Sadam Ali may have truly arrived tonight in his HBO debut, as he dominated and stopped Argentine veteran Luis Carlos Abregu, scoring two knockdowns before the referee stopped it at 1:54 of round nine.
Ali (21-0, 13 KO) had struggled a bit in his last fight, an August win over Jeremy Bryan, a split decision that aired on Showtime Extreme. But the 26-year-old Ali stepped his game up big time for this one, as he had a bigger audience and a real shot to impress some viewers tuning in for what should be one of the most-watched fights of the year.
The fight started very slow, with Ali pecking his way through the first few rounds, feeling out Abregu (36-2, 29 KO) and looking to get his timing down. Once he got comfortable, he turned up the speed and pushed the pace, and the lumbering Abregu just couldn't do much of anything with him.
Ali was able to easily outbox the slower, more one-dimensional Abregu, showcasing his skills more than ever before. Having seen Abregu fight a few times, this was easily the worst I've seen him perform, and that's a credit to Ali outclassing him.
In round six, Ali clipped Abregu with a right hand as Abregu leaned in, flooring him on a flash knockdown. But he put him down hard in round nine, a delayed reaction of sorts as Abregu suddenly hit his knees after a couple of good, clean shots from Ali, who charged in for the finish.
Referee Harvey Dock let the fight continue, at which point Ali raced in to land a couple more straight right hands, before Dock called it off, having rightly seen enough.
Ali landed 105 of 341 (31%) of his total punches, including 38% (73 of 190) of his power shots. Abregu landed just 66 of 375 (18%) total punches, and 28% (52 of 188) of his power punches.