Ronald Ellis 17-1-2 (11) believes his hand injuries are behind him as he seeks to make a name for himself in a brand-new weight class in 2020.
The 30-year-old from Lynn, Massachusetts, delivered an impressive performance to comfortably outpoint Immanuwel Aleem 18-2-2 (11) over 10 rounds at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on December 7 in what was supposed to be his middleweight debut.
The career super middleweight said he was on track to make the 160-pound weight limit before the contract was changed to 165-pounds at the last minute.
“I was coming down to middleweight and he’s really a middleweight fighter,” explained Ellis. “He weighed in at 164 on the day at the pre-weigh-in, so once again I was on the B-side. I weighed in at 161 and I was willing to lose the pound but he said he wasn’t willing to lose the four, so I wasn’t willing to go down to ’60. He weighed in at ’64, so we just changed the contract to ’65.
“I felt great [at the weight]. I was actually the bigger guy for once. I was giving up a lot of pounds when I was weighing 168 because I don’t gain too much the next day.
“At ’60 I just got to crunch it a little bit more at training camp, a little bit more sacrifice, then come in and do what I gotta do. But I felt strong in there. I didn’t feel like I lost any power, I kept the speed and if anything got more, it was great.
“I think that’s my new weight class from now on.”
The Ellis-Aleem fight looked a competitive one on paper. Aleem came into the but with a strong form line, holding Matt Korobov to a draw in his previous bout in May after coming on strong in the late rounds. Ellis was looking to bounce back from his first professional defeat after dropping a close majority decision to DeAndre Ware in February.
Apart from a mid-round surge by Aleem, Ellis controlled much of the action and was clearly the busier, more accurate fighter.
This was reflected in two of the judges’ scorecards, who saw the fight 98-92 and 97-93. Surprisingly, the third judge had the fight even at 95-95.
“We trained beautifully for this fight. We knew what we were getting into going in and in truth once I got in there and I had both of my hands, I felt like I outboxed him from the beginning. We just stuck to the gameplan and got the job done,” Ellis said.
“My opinion is that as long as the right guy won, then the right guy won. But the 95-95, I thought it wasn’t even close.
“Luckily I didn’t take my foot off the gas in the later rounds and I kept pressuring him. But I thought I outboxed him and landed double the shots.
“That’s what happens when you come in on the B-side and when you’re in New York – he’s from New York. I didn’t pay too much mind to that.”
The fight served as something of an audition for Ellis as he chases a fight with WBC middleweight champion Jermall Charlo 30-0 (22) who successfully defended his world title against Dennis Hogan in the main event of the Showtime telecast.
“I saw [Charlo vs Hogan] of course. I thought Charlo did his thing. He’s a great fighter, strong, but he did what he’s supposed to do,” said Ellis. “Because Hogan was coming up in weight you know, he was the smaller man. With that being said, I’m as big if not bigger than Charlo and we can get it on.
“I feel like I’m right there with him and the top guys, so we can call them out, but I feel like that in between my next couple of fights, I want to see one of them. We want to see all of them.”
The rangy Ellis, who boasts an impressive wingspan of 77-inches on his 5′10½″ frame, sees his high workrate, reach and accurate punching as the key to handing Charlo his first pro loss.
“Man, I don’t want to give you too much detail, but I think he loads up on his punches too much, always tries to hurt you,” he said.
“I’m a beautiful boxer, I’m just getting back to my groove, getting better. Punches in bunches, he tries with one shot, we’ve just got to work. It will be a dog fight and I love that.”
Ellis plans on fighting at least four times next year as he positions himself to fight for any one of the four major world championships.
“I want to beat Charlo by the end of next year and I’ve just got to prove it. I’m just coming in off a layoff and I’m only going to get better,” he said.
“I’m going to keep busy, jump back in the ring in February, whoever they give me, I just want to stay busy.
“By the end of the year next year I definitely want the big fights with one the top guys.”