by David P. Greisman
You can still expect Sadam Ali to fight for a world title next year — the question still remains, however, whom it will come against.
Ali is the mandatory challenger for the World Boxing Organization belt presently held by Tim Bradley. But Anthony Catanzaro, one of Ali’s advisers, says they’re not certain whether it’ll be Bradley vs. Ali in 2016.
“I hope that Bradley decides to fight Sadam. However, I can understand it if he decides not to. Bradley deserves the respect of wanting a bigger money fight after his win vs. [Brandon] Rios,” Catanzaro said.
Bradley stopped Rios in November. He’s been mulling a move up to 154 for some time and had even said in the past that he wanted to face Miguel Cotto while Cotto was still the middleweight champion — a champ fighting at about the junior middleweight limit. Cotto recently lost to Canelo Alvarez, but Bradley’s team no doubt continues to hope to get him a major payday.
Catanzaro acknowledges that Bradley would prefer that course rather than taking on Ali.
“A really big money fight is out there for him. He has fought everyone and even beat a then prime [Junior] Witter in the U.K. to win one of his titles (which most every top fighter avoided fighting at the time),” Catanzaro said. “I doubt he wants a young, hungry, undefeated mandatory challenger like Sadam.”
That doesn’t leave Ali without options. He’ll be in line for a title shot no matter what. Catanzaro said he and the rest of Ali’s team will speak with Golden Boy Promotions and expect that Ali will fight for the title in the first quarter of 2016.
Ali last fought in April in what was his only appearance of 2015, topping Francisco Santana by unanimous decision and moving to 22-0 with 13 KOs. He was in talks to face Jessie Vargas before the year was out. Vargas opted against the bout due to concerns over whether he would get fair judging fighting in Ali’s home state of New York.
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