Sadam Ali Stays Undefeated with Solid Win Over Fancisco Santana at MSG

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Sadam Ali Stays Undefeated with Solid Win Over Fancisco Santana at MSG

After scoring a ninth round TKO victory over Luis Carlos Abregu in November at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., boxer Sadam Ali was in the unfamiliar role as the favorite in the 10-round welterweight bout against Francisco Santana on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.

Not one to disappoint the hometown crown, the undefeated Ali (22-0, 13 knockouts) outboxed Santana (22-4-1, 11 KOs) for the majority of the bout, earning him the unanimous decision over his opponent as part of the undercard of the Wladimir Klitschko-Bryant Jennings  heavyweight Championship main event.

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Brooklyn Welterweight Sadam Ali ices eye after a nice win over Francisco Santana on Saturday at MSG.

Ali, a Brooklyn native, said he was able to use his own past experience as an underdog to stay humble.

“Well, in my last fight I was the underdog, with Abregu, and him (Santana) coming in, he’s the underdog,” the 2008 Olympian explained at the press conference. “So I knew that feeling. When you’re the underdog, you’re going to want it more. I didn’t understate him, though, because I knew what he was going to come with. So that helped me.”

While Santana came on a little stronger in the later rounds, the judges’ scores of 97-93, 97-93 and 100-90 still had Ali by wide margins. The CompuBox punch stats favored Ali as well, who landed 196 of 588 total punches. Santana connected on 153 of 720. Ali also landed more power shots (149 of 351) than Santana (117 of 484).

Ali said he was able to execute his game plan for the most part, but feels he has room for improvement.

“I felt like I could have been better, but nobody’s perfect,” Ali said. “I went in there throwing jabs, I moved when I had to, and I hit him with some hard punches when I had to.”

Ali’s trainer Andre Rozier was pleased with his performance at the Garden, saying his pupil displayed many of the wonderful weapons he has at his disposal. But he said Ali still needs a little more fine-tuning before he’s totally dominate.

“He showed his ability to dictate policy in the ring, his footwork was fantastic, and his defense was on par,” Rozier said. “There are little adjustments we have to make to make sure he’s doing these things all the time, such as improving that jab that I was really happy with tonight. But I want more. I want to see him firing that jab at will, controlling every moment that he’s in that ring.”

Overall, however, Ali said it was his mettle that ultimately helped him emerge victorious over a skilled combatant such as Santana.

“In that fight with somebody like Santana, a tough fighter like that, to be a special fighter you got to have it all; you got to have that heart,” the 26-year-old pugilist said. “If I was a fighter without a heart, I would have gotten ran through that fight. I had to dig in, and that’s what I did—I dug in.”

With his career seemingly hitting its stride, Ali believes he needs more challenging competitors like Santana in order for him to reach new heights.

“I’m still learning,” he said. “I’m still young, and I need fights like this to take me to that next level.”

About the author

Jerry Del Priore is a veteran freelance sports writer from Brooklyn, New York, who covers a variety of professional, college and high school sports for a number of print and digital publications. In addition, Del Priore is the author of Running Through Roadblocks: Inspirational Stories of Twenty Courageous Athletic Warriors, available on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.

View all articles by Jerry Del Priore
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