Saturday, May 27, 2023  |



Klitschko-Jennings undercard: Sadam Ali, Charles Martin prevail

Fighters Network


Photo by Al Bello / Bongarts-Getty Images

Photo by Al Bello / Bongarts-Getty Images

NEW YORK – Sadam Ali, talking behind a lumped-up, discolored mask, knew what he did wrong – and he won. It just didn’t look like it. The Brooklyn-based welterweight is trying to build a fan base in his hometown. He’s a solid, fundamentally sound fighter who does well backing up. He doesn’t do any one thing spectacularly well. His punch output is economical.

But he knows he has to do more than just win, which is what he did against Francisco Santana (22-4-1, 11 knockouts) Saturday at Madison Square Garden on the Wladimir Klitschko-Bryant Jennings undercard.

Ali (22-0, 13 knockouts) remained undefeated, according to judges John Basile and Don Trella, who each scored it 97-93 for Ali, and judge Alan Rubenstein, who had Ali a winner by 100-90.

“I learned that I have to go 12 hard rounds, Santana is a great fighter, a hard fighter and I knew from the beginning I couldn’t sleep on him and I had to put on the pressure,” Ali said. “We gave the fans what they wanted. I don’t know if I got off to a slow start. In my mind, Santana was going to pick it up.”

The scored it 97-93 for Ali. But in the latter rounds, with Santana coming forward, and Ali backing up, there was a spattering of boos from the Madison Square Garden audience.

Punch stats revealed Santana was the more active fighter, throwing a total of 720 punches and landing 153 (21-percent), while Ali threw 588 punches and landed 196 (33-percent). The jab was the key for Ali, who connected on 149 of 351 jabs (42-percent) to Santana’s 117 of 484 (24-percent).

In a scheduled 10-round heavyweight bout, Charles “Prince” Martin remained undefeated at 22-0-1 (19 KOs) with a quick ouster of Tom Dallas (17-5, 12 KOs). It was stopped at 2:56 of the first, after the southpaw Martin landed a right hook that opened a cut over the left eye of Dallas.

“The hook opened the cut, and the straight left hand stopped the fight,” said Martin, 29. “You know, some people say you learn a lot from losses, but I actually learn with my success, because I’m learning every day. I haven’t been competing that long. I didn’t turn pro until I was 22, because I didn’t start boxing until I was 19. I walked a different path early in my life. I sold drugs and hung with the fellas and toted pistols. I was a thug and I changed my whole life around.

“But it bothered me that they didn’t play my ring-walk music tonight. And my team forgot my NABA heavyweight belt. I was really mad. They had the wrong entrance music and I was on fire. Maybe they have to play the wrong music more often for my fights.”

Martin stuck around to watch the Klitschko fight against Jennings.

“This is the stage that I want to be on,” Martin said. “I want to be a part of something like this, and winning the way I did in front of a big crowd like this means a lot.”

In a scheduled eight-round cruiserweight fight, Iago Kiladze (23-1, 16 KOs) won a fourth-round TKO over Rayford Johnson (11-18, 6 KOs) and Kenneth Sims (6-0, 2 KOs) remained unbeaten with a sixth-round unanimous decision over Luis Rodriguez (3-3, 2 KOs).