Ra’eese Aleem left his home state of Michigan with nothing more than $3,000 and a dream to head to boxing’s fight capital of Las Vegas. 

The 122-pounder now feels he is on the cusp of turning those aspirations into reality when he battles fellow unbeaten Vic Pasillas (16-0, 9 KOs) for the vacant WBA ‘Interim’ title on the Angelo Leo-Stephen Fulton undercard at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, on Saturday night.

Victory over the Californian southpaw should nudge the WBA’s No.2 contender Aleem (17-0, 11 KOs) closer to a bout with that organisation’s ‘Super’ champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev or ‘Regular’ title-holder Brandon Figueroa. Years of toil and self-belief are on the brink of paying off, according to Aleem.

“My previous manager wasn’t doing much as far as getting me fights, so I had to take matters into my own hands, and that’s when I decided to leave Michigan for a new life in Las Vegas,” recalled Aleem. 

“I had $3,000 in my pocket with no family or friends. I just had faith in myself and started to make my own way. It was rough in the beginning, but I made it work and now I’m a better man, and a better fighter because of that decision. It forced me to be responsible, hence me being more mature. There was not time for games in my plan.  

“Fighting an undefeated fighter like Pasillas is what great fighters do. I want to fight the best now and Pasillas is one of the best fighters in the division. I’m not ducking or dodging anyone. I’m going to be a world champion by all means necessary. Once I beat Pasillas, I’m coming for [Murodjon] Akhmadaliev, then all the other champions.

“As far as the main event fighters [Leo and Fulton], neither of them will be able to hang with me. I’m the best fighter in the division period!”

Main image: Team Prince Ranch Boxing.