By: Sean Crose
“I view every fight as dangerous,” says WBO world super welterweight champion Sadam Ali, 26-1, who will be facing the undefeated Jamie Munguia, 28-0, this Saturday night at the Turning Stone casino in New York state. Although Munguia isn’t a marquee name like Miguel Cotto, the man Ali stunned late last year in a world class upset, Ali makes it clear he isn’t taking his opponent lightly. “It is late notice,” he says, “but I still get to watch. I still get to see who I’m fighting.” Late notice indeed. Ali was originally supposed to fight notable Liverpool native, Liam Smith. Unfortunately for all parties involved, Smith had to pull out of the fight due to a skin condition.
Muniga was able to step up, however. “It’s a little different,” says Ali, “but I’m prepared, regardless.” Ali made it clear that religious considerations were involved in the situation. “ I’ve also got Ramadan coming soon,” he says, “so we really couldn’t wait (two days after the fight, when Ramadan begins).” So, what does Ali have to say about his opponent this Saturday? “This guy has some power shots, great body shots,” he claims, “but I feel that we’re both dangerous.” Things may not have gone exactly as planned, but Ali appears at ease. “He’s a different type of fighter,” he notes of Munguia. “He has power. The height threw me off a little bit. It’s a big change.”
Still, the man comes across as being unperturbed. “I’m ready,” he says. “Late notice, but it’s still two guys in there fighting, so I’m not worried at all.” He may not be worried about Munguia, but the super welterweight division is booming right now, with names like Charlo, Lubin, and Lara dotting the landscape. People are wondering what Ali thinks of possible opposition (provided, of course, he gets past the formidable Munguia). “I think there’s a lot of great guys at that weight. I think some of them talk a little too much,” he says.
Some have reportedly been slow to give Ali credit since his victory over Cotto, claiming Cotto was old or that Ali simply isn’t as good as others in his weight realm. Ali, however, is untroubled (his team is another story). “They can underestimate,” he says, “they can talk.” The thoughts of others clearly don’t cause internal damage in Ali’s case. “When I get in there, it comes down to me and God,” he adds. “I just have to fight smart.”
The Ali-Munguia fight will be aired live on HBO.