Ra’esse Aleem doesn’t anticipate anything resembling an easy fight versus Vic Pasillas on Saturday night.
Aleem realizes the type of opportunity, however, that he could secure by beating Pasillas in their 12-round fight for the WBA interim super bantamweight championship. Topping Pasillas (16-0, 9 KOs) in the second of three fights Showtime will televise would move Aleem (17-0, 11 KOs) into position to challenge Murodjon Akhmadaliev, the WBA’s legitimate 122-pound champion.
“He has the ‘super’ [WBA] belt and he has two belts,” Aleem told BoxingScene.com. “I would love that fight. I want that fight. I’m not sure what’s going on with Brandon Figueroa and [Luis] Nery, you know, and I don’t wanna sit on the shelf for ‘X’ amount of months, waiting for somebody else to get ready. You know, so after I win this fight, I plan on getting back in the gym and trying to get something on the books with Akhmadaliev. That’s who I want next after I get this guy out the way.”
Figueroa (21-0-1, 17 KOs), who owns the WBA’s world super bantamweight championship, is expected to meet Mexico’s Nery (31-0, 24 KOs), the WBC 122-pound champ, in his next fight. If the Nery-Figueroa fight happens, it would leave Aleem as a logical option for Akhmadaliev (8-0, 6 KOs).
“It clears the path,” Aleem said. “And also, Akhmadaliev hasn’t defended his title yet. It’s time for him to prove that he’s a legitimate world champion. When I get through this fight, send the contract.”
Uzbekistan’s Akhmadaliev hasn’t fought since he edged Daniel Roman (28-3-1, 10 KOs) by split decision last January 30 in Miami to win the WBA and IBF titles.
“I seen him and Danny Roman,” said Aleem, a 30-year-old Las Vegas resident raised in Muskegon, Michigan. “I seen that fight. That was a great fight. It really went down to the wire, really could’ve went either way. You know, it wasn’t a blowout win. It was a really good fight. I think Akhmadaliev did enough to win. He looked strong. He went the distance. He threw a lot of punches in bunches. He’s a great fighter.”
Akhmadaliev defeated Los Angeles’ Roman (28-3-1, 10 KOs) by the same score on two cards (115-113, 115-113, 113-115).
Before it airs Aleem-Pasillas, Showtime will open its three-fight telecast with a 12-round, 135-pound battle between Las Vegas’ Rolando Romero (12-0, 10 KOs) and Philadelphia’s Avery Sparrow (10-2, 3 KOs, 1 NC). In the main event, Albuquerque’s Angelo Leo (20-0, 9 KOs) will defend his WBO junior featherweight title for the first time against Philadelphia’s Stephen Fulton (18-0, 8 KOs), Leo’s mandatory challenger.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.