Tuesday, December 05, 2023  |


Kareem Hackett expects boxing skills to pay off against fellow unbeaten Clay Waterman

Kareem Hackett - Photo by Francisco Salazar
Fighters Network

Kareem Hackett hopes to accomplish a few goals tonight.

Hackett wants to come victorious and put the light heavyweight division on notice. 

The unbeaten Hackett will face Clay Waterman in a clash of unbeaten prospects tonight at the Whitesands (also known as the ProBox TV) Events Center in Plant City, Florida. The 10-round bout will precede the main event bout between fringe junior welterweight contenders Batyrzhan Jukembayev and Hugo Alberto Roman.

Both fights will stream live on the ProBox TV app. and YouTube page (8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT).

Hackett (11-0, 6 knockouts), who resides in Toronto, Canada, last fought on May 24, breaking down Christian Thomas before knocking him out in the fifth round. In his previous fight on May 14 of last year, Hackett defeated journeyman Josue Obando by decision over six one-sided rounds.

The 32-year-old will face a fighter in Waterman (11-0, 8 KOs), a hard-hitting fighter from Logan City, Australia. In his last bout on June 9, Waterman defeated Kenmon Evans by decision in a clash of unbeaten fighters.

Waterman is the best fighter Hackett has faced thus far (and on paper), but Hackett is ready and confident to come out with a result after tonight.

“I just have the better boxing ability,” Hackett told The Ring Tuesday afternoon. “He’s an undersized light heavyweight. I’m the better boxer and I’m a full-sized light heavyweight. 

Hackett has recently fought on a few Golden Boy Promotions cards. He appreciates the opportunities to fight on those cards, and is currently a promotional free agent. 

Describing himself as a strong boxer-puncher, Hackett states he can adapt to anything his opponent brings to the ring. 

“I believe I have a lot to offer,” said Hackett, who is managed by David Suh. “I haven’t had the chance to show it just yet. In my last fight, I approached my opponent as a boxer-puncher. I can definitely punch. 

“I can fight in any way possible and it all depends on what my opponent brings. If my opponent offers the body, I can attack there and assert myself. If he presses the action, I can outbox and fight off my back foot. I’m super versatile.”

Hackett has also benefited from training in Southern California. He has had the fortune of sparring the likes of WBA world light heavyweight titleholder and unbeaten super middleweight contender David Benavidez. 

He trains alongside and has also sparred against former WBO world super middleweight titleholder and world light heavyweight title challenger Gilberto Ramirez. Hackett attributes his development to sparring against Ramirez, Bivol, and Benavidez, but also gained a lot of insight to the sport through observing Ramirez and what he does in the gym over the last several months. 

 “We’ve trained together for several years,” said Hackett. “I’ve learned a lot from him. He’s a great fighter, a great southpaw. I’m also a southpaw. We’re two different southpaws and we do great work together. He’s definitely made me better, and I hope I’ve made him better. These last four years have been beneficial. 

“I’m a proud Canadian and I love Canada, but I had to go where the action is, which is in Southern California and Las Vegas. If you want to do this at a very high level, you need to spar with the likes of Bivol and Benavidez.”

Despite only having 12 pro fights, including the clash against Waterman, Hackett believes he is ready to take that next step towards contender status. 

A win over Waterman could give him a top 15 ranking with the WBA. A regional title belt is on the line tonight as well. 

Benavidez hopes a solid win over Waterman could translate to a clash against Bivol or any of the other top fighters at 175 pounds.

“It’ll happen fast. A win (tonight) will put me in a realistic position to challenge for the WBA title in the near future. I don’t know what’s going to happen to him, but I’m doing my part to contend one day. 

“I’m hoping to make a big statement (against Waterman). I’ve arrived on this stage. The light heavyweights are going to have to deal with me.” 

Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]