Kareem Hackett, the fresh WBA Intercontinental Light Heavyweight Champ, and Toronto’s pride, just popped up at No. 14 on the WBA world ratings. Not bad for a local lad, eh?
Facing off against the unbeaten Clay Waterman from Down Under in Plant City, Florida on September 20, Hackett, surprisingly the underdog at 4-1 odds, smashed expectations. Hackett won the WBC Intercontinental title in style. Most judges couldn’t even spare a round for Waterman with scores looking like a lopsided basketball game (100-90, 100-90, 99-91).
His fight strategy was simple and effective: slick hands, maintaining distance, and constantly moving. The result? A shiny new title belt and the No. 14 spot in the world according to WBA.
Hackett’s excitement about the win was pretty evident. “It was a big deal! Being the first guy from Toronto to win this title and being an underdog against a skilled Aussie? I took him for 10 rounds! Now, I’ve got my eyes on the top 10 by year’s end. Maybe, just maybe, a world title fight next year against Dmitry Bivol or Artur Beterbiev. I’ve seen Bivol up close during training camps. I’ve grown since,” he said, dropping a subtle hint of his future ambitions.
Thanks to his last fight being streamed on ProBox TV, Hackett’s become a familiar face. “The post-fight excitement is real. Even the commentary crew, with big names like Paulie Malignaggi, Juan Manuel Marquez, and Chris Algieri, have been talking,” added Hackett, not hiding his grin.
Now settled in North Hollywood, and just a stone’s throw from Brickhouse Boxing Club, Hackett has found a groove. Coached by the emerging talent Julian Chua and ex-heavyweight Malik Scott, he’s been training religiously. “I basically live in the gym. It’s home away from home,” remarked Hackett.
At 33, Hackett’s collected a treasure trove of experience, sparring with world champions and the likes of Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez, Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin, Sergio Mora, Mathew Macklin, David Benavidez, and Dmitry Bivol. And let’s not forget the undefeated prospect Darius Fulghum. Quite the list!