HBO kicked off their Saturday slate with a welterweight square-off, pitting Sadam Ali, from Brooklyn, against Francisco Santana, from Cali. Ali impressed mightily, with a smart game plan, which featured high volume, and constant movement. A step-slow Santana couldn’t often enough get a bead on the elusive Brooklyner, and the judges’ scores indicated that: 97-93, 97-93, 100-90, Ali got the nod.
Smart and efficient boxing, this is a man with solid fundamentals who will just keep on winning fights.
The Golden Boy boxer Ali, entering with a 21-0 mark (13 KOs) was 146.8, while the 22-3-1 Santana was 146.4.
In the first, Ali moved, snapped a jab, one-twos, started out sharp. Santana wanted to show off a power edge, but Ali is hard to get a bead on.
In the second, Ali ripped left hooks, and a combo flurry midway through had the crowd buzzing. He had the distance he liked and the pace was kept by Ali.
In the third, we saw Ali staying smart, staying ambulatory, mixing movement of foot with head and torso movement. Santana maybe hoped Ali would tire, stop being so energized. Replay showed Santana landed a couple power shots, but Ali digested them smoothly.
In the fourth, we saw again it’s not easy to cut off the ring on a busy mover like Ali. Chia did get busier, looked to close on Ali quicker.
In the fifth, the distance tightened more. We saw a bit more clinching. Ali did a nice rip and dip, threw and ducked and slid out.
In the sixth, Ali was staying smart, composed, on message. To round seven—we saw Ali being first, and being quick with the counter. Chia would plod forward and Ali would pick him off, again and again. In the eighth, Ali’d smart boxing held my attention. In the ninth, Ali was his best self, moving, ripping two and three punch combos, and having lots of left with a left hook to the side. In the tenth, Ali’s power showed up a couple times. Chants of Ali, yep, always nice to hear that, popped up. We went to the cards…