by David P. Greisman
You donít expect to see an undefeated American prospect and former Olympian not signed to a promoter more than three years into his pro career, but that is Sadam Aliís situation, a situation of the 23-year-oldís choosing.
Ali says he hasnít gotten the right promotional offer yet, and rather than sitting on the sidelines, heís putting on his own shows and putting himself in the main event. His first card is set for June 2 at the Aviator Sports Complex in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Ali, a welterweight with 14 wins and 8 knockouts, spoke with BoxingScene.com in early April.
BoxingScene.com: We havenít seen you in a while. Whatís been going on?
Ali: ďLast time I fought was Sept. 11, so itís been a long time. Iím a free agent right now, so Iím by myself, so sometimes itís hard to get fights. Iíve been working on starting my own promotions. I got my license now, and I got my fight coming up June 2. Itís going to be in Brooklyn, New York. Itís my first time doing my own card, my own promotion, and Iím excited. Iím ready to come back.Ē
BoxingScene.com: Why did you decide to go into promoting yourself?
Ali: ďJust to build my career and help myself, and also give opportunity to others to build their careers.Ē
BoxingScene.com: Why promote yourself as opposed to signing with another promoter, though?
Ali: ďAs of right now, Iím not in a position to sign yet. Iím not ready to sign. Iím not getting the right deals, on top of that. So Iím going to build up my record and learn from experience when I get my fights. And Iím going to eventually sign from a promoter. Iím not promoting to promote me forever or to promote other fighters long-term. Itís just for now, so eventually I will sign with a big-time promoter when the time is right. Hopefully when that happens, everything will go good.Ē
BoxingScene.com: You grew up in Brooklyn. Whatís it going to be like promoting at home?
Ali: ďItís great. As a professional Iíve never fought in my hometown. Itís a great feeling. Iíve never fought in Brooklyn. My first time is also my first time as a main event, so Iím excited about that. Everybody can come out and watch me fight, everybody who canít make it to my fights that I had in Jersey, and the last one I had in Poland. Now itís in Brooklyn and they can come out in watch.Ē
BoxingScene.com: Tell me about the additional responsibilities, everything extra you have to do now beyond just getting ready for a fight.
Ali: ďWell I got to make sure everythingís right. I got to promote. I got to make sure there are posters all over the place. I got to make sure that the media gets this. And of course I have a good matchmaker to make sure nothing happens to the card and everything goes well. Thereís a lot of thing that youíve got to do, but I have my father thatís really taking control of everything. For me, I really get to lay back, train hard and stay focused. I got my eyes on things, but my dadís really in control of everything.Ē
BoxingScene.com: How much more is this adding to your life, or is it kind of hands off except for when it needs to be otherwise?
Ali: ďThis is what I need. I donít want to be one of those fighters that are at home without a fight and then stuck, or even signed with a promoter and canít fight because the promís giving them a fight but itís not a fight that they want, so they have to sit back on the sidelines. Some fighters just sit for years. I donít want that to be me. So me having this promotion is really good. Itís going to keep me busy. Itís a great thing.Ē
BoxingScene.com: Do you know who your opponentís going to be yet?
Ali: ďWeíre still actually working on that, just working on getting opponents. Itís not easy.Ē
BoxingScene.com: What are you looking for, for this first fight back this year?
Ali: ďI just want to perform well and keep boxing alive, of course, and have everybody entertained, and to put on a show like I know I can.Ē
BoxingScene.com: You mentioned keeping busy. What about increasing the level of opposition over the course of this year as well?
Ali: ďWell, yeah. Thatís definitely something thatís on my mind. But Iím going to do that when the time is right, when I get the right opportunity If Iím fighting on Showtime, if Iím fighting on ESPN or even on big-time HBO, then thatís when Iíll pick up the opposition. It really makes no sense to fight real good opposition in a show that Iím not really getting paid much, that the purse is not right. Itís a lot to be giving up for nothing. When the time is right, when itís on TV, when everybody can actually see, thatís when Iím going to step up, and Iím going to show.Ē
BoxingScene.com: Youíve got this card in June. Assuming everything goes the way you feel it should go, when would you want to be in the ring next after that?
Ali: ďAfter June 2, I plan on being back in the ring within maybe a month and a half, maybe two, at the most, three. I donít plan on staying out longer than that.Ē
BoxingScene.com: I know youíre now self-promoting, but have you maintained ties with Main Events, whose shows youíd been on before, and could still potentially land on one of their cards?
Ali: ďYeah, we still have some kind of relationship with Main Events. I might be on one of their cards one day, but Iím not sure yet. Weíll see what happens. Itís up to them.Ē
BoxingScene.com: What youíre doing isnít new, but itís definitely not done too often. I think about B.J. Flores ó he did three straight cards in Missouri rather than wait for his promoter to put him on shows. Itís definitely something other fighters are turning to.
Ali: ďYeah, and I think Iím the youngest to ever do it, too. So Iím making history in three ways, I guess first Arab-American to represent the United States in the Olympics. First coming out of New York to make it to the Olympics since Riddick Bowe. And the youngest promoter. Itís a good feeling. Itís pretty good. Weíll see how far I go. Iíll go as far as God takes me.Ē
BoxingScene.com: Any final thoughts?
ďI want to thank everybody thatís supporting me, fans, friends, family that have been there for me. And for the people who donít know me, you will know about me very soon. Iím bringing new things to boxing. And Iím excited for everybody to see what Iíve got.Ē
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter at twitter.com/fightingwords2 or on Facebook at facebook.com/fightingwordsboxing, or send questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.orgTags: Sadam Ali