Welterweight contender Sadam Ali is nearing a yearlong layoff, but will be back in action on March 5th against Jessie Vargas. Ali (22-0, 13 KOs) had been looking to get a title shot against WBO titleholder Timothy Bradley, being the WBO's number one contender, but obviously hasn't gotten that opportunity to date.
So some of you may remember that the Ali-Vargas fight was attempted to be made for an HBO card last December as a replacement for the Kirkland-Rosado fight that fell apart, but there were issues about getting the fighters to agree on a venue. Now the fighters will travel to neutral territory in Washington D.C. to take care of business.
Andre Rozier, the trainer of Sadam Ali, admits he's a little frustrated that they didn't get the title shot against Timothy Bradley, and is hoping for Ali to channel those frustrations into double-fisted fury to produce a stoppage win over Vargas.
"We were looking forward to fighting Tim Bradley," Rozier said. "Jessie is just like a second-tier situation. It is what it is and it's what's on the table right now, and we have to create the necessary ambiance to step up to the next level. So what we'll do is get rid of Jessie and we'll move ahead and do what we have to do."
"I think [Ali is] going to turn it over on him and he's going to put the crusher on him," said Rozier, who cited Frank Galarza and Zachary Ochoa as sparring partners for Ali's Brooklyn-based camp. "He's going to be sitting down on his shots and we're looking to get Jessie out of there."
Jessie Vargas (26-1, 9 KOs) hasn't fought since losing to Timothy Bradley last June in a fight where he hurt Bradley late and saw his chance for a comeback win disappear after the referee erroneously ended the fight early. He attempted to appeal the outcome of that fight on the grounds of the controversial ending, but it ultimately fell on deaf ears.