Brooklyn native Sadam Ali successfully answered some serious questions in Madison Square Garden, New York last night on his way to securing a unanimous decision over the rampaging Francisco Santana, to continue his charge up the 147lbs division.
Scores at ringside confirmed the general consensus that it was the superior boxing ability and slick movement from the home fighter that was much preferred, reading 97-93, 97-93 and 100-90.
Ali – subject to intense pressure throughout – boxed superbly off the back foot at times in the face of Santana’s relentless pressure and persistent will to drag the young New Yorker into a war.
The pattern began early as Ali started the brighter of the two, moving effectively to punish the on rushing Santana off of both wings. The Californian looked strong and bullish, but cumbersome, walking into traps that saw him on the end of a couple of decent right hand counters.
As the 2nd round got underway, Santana continued his march without much calculation to his detriment, eating a series of delicious uppercuts off either side of the confident Ali, rocking him two his boots.
Santana learned his lesson to a degree, using the 3rd and 4th round to modify his approach, throwing shots as he moved into range and increasing his head movement to make himself a smaller a target. He found success managing to back his younger opponent into the corner. However his work was sporadic and inaccurate and it was Ali once more who landed the cleaner punches, easily escaping his clutches with his superior footwork.
With Ali well ahead, Santana could be forgiven for losing heart, but his approach is not for changing and in the 5th he had his best round of the fight so far. Pinning Ali into the corner more effectively, this time increasing his work rate to take the round.
What transpired in the 6th and 7th rounds would capture the essence of the fight, as Santana struggled to turn success into any form of dominance, allowing Sadam Ali to take over once more with his smart precision punching, punctuated by a solid looking left hook midway through the 6th.
Santana’s face was looking messy early in the 8th round, but his relentless charge forward continued, determined to work his opponent into exhaustion. For the duration of the round this looked a possibility as Ali took it off.
Once more his success was short lived and it was Ali who would finish as he started – the superior operator – landing a lovely left hook in the last round, which had Santana reeling momentarily, however, it was too late to force the stoppage.
This as impressive from Ali, who remained composed in the face of a storm that could have easily proved overwhelming if his heart and sheer skill levels where anything less than exemplary. That is not to say there is not work to do as Ali is not the finished article, but what he is another exciting addition to the welterweight division already packed to the rafters.
Sadam Ali remains unbeaten and moves on to 22-0 (13KO’s), with Francisco Santana dropping to 22-4-1 (11KO’s).