Raeese Aleem aims to punch a name for himself Friday night on ShoBox
PHILADELPHIA, PA — As Raeese “The Beast” Aleem put the pears, apples and oranges up on the shelves, rotating product, his mind had a tendency to drift. It was monotonous, frustrating work in the local grocery store in Muskegon, Michigan. Aleem knew he should have been somewhere else. He knew he should have been sparring, or hitting heavy bag. The 29-year-old junior featherweight never let the tedium wear him down. He never let the dream of boxing glory go away.
Aleem will take the first step of that vision when he appears on Showtime’s ShoBox: The New Generation Friday night (10 PM ET/PT) from the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia.
Aleem (15-0, 9 knockouts) is scheduled to take on 29-year-old Adam Lopez in an eight-round junior featherweight fight.
Lopez (19-3-2, 9 KOs) is on a three-fight winning streak. In January 2017, he went into the ninth round against former WBA/IBF junior featherweight titlist Daniel Roman, before being stopped.
So, this will obviously be Aleem’s toughest test. He turned pro in 2011 and his career has had its share of starts and stops. Aleem is hoping his national TV debut on Friday night will be a springboard for larger opportunities ahead.
Aleem says the bright Showtime lights of a national audience won’t affect him.
“I’m approaching it like any other fight,” Aleem said. “I’ll just have more eyes on me, which is the way it always should be every time I step into the ring. Once I actually get there and I see things going on, the excitement is really going to hit me. I know Lopez is a tough guy who’s experienced, and he can go over eight rounds.
“I haven’t seen any film of him, but I know he’s a durable guy.”
Aleem would grow angry seeing fighters he felt that he was better than get opportunities he felt he deserved. There were a couple of two-year lapses when he wasn’t fighting. Instead, he made a living working at Meijer’s grocery store between the ages of 20 to 26, going 9-to-5. He would double-up with jobs at Red Lobster, or other small gigs. His body was there, but his mind was always somewhere else.
It challenged Aleem’s passion and devotion to boxing.
“It was definitely hard, because I saw guys getting their shots, and I would question myself why I wasn’t getting my shot,” Aleem recalled. “I would go to a fitness gym, stay there for 20 minutes and get some work in, but I would always go back the next day. It makes you think. I would spar in other areas, or my friends would have a fight, and I was there and see it.
“Boxing was important to me. I started 3-0 and then went 18 months without a fight. And it happened again, with no fights for two years. It’s when I decided to move to Las Vegas. That’s when thing started taking off for me. I can’t wait.”