by James Slater – Last night, on the under-card of the huge Shane Mosley-Floyd Mayweather Junior fight, another member of Team-Mayweather got the action started in a most sensational and exciting way. 30-year-old Moroccan-born, Las Vegas-based southpaw Said Ouali met once-beaten 26-year-old Argentine Hector David Saldivia in a WBA welterweight title eliminator.
Trained by Roger Mayweather, Ouali, known as “Prince,” said pre-fight how he’d never even heard of Saldivia. The comment was not meant in a disrespectful way, but inside of a few seconds Ouali knew very well who his opponent was and how dangerous he can be!
Mere seconds into the scheduled 12-rounder, Saldivia got home with a right hook to the temple area of Ouali, sending him down and in quite bad shape. Ouali, looking as though his senses really had been scrambled, beat the count, but he was under more fire upon doing so. Another right hand to the head wobbled him, as Saldivia, known as “El Tigre” went for the quick finish. Hurt in a corner, Ouali managed to fight his way out, and then, as he was under attack on the ropes on the other side of the ring, the older man countered with a right hand that sent Saldivia crashing to the mat.
The fight, one that had looked like a lost cause for the southpaw, had been turned right around. A left hand got home for Ouali, before another right put the Argentine down for a second time. Despite beating the count, Saldivia’s legs had gone and the referee, Russel Mora, waved the fight off – the time was 1-minute and 47-seconds. Ouali, having scored a quite spectacular win, climbed on the ropes and let loose with a triumphant scream.
A sizzling little one-round action fight, this welterweight shootout is the kind of fight fans want to see on an under-card as they await the big bout of the evening. Maybe one day Ouali will be in a big headliner of his own. Having now won two in a row since his desperately close split decision loss to the unbeaten, soon-to-be WBC 147-pound interim title challenger Selcuk Aydin (a fight that Aydin says was his toughest yet), Ouali could well be rewarded with a “world” title shot of his own sooner rather than later. Having only been stopped once as a pro, by Kermit Cintron way back in 2001, Ouali is now 27-3(19) and definitely one to watch.
Saldivia, who entered last night’s fight having won his previous 12 bouts, will have to get well and truly back in line. The Argentine puncher, who was ranked #4 by the WBA before yesterday’s loss, is now 33-2(26). It could be a long road back for “El Tigre,” but he has avenged a stoppage loss (to Jorge Daniel Miranda) by a KO of his own before; so who knows.