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Home » Jaron Ennis helped convince America’s next superstar to join Matchroom

Jaron Ennis helped convince America’s next superstar to join Matchroom

Jaron Ennis was “a persuading factor” in Jalil Hackett’s decision to join Matchroom USA, the 21-year-old told World Boxing News recently.

Hackett is a widely-revered commodity in the US. He’s the favored sparring partner for thunderous puncher Gervonta Davis, and a source at Premier Boxing Champions regarded him as a cornerstone for Mayweather Promotions and its bid to build the company around extraordinarily gifted American youngsters.

The British boxing promoter Eddie Hearn announced the Hackett signing at the end of May. “Jalil is a fantastic young talent,” Hearn said in a statement sent to World Boxing News at the time.

Hearn’s intention with Hackett is to continue to build him into a star “of the future” as he’s already “a real gem,” he said.

World Boxing News understands Hackett was in demand during the brief period he was on the free agent market after leaving Mayweather Promotions.

“To put it mildly, every promoter that exists reached out” once they were legally able to, Hackett told us.

There were a few factors that led Hackett to rebuff the advances of other executives and sign with Matchroom, though. It was all down to a shared vision, a plan for his career, and, of course, the fact they’d recently signed ‘Boots’ Ennis — a top-tier welterweight with 31 wins (28 knockouts), unbeaten.

“What a signing!” Hearn beamed, having recruited Ennis in April after appreciating his skills from afar “for many years.” He said: “I always believed he would become a pound-for-pound great.”

What Hearn may not have realized back then is that Ennis went on to provide a pathway for him to sign a younger boxer who is perhaps also one day destined for the pound-for-pound charts. This is because the Ennis and Hackett families have been close for a long while.

“I had talks with his team,” Hackett told us. “His dad and my dad are close, and he and I are very close. So once we had talks, that did persuade me a little bit more.”

They’ll even fight on the same card together, with Matchroom USA hosting an event July 13 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Hackett fights Peter Dobson in his Matchroom debut.

Though Ennis was due to box Cody Crowley in a homecoming defense of his IBF world welterweight title, ESPN reported Tuesday that Crowley has withdrawn from the contest because of a retina injury.

It is now unclear who Ennis will box in 38 days’ time, but ESPN reported that the show will still go in, albeit with a late replacement opponent.

When the event does go ahead, it demonstrates one thing — a clear intent from Matchroom USA to promote its quality East Coast fighters alongside one another, with Washington’s Hackett excited to compete on the same night as his Philly friend.

“I love it,” Hackett told us.

Eddie Hearn Wooed Jalil Hackett From The Beginning

Hearn met Hackett in person in April, when they were both in New York for a Riyadh Season press conference formally announcing Terence Crawford’s return to the ring against Israil Madrimov on August 3.

From there, they spoke on the phone, and Hearn told Hackett directly how highly he thought of him. By the day of the signing, they were full of praise for one another.

“I appreciate him for the opportunity because that’s what this is,” Hackett told us. “Nothing will be handed to me, or spoon-fed.”

Hackett said he told Hearn: “I can’t wait to see what the future holds for [both of] us.”

Of course, Hackett didn’t sign with Matchroom because of ‘Boots’ Ennis alone. It was also because Hearn presented a great “opportunity,” the prospect said, combined with “some sort of plan.”

Hackett had similar dialogue with other promoters who attempted to recruit him, he said. He wanted to know what they could offer, how they’d maneuver him through the rankings, and into “one of the top guys” in the entire sport.

Matchroom, Hackett said, “had the best layout, a helluva plan, and a helluva platform.”

Hackett’s Matchroom debut, his ninth bout in total, will air July 13 on DAZN.

Alan Dawson is World Boxing News Lead Writer, a 2 x Sports Journalist of the Year finalist, and 5 x BWAA awards winner. Follow Alan @AlanDawsonSport.