By Jake Donovan
Sadam Ali is nothing if not a realist. The 24 year-old is well aware of the expectations placed on his career based on his having served on the 2008 U.S. Olympic boxing squad. Fighting out of a media-friendly New York market further magnifies what he has – and hasn’t – so far accomplished.
Unlike most, Ali will be the first in line when it comes to critiquing his career. As he prepares for his second straight fight in which he serves as his own promoter, Ali knows he has so far flown far under the radar.
“I’m at the bottom of the ladder. I don’t feel like I (have) accomplished a lot yet,” Ali (15-0, 9KO) admits in preparing for Saturday’s main event at the Aviator Sports Complex in Brooklyn, NY. “I see myself going very far, but I’m only at about 10% into my career right now.”
The latest hiccup in Ali’s journey comes in his opponent for this weekend. The Brooklyn-based super lightweight was scheduled to face journeyman Jermaine White, but a late switch in opponents now has him going up against less credible Ronnie Warrior Jr (13-7-1, 4KO), who has lost five straight and boasts no wins over credible opposition.
Still, the work put into this show is an investment in Ali’s future. Remaining active while calling his own shots is first and foremost, if only for peace of mind in not serving at another promoter’s mercy.
His role as a promoter – the youngest active promoter in the United States – also allows for his local homeboys to keep busy, rather than have to beg for table scraps elsewhere.
“Not only does it give me the opportunity, but other fighters as well and brings more fights to Brooklyn,” Ali points out, as his main event bout tops a nine-fight card, in which select bouts will air live on pay-per-view ($29.95 SRP).
With just two months left in 2012, it looks as if Ali will have to pay homage to an old saying which originated in Brooklyn – ‘Wait ‘till next year.’ It eventually worked for the Brooklyn Dodgers, but Ali hopes the boxing fraternity will remain as patient.
“I think some of us are accomplishing a lot – like Gary Russell, but not a lot of us,” Ali says in surveying the progress of the ’08 Olympic boxing squad. “We’re doing pretty good so far, but (the industry) expects a lot out of us. They expect us to be stars right away.”
Ali remains a long way from stardom but is beginning to creep towards bona fide prospect status in an always talent-rich 140 lb. division. As both a fighter and promoter, the expectations are to bang the drums loudly, but Ali seeks to map out a long-term plan that will allow others to judge him based on his ability and not any campaign promises.
That run begins with this weekend, where he doesn’t take for granted the fact that his opponent is coming on very late notice.
“I don’t have no message,” Ali states on what his opponent should expect on Saturday. “My message will be said in the ring. I’m not the type that talks smack.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox