Photos: Will Hart
By Kieran Mulvaney
In welterweight action, Brooklyn’s Sadam “World Kid” Ali remained undefeated with a unanimous ten-round decision over Francisco Santana. Santana looked to draw the local fighter into a brawl while Ali, last seen looking impressive knocking out Luis Carlos Abregu in November, focused on using his footwork to put himself in position to land hard single shots. A series of those punches – a short right followed by a left hook – appeared to stun Santana badly in the tenth, although the Californian recovered quickly and made it to the final bell. Several rounds appeared tough to score, and a number of ringside observers felt the fight was a close Ali win or even a draw, but the three judges saw it much wider, giving Ali the win by counts of 97-93 (twice) and 100-90.
“This is a dream come true fighting here at Madison Square Garden,” said Ali afterward. “I loved fighting here. It was a great experience and I can’t wait to do it again. I thought I won the fight. He was a tough fighter; he hit very hard but I was able to withstand his punches. I’d like to fight a Top 10 opponent next.”