by David P. Greisman
Sadam Ali had been waiting for a moment like this. He hadn’t been in a rush, however.
The 24-year-old welterweight prospect (and 2008 Olympian representing the United States) has signed with Golden Boy Promotions, according to a news release sent out on June 23.
Ali has been a pro boxer since the beginning of 2009 and has fought 16 times, but this was his first time signing on with a promoter. He had worked with Main Events for several fights earlier in his career but had not been an official member of that stable. Most recently he took to self-promoting, putting on a pair of shows in his native Brooklyn, the last one coming in October 2012.
And it’s in that borough of New York City that he hopes to appear again soon, this time on a card put on by one of the sport’s leading promoters. Ali, who is 16-0 with 10 knockouts, spoke to BoxingScene.com on June 27 about his big news and what he thinks will come next.
BoxingScene.com: What does your signing with Golden Boy mean to you?
Ali: “It means a lot to me. I’m ready to step up. I’m ready to take the biggest stage and I know Golden Boy’s going to take me there, so I’m excited about that. I’ve seen what Golden Boy can do with other fighters. If you perform right, they’re going to be able to put you where you’re supposed to be put. Golden Boy has that power, as long as I do what I know I can do.”
BoxingScene.com: You took your time signing with a promoter. Why did you wait this long to sign?
Ali: “It was a couple of reasons. First, I wasn’t in a rush, and I’ve learned from a lot of boxers where they sign a contract right off the bat for just the money, you know, and then their career is not so good. They’re not ready, and the contract isn’t right. That was one of the reasons why I waited. And also I wanted to get all the experience I wanted to get before I actually signed with somebody. I wanted to sign with somebody when I was physically and mentally ready. I’m ready right now. That’s why I signed.”
BoxingScene.com: You also tried promoting on your own. How did that experience go, and did it make you think, “Maybe I should let somebody else do the work”?
Ali: “It was pretty good for me. I had a good team behind me. I had a lot of time to stay focused on training and getting ready for my fights. So it wasn’t stressful at all for me. It’s just that the position that I was in, it’s hard to get the fighters that I need to step up. All those fighters that I want to beat are signed to those promoters, so it wouldn’t work out for me, promoting myself.”
BoxingScene.com: When you sat down with Golden Boy’s executives, what kind of promises did they make, and what direction did they say they’ll put you in now that you’re with them?
Ali: “They know what I bring to the table, and they said that they’ll get me to where I want to be, which is being a world champion. And that’s not a problem. That’s one big thing they talked about. I don’t plan on having a short term with Golden Boy. I’m very confident in them. I want it to be long term. I plan on staying with them for the rest of my career, as long as everything goes good, which I know it will be. So if it goes that way, then I don’t plan on going nowhere. If I’m being treated right, then why would I leave?”
BoxingScene.com: I know another part of it comes with you being from Brooklyn and Golden Boy promoting in Brooklyn. Are they talking about you fighting at Barclays Center?
Ali: “Oh yeah, definitely. I would have to fight there. This is my home. This would be the greatest place for me to fight, and they know that.”
BoxingScene.com: Have you seen fights there yet as a spectator?
Ali: “I’ve been to at least five to six fights there, maybe almost all of them. It’s nice. It’s beautiful in there. Just to have me in there is going to be even bigger.”
BoxingScene.com: You’ve been a pro for a little over four years now, with 16 fights. What do you need to do for your next few fights to get to where you want to be?
Ali: “Just dominate. Show everything I have. Show my speed, show my power, my heart, my skills, and of course my mental game in there. You got to be smart. You can’t be a world champion if you’re not using your mind in the ring. It’s not just about throwing hard punches and fast punches. You’ve got to know what you’re doing in there, and I have that, and I’m ready to show it.”
BoxingScene.com: What level of opponent do you think you’re ready for?
Ali: “I don’t have any names, but I’m ready for the top 10. Whoever Golden Boy puts in front of me, that’s who I’m ready for.”
BoxingScene.com: How often do you think you’re going to be fighting per year?
Ali: “Per year, I’m not too sure. That’s up to Golden Boy. But I see me fighting at least two to three times a year, I’d say.”
BoxingScene.com: When are we going to see you in the ring next?
Ali: “I was scheduled to fight July 13 on the Hopkins card, but that card got canceled. So I’m not too sure when my next fight is, but most likely in August.”
BoxingScene.com: What else do you want people to know?
Ali: “I just want everybody to know I want to thank them for supporting me, and if they were waiting for me to fight and to step up and to really shine, then that time is coming. It’s very near. I’m more than ready, and I can’t wait to entertain, like I always do.”
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter @fightingwords2 or send questions/comments via email at [email protected]