In a battle of unbeatens, Ra’eese Aleem showed he can be a serious player in the 122lbs division, scoring four knockdowns en route to an 11th round triumph over Victor Pasillas at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, on Saturday night.
Aleem dropped Pasillas (16-1, 9 KOs) in the second, sixth, ninth and fateful 11th to earn the vacant WBA ‘Interim’ belt but, more importantly, proved he is a legitimate threat at super-bantam.
Californian southpaw Pasillas was the pre-fight betting favourite yet he was no match for Aleem’s power and incision. The Las Vegas based Aleem (18-0, 12 KOs) has now registered seven stoppages on the bounce as he has moved up in class.
Simply overwhelmed by the opposing artillery, Pasillas barely survived the second after being decked by a counter right hand. He was outgunned on the inside and his hopes of victory rapidly diminished.
The Californian was downed again by a left hook in the sixth and dropped to one knee in the ninth as the sharpshooting Aleem picked him apart. When a right-left combination floored Pasillas for a fourth time in the 11th, referee Danny Schiavone waved it off.
“I was dominant,” said Aleem. “I wanted to put an exclamation point with this performance. It feels absolutely amazing. It just confirms what I knew in my head, that I have elite power. He’s one of the top fighters in the division so to knock him out, it means I’m a true threat.
“I think a lot of people were sleeping on me and my power. I wasn’t surprised that I stopped him, I didn’t think he’d be able to go the distance with me. I think a lot of the fighters in this division should really be on notice.
“It doesn’t matter who I fight next. I’m ready to fight any world champion. Whether it’s [new WBO king Stephen] Fulton or if [WBA Super champion] Murodjon Akhmadaliev wants to come out of hiding. Any current world champion that’s willing to fight, I’m ready. I’ve got the pen, send the contract.”
Also on the bill, WBA Interim 135lbs champ Rolando Romero (13-0, 11 KOs) stayed unbeaten, dominating and halting late replacement Avery Sparrow (10-4, 3 KOs) in the seventh of a non-title affair.
Sparrow sustained a knee injury that saw him withdrawn by his corner during round seven. Romero led 60-51 on the cards at the time, with Sparrow dropped in the first and deducted two points for a low blow in the sixth.
Main image and all photos: Amanda Westcott/Showtime.