Gomez Praises Ali’s Handling of Short-Notice Bout
Sadam Ali’s first defense of the WBO Junior Middleweight Championship was delivered a blow several weeks ago when it was announced that intended challenger Liam Smith had to pull from the bout.
But as reported by Boxing Scene, when Ali was approached with the opportunity to face Jaime Munguia, Ali wasted no time in accepting his replacement opponent, which said a lot to his promoter, Golden Boy Promotions President Eric Gomez.
“It’s difficult at this level when you lose a fight two weeks out,” Gomez said. “And Sadam was great. He could’ve gotten picky. He could’ve said, ‘I’m the champion. I need it to be this type of guy. If not, I’m not fighting.’ But they came to me and said, ‘Just save it. Do whatever you can. I don’t care who it is.’ And we went down the line and made calls, and we came across [Munguia]. And we said, ‘Look, he’s dangerous. But it saves the show. He’s available. He’s been training.’ He’s been training, so I spoke [Ali’s father] and he said, ‘Grab him.’
The fight can represent an opportunity for both men. For Ali, it is a chance to show his title victory over Miguel Cotto back in December — Cotto’s final professional bout — was no fluke. For Munguia, it is an opportunity to pull off a big upset, become an undefeated world champion, and show how dangerous he is as a fighter. Munguia was a nominee to replace Canelo Alvarez for Gennady Golovkin’s May 5 title defense.
“There was no hesitation. [Ali] wanted to fight,” Gomez said. “[Ali’s father] said, ‘Sadam’s been training hard. It’s a little unfair, what happened. But we understand boxing. We can’t be picky right now. Get whoever you see fit. We’re ready for anybody.’
It tells me a lot about Sadam’s confidence, his mentality. That Cotto fight really matured him. It made him better. There were a lot of doubters out there. I don’t think anybody gave him a chance to win that fight, and it took him to another level now, mentally. And I Iove that about him, that he was willing to pretty much take on anybody.
The weigh-in for Ali vs. Munguia can be viewed here:
Original Story: Boxing Scene