Luis Carlos Abregu took on Brooklyner Sadam Ali in the HBO TV opener from Boardwalk Hall on Saturday night, in a tangle of welters, and scored a heckuva an upset special. This was a high risk, high reward tussle, and Ali came away with a load of chips. He boxed super smart, and made a rusty Abregu look like a less accomplished pro than he is. He stopped a dog tired Abregu two minutes into the ninth, and he can savor a heavy buzz. This was a rock solid upset, and his team deserves credit, in this age of safety first, for taking a risk, and coming up aces.
The 30 year-old Abregu, from Argentina, came in at 36-1 (WBC No. 2 welter) while the 26-year-old Ali (WBO Intl champ), a 2008 US Olympian, was 20-0 entering.
In the first, Ali jabbed, moved, and shook off a left hook midway through. Abregu was getting warmed up.In the second, Ali popped a jab, more of a stay away from me jab. The crowd booed some. Ali stayed smart, popped and slid away. He moved his head, and his feet, and won the round. He did get stung a tad late and Abregu perked up.
In the third, the crowd booed to start the round, because of lack of action. Movement won the round again for Ali. In the fourth, Ali’s legs were the difference maker again. Abregu missed badly, often.
In the fifth, Ali got bolder, looking to bang with the right. In the sixth, down went Abregu. A right hand did it. Ali got bold, started attacking. He caught Abregu coming in.
In the seventh, we heard Harold Lederman call the fight a mismatch and Max Kellerman give Ali credit, for his coming out party effort.
In the eighth, a left hook by Ali wowed the crowd. Abregu stood straight and tall and ate clean shots more often by now. Ali still moved a bunch, and we wondered if he’d tire late. Trainer Andre Rozier told Ali to stay smart, use a jab, and the one-two, not get silly.
In the ninth, Abregu got wobbled by a heavy left. His right eye was cut, his legs looked heavy. He went down, with 1:26 left. Ali hammered him, and then the ref stepped in. It was over. Bigtime upset.