Most of the boxing world will be watching Brooklyn this weekend, when Mikey Garcia steps into the ring with Adrien Broner. This is an appropriate focus of attention. Garcia vs. Broner is one of the 10 or so biggest fights of 2017.
Far under the radar, in Tuscon, Arizona, welterweight contender Sadam Ali will face off with Johan Perez. It is unlikely that Ali will ever factor in at the top of the 147-pound division. But he is a relevant fighter and a good performance here will keep his candle lit in the sport’s most competitive division.
Ali represented the United States in the 2008 Olympics. He turned professional in 2009 and his career has never really progressed beyond the second-tier level, although he has at times looked impressive. With a 73″ reach, he very much has the frame of natural prizefighter.
Without a doubt, the biggest moment of Ali’s career came in November 2014, when he battered tough Argentine veteran Luis Carlos Abregu. That victory pushed him to the edge of the welterweight top 10.
But in March 2016, Ali faced off with Jessie Vargas. On that night, at least, he was clearly a notch below the division’s best. Vargas dismantled him, knocking him down in Round 8 and finishing him off in Round 9.
Ali has won two fights since, against Saul Corral and Jorge Silva. Perez is a fringe contender at best, but is probably a solid step up from Corral and Silva. He beat Japanese gunslinger Yoshihiro Kamegai in June 2013 and lost a close majority decision to Mauricio Herrera in July 2014. So he has been respectable against very good welterweight fighters.
But in recent years, he has looked less sharp. He got knocked out by Dmitry Mikaylenko in August 2015 and drew with journeyman Pedro Verdu in October 2016. So far in 2017, he has knocked out two opponents, who had a combined record of 8-12.