doubled as the headmaster’s office, Sunny cracked, “Why I look like I’m in detention.”

Hard work. Humility. Humor. These are not uniquely British characteristics, but they are a concoction that is uniquely prized by the Brits. Meanwhile, in the U.S., it’s all “side pieces” and sunglasses at night. We want our boxing the way we want everything else – big, loud, dumb and, most of all, right now. Are there exceptions to these insanely broad generalizations? Of course. But it’s mostly fair to say that, as Americans, we consider it our god-given right to witness Muhammad Ali fight Arnold Schwarzenegger on the gun turret of a battleship every Fourth of July. On these shores, angry, crass and stupid sell – and it’s a bummer for U.S. fighters with skills to showcase and stories to tell and no interest in pandering to the mouth-breathers. Me? I prefer the U.K. way.

3. Not dead yet

Seems like I can never escape the same tired conversations about boxing’s place in the sports firmament. Whenever they learn what it is I do, the casual, misinformed and utterly oblivious routinely respond with some version of several similar refrains:

“I mean, the sport has really fallen off, right?”

“Are Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao still around?”

“Does anyone even watch boxing anymore?”

The answers, in order and put most simply, are “from the U.S. mainstream,” “sort of” and “hell to the yeah.” The reports of boxing’s death, as always, are greatly exaggerated.

In the next 40 days alone, fans in most of the best boxing cities in the world – New York, London, Las Vegas, Osaka, Tokyo, Perth, Quebec and Copenhagen – will get a chance to show up for the biggest fights currently on the books.

Boxers are still some of the biggest earners in sports, with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez ranking a tick behind Tiger Woods, Max Verstappen and Shohei Ohtani on the list. Anthony Joshua, who has only recently removed his career from life support, ranks No. 24. Hell, Jake Paul is in the top 40!

Fans around the world are still very much turning out, tuning in and paying up for boxing. The sport merchants in nostalgia, but a new pact with Amazon Prime has also raised the bar for its future. And with a couple of hammer-fisted Russians (Dmitrii Bivol and Artur Beterbiev) ready to rumble in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; a pair of ex-mixed martial artists (Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal) happy to trade shots in the ring for a big payday; and, blessedly, Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez recently announcing another fight in his native Nicaragua, it should be obvious that a global audience and fiercely loyal fan base ensure that boxing’s pulse is still pounding.

Jason Langendorf is a BoxingScene editor, former ESPN and Sporting News editor and longtime journalist whose professional interests range from boxing to technology to addiction and mental health. If you have a tip, a comment or desperately need a Johnny Cash karaokeist to work your bar or bat mitzvah celebration, email him immediately.

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