Ali was presented a jersey by the Red Bulls (Photo courtesy of Team Ali).
Editorial by John Archibald
Undefeated Welterweight Contender Invited as Special Guest of MLS Club
Less than a week after increasing his perfect professional record to 13-0 with seven knockouts by defeating a very game John Revish on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights, welterweight Sadam Ali watched the New York Red Bulls battle the Colorado Rapids to a 2-2 draw from the owner’s box this past Wednesday evening at Red Bull Arena. Ali was there as an honored guest of the Major League Soccer club, also receiving a personalized jersey from the team.
“The stadium is beautiful,” a humbled Ali remarked. “They had me in the owner’s box, and you can see everything up there. It’s a really nice view, and I definitely felt comfortable.”
As a former U.S. Olympian and top prospect in the game, Ali has literally traveled the world performing his craft, but his experience on Wednesday was something entirely new to him.
“I had never been to a soccer game before the Red Bulls invited me out,” he said. “It was a truly a great time, and it was a very exciting game. I’m now a fan of the Red Bulls, and I definitely plan on going back out there.”
As someone who has seen great success throughout his lifelong boxing career, Ali showed great appreciation for the level of skill that was being displayed on the field in front of him.
“Soccer is a very well known sport that is popular around the world,” he stated. “It’s a great sport, and I definitely respect the game. I really appreciate the hospitality that the Red Bulls showed me by allowing me to come out and experience the sport at such a high level.”
No matter the situation, there is still one particular topic that is never far from the mind of Ali, and enjoying a professional soccer match was no exception.
“I was looking around the stadium, and I could picture a boxing ring in the middle,” he reflected. “I looked at the crowd, and people were going crazy. Also, I saw a lot of space in there. I looked at the middle of the field where they had the Red Bull logo, and it was shaped like a square. I could picture a ring right there. You could put a bunch of people in the stadium, so it would have to be Ali vs. Frazier or Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield, something like that.”
Since he would never bring up something of the nature himself, I had to question Ali. How about a Sadam Ali title fight?
“A big time Ali title fight? Yeah, that would work,” he laughed. “I’m going to bring fans from all over the country there, but I also have to have an opponent who can bring fans so we can sell it out.”
Also on hand for the game on Wednesday night was Team Ali member Anthony Catanzaro, who spoke about the experience.
“It was great to see Sadam at the stadium. We were treated very well by the Red Bulls,” he confirmed. “We were sitting with Cesc Fabregas, Rafa Marquez and Cobi Jones in the owner’s box, and Sadam really likes his jersey, too. We would like to thank Cristina Prado, Erik Stover and Jurgen Mainka from the Red Bulls for inviting us out to the game.”
Coming off the biggest test of his perfect professional career last Friday, Ali now sets his sights on the future, which he obviously focuses upon an eventual title shot. Never one to look too far ahead, he gave a little insight into what fight fans can expect from him during the rest of 2011.
“I’m taking a little time off, and I should be fighting again sometime in July,” he commented. “I’ll be back in the gym soon, and I’m just taking my career one fight at a time. I’m trying to have at least four more fights by the end of the year.”
The visit by Ali to Red Bull Arena shows a continual interest by the Red Bulls in the sport of boxing. On Sunday, May 14th, the team had welterweight Paulie Malignaggi out to the facility for a game, also honoring the former World Champion with a pre-game jersey presentation.