UNCASVILLE, Connecticut – Ra’eese Aleem’s gamble paid off Saturday night at Mohegan Sun.
The 30-year-old super bantamweight contender knew he needed to face an undefeated fighter in this bout to get where he feels he belongs in the 122-pound division. Aleem also believed he would knock out previously undefeated southpaw Vic Pasillas.
Aleem made good on that promise in the second fight Showtime televised from Mohegan Sun Arena. Aleem dropped Pasillas during the second, sixth, ninth and 11th rounds on his way to winning by 11th-round knockout.
Aleem, of Muskegon, Michigan, remained unbeaten (18-0, 12 KOs) and won the WBA interim super bantamweight championship. Pasillas, of Redwood City, California, suffered his first professional defeat (16-1, 9 KOs).
“I feel great,” Aleem said during a post-fight press conference. “You know, I fought a true warrior. You know, an undefeated fighter coming off a knockout victory. A very, very, very tough opponent. I stayed poised. … I’m not only glad that I won, but I dominated. I wanted to put an exclamation point on my performance.”
His impressive victory should move Aleem into position to fight for a legitimate 122-pound championship in his next fight. The Las Vegas resident is willing to challenge the winner of the main event Saturday night, Angelo Leo-Stephen Fulton, or any of the other champions in their division.
Aleem clipped Pasillas with a pair of two-punch combinations within the first 25 seconds of the 11th round. Another right-left combination by Aleem dropped Pasillas for the fourth time in the fight, with 2:03 to go in the 11th round.
Referee Danny Schiavone immediately stopped the fight, exactly one minute into the 11th round.
Aleem’s left hand backed up Pasillas 27 seconds into the 10th round.
Pasillas landed a left that made Aleem move away from him about 15 seconds into the ninth round. Aleem came back quickly by dropping Pasillas to one knee with 2:33 to go in the ninth.
That marked the third time in the fight that Aleem knocked Pasillas to the canvas.
Pasillas’ right hook landed flush with just over 50 seconds to go in the eighth round. A left hand by Pasillas appeared to buzz Aleem with about 25 seconds remaining in that eighth round.
About 50 seconds into the seventh round, Aleem buckled Pasillas’ legs with a left hook. Aleem blasted Pasillas with a hard right to his body just before the midway mark of the seventh.
Aleem knocked Pasillas to the seat of his trunks with a left hook exactly a minute into the sixth round. Pasillas complained that Aleem hit him behind his head, but Schiavone counted it as a knockdown.
Aleem landed a thudding right to Pasillas’ body about 50 seconds into the fifth round. With just under a minute remaining in the fifth, Aleem landed two left hooks and a straight right hand that backed up Pasillas.
A left hook by Aleem knocked Pasillas off balance about 25 seconds into the fourth round.
After suffering a knockdown during the second round, Pasillas pressed the action in what was a very competitive third round.
Aleem dropped Pasillas with a right hand with 1:12 to go in the second round. That shot sent Pasillas to the seat of his trunks.
A stunned Pasillas got up, but Aleem knocked him off balance again with another right hand later in the second round. Aleem’s left hook seemed to affect Pasillas late in the second round as well.
Pasillas started strong and landed two left hands in the first half of the first round. Aleem responded by landing a left hook that backed Pasillas into the ropes with just under 10 seconds left in that opening round.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.