PHILLY BOXING HISTORY                                                                               July 19, 2013


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by John DiSanto


Farah Ennis dropped a 10-round unanimous decision to undefeated Badou Jack, at the Hard Rock Casino, in a nationally televised bout on Showtime, Friday night in Las Vegas. Before the fight, Ennis said he was in the best shape of his career and seemed set upon seizing this prime opportunity against the touted Jack. However, once the fight began, the fighter known as the "Quiet Storm" fought too quietly, and allowed Jack to claim round after round, often by the slimmest of margins. After 10 full rounds, Jack had swept the fight, and Ennis had failed to capitalize on a situation that could have propelled his boxing career to the next level. 

With the win, Jack extended his undefeated streak to 15-0 (10 KOs), while Ennis lost for the second time in 23 bouts, 21-2 (12 KOs). 

The fight itself was a snoozer, with Jack the aggressor, but far from aggressive, and Ennis appearing unwilling to engage in the fight. Jack led with his jab and moved a defensive Ennis around the ring. 

In the middle of the bout, Jack landed with authority a couple of times. The Swedish native nailed Ennis with a jarring right in round five, and repeated the punch in the sixth. However, the a separate attacks were not enough to end the fight or spur Ennis into fighting back. Instead, the fight reverted back to a quiet sparring session. 

After eight rounds, Ennis' trainer and father, Bozy Ennis, berated his son for his lack of activity in the fight, and told him that he hadn't won a round yet. The warning, did not light much of a fire in Farah, although he did step up his game slightly in round nine. However, it was far too little, too late. 

All three judges scored the fight a landslide. Judge Adalaide Byrd gave all ten rounds to Jack, scoring the fight 100-90. Judges Robert Hoyle and C. J. Ross both gave Jack eight rounds on their 98-92 cards. Presumably Hoyle and Ross awarded rounds one and nine to Ennis. My tally was a sweep for Jack, 100-90.

Ennis' performance was a disappointment, given his size, conditioning and apparent talent. On several occasions in the past, Ennis displayed a similar caution in the ring, but he usually managed to do enough to win. Not this time however. Ennis and his team seemed fixed on not repeating the error again. They called the opportunity against Jack a "statement" fight, but in the end, the only statement made raised questions about Farah's career prospects.

There was talk on social media that perhaps Ennis had injured his right hand in the fight. This was never confirmed, but even if it were true, it wouldn't completely explain Farah's passionless performance Friday night.

The talented Ennis must return to the drawing board and boxing gym to rebuild his career. However, the issue he seems to be struggling with may be between his ears. Ennis needs to find the desire to fight and the ability to execute while in the spotlight.

In Las Vegas, Ennis allowed Jack, a well-marketed, well-connected, but ordinary fighter, beat him. It was up to Farah to prove that he not only belonged in the ring with Jack, but that he was the better fighter. He was not able to do that. Instead he complied with the script that said, on paper, Jack was supposed to win. 

Could Ennis have beaten Jack? It seems like it, but we'll never know. The window of opportunity closed, and Jack moved on with a solid victory over Farah.

Ennis and his team will be shaking their heads about this one for some time to come. Just like us fans. 

After the fight, Farah weighed in on the fight via social media.

"I apologize for my performance and letting you guys down," Ennis wrote. "I have to get my mind right. I'll be back." 




John DiSanto - Las  Vegas - July 19, 2013