Barclays Center will stage its fifth fight night on Monday, with a card unfolding in the Cushman & Wakefield Theater, topped by a Sadam Ali-Jay Krupp main event.
Ali and others on the bill, including Staten Island's Marcus Browne, showed up at Gleason's in DUMBO on Thursday to hype the Golden Boy event.
Ali, a Brooklyn resident who had a place on the 2008 U.S. Olympic squad, has taken his time to get to this place. He staged his own cards and stayed independent until he and his father/manager, Mahmoud, who stood next to the 25-year-old hitter while he chatted with NYFightblog, found the right terms. I asked Sadam if he had ever gotten impatient, to the point of severe frustration, since turning pro in March 2010 and seeing some other folks who arguably might not be as skilled as he is get signed to promotional deals.
"No," he said, "not at all. I knew this day would come."
And what about the father?
"Of course I did," the father admitted with a tiny grin. "I'm just always wanting what's best for my son."
The 16-0 welterweight takes on the 17-5 Krupp, who features a Mike Tyson-style peek-a-boo look he honed under ex-Tyson trainer Kevin Rooney. Ali didn't seem phased by the Tyson talk. "He can't peek-a-boo me if he can't see me," Ali said.
The 22-year-old Browne finished skipping rope, and I approached him for a quick chat. What if, I said, you upstage your pal Sadam, I asked. Will you feel bad?
"Of course not," the 6-0 light heavy said. "That's what you're supposed to do! Boxing isn't a team sport." Browne takes on 5-1-1 Lamont Williams, who is a half-step up from anyone he has tangled with before as a pro.
All the fighters seemed to be on message, and Ali, for one, was tested. Thursday was his birthday, and publicist Kelly Swanson presented him with a cupcake.
"I can't eat it," Ali said. "I'll eat it after the fight."