Brooklyner Sadam Ali gets the opportunity of his boxing lifetime when he gets a crack at a certified masher, Luis Carlos Abregu, on the Bernard Hopkins-Sergey Kovalev card.
Some might think this is a ‘be careful what you ask for, you just might get it’ sort of bout for young Ali, a 2008 US Olympian advised by Anthony Catanzaro, advisor to Paul Malignaggi. Sounds to me like Team Ali has eyes wide open and knows what Abregu is, though, and believes that the potential upside to a bout slated to unfold in Atlantic City on Nov. 8, underneath the Hopkins-Kovalev scrap, is semi-massive. HBO will show the tussle.
Team Ali consists also of father David Ali, and Brooklyn attorney Walter Kane.
“Abregu has the eraser in his right hand,” Catanzaro told me on Wednesday night. “He has fought better competition. But Sadam can outbox him, has faster hands, faster feet. Sadam has to establish range, distance, keep turning Abregu. This is a great platform for Sadam.”
David Ali admits that Abregu is a tall mountain to climb. “Yeah, it’s a big step,” he told me. “More like twenty steps up.” Indeed, Mr. Ali candidly admitted to me that he will be a tad nervous in AC. “Oh yes,” he said. “I love my son, and when he gets hit, I get hit.”
Abregu has a 36-1 (29 KOs) record, which computes to a 78% KO percentage. The Argentine’s top win came against Thomas Dulorme in 2012, or Antonin Decarie in his second to last fight, depending on who you ask. He last gloved up, and got a TKO8 win, over JC Prada in April.
Ali, promoted by Golden Boy after years as an independent, sports a 20-0 mark, with 12 KOs (60%). The 25-year-old fought August 9, and got a win over Jeremy Bryan.
Another Catanzaro client, middleweight Matthew Macklin, is gloving up Saturday. The Irishman, who runs a boxing gym in Spain, has a 30-5 record. He’ll be a support staff on a card topped by Arthur Abraham in Germany. “Mack the Knife” we thought was maybe looking at an all-Irish middleweight showdown which could fill a stadium over there, against Andy Lee. Saturday, he should handle 12-4 Jose Yebes. And if that goes to form, he’ll likely take part in a WBC eliminator with Argentine Jorge Sebastian Heiland, a lefty who has never fought in the US. The WBC ranks him at No. 6, while Macklin is No. 9. Miguel Cotto has the WBC belt, and Marco Antonio Rubio holds the WBC’s interim crown, for the record. The winner of the Macklin-Heiland fight would get a crack at the real-deal WBC title.