By Ryan Maquiñana
Fresh off his dominant 12-round unanimous decision over Curtis Stevens in Santa Monica, California, Hassan N’Dam has now set his sights on the winner of Wednesday’s IBF middleweight title bout between incumbent Sam Soliman and former holder Jermain Taylor.
With N’Dam now the No. 1 contender for the belt, manager Gary Hyde was asked if they had a preference on who they would rather face next.
“I don’t care who Hassan fights after that performance. He can beat any middleweight in the world,” Hyde told BoxingScene.com.
N’Dam, a boxer by trade, was shocked to learn right before his bout, which was staged by his own promoter King Sports Worldwide, that the ring was far from cavernous. Rather, it was quite tiny to the naked eye -- more suited for a brawl, which was more in tune with Stevens’ game plan of getting inside.
“That a major slip-up on our side,” Hyde admitted. “We should’ve had a bigger ring and it was too late before we saw it. When [Hyde client Guillermo] Rigondeaux fought [Willie] Casey in Dublin, he got a 22-foot ring. Now we’re here against a bigger puncher in a 16-foot ring.”
However, N’Dam still expertly waded in and out of trouble for the majority of the 12 rounds, with his swashbuckling brilliance in the smaller ring serving to demonstrate his superb boxing skills even further.
“Yes, it was,” Hyde said. “You corner him, and he can still fight you and hurt you. He has some serious power in his right hand. The only time Stevens had any success was when he jumped on him and crowded him in the 12th, but we were well ahead.”
Should N’Dam’s upcoming title shot go to a purse bid, his promoter will be a definite player in the process. When asked where he would want to hold the fight, Hyde was unequivocal.
“Back here in California,” Hyde said. “This is his home now. You see the reception he got here. This is what boxing needs, the top middleweights fighting each other.”
Ryan Maquiñana is the Boxing Insider at Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and the Editor-in-Chief of Norcalboxing.com. He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @RMaq28 or email him at rmaquina[email protected].