Aleem knocks out Pasillas

Ra’eese Aleem lived up to his nickname of “The Beast” as he scored four knockdowns in a one-sided 11th-round knockout victory over Victor Pasillas to win a vacant interim junior featherweight title.

Aleem (18-0, 12 KOs), 30, of Las Vegas by way of Muskegon, Michigan, notched his seventh knockout in a row and did so in impressive fashion. He landed many quick lead left hands, moved in and out, worked the body and had Pasillas off balance and tentative throughout the bout.

“I was dominant. I wanted to put an exclamation point with this performance,” Aleem said. “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.

“I wanted to knock him out. But I wasn’t necessarily trying to go for the knockout early. I was just seeing the openings and everything came together.”

Aleem had a huge second round, scoring a hard knockdown with a right hand that put Pasillas on his rear end with about a minute left. Aleem kept up the attack and battered Pasillas late in the round.

Early in the sixth round, Aleem landed two left hands that dropped Pasillas to his rear end again. Pasillas complained that the second shot was behind the head but it appeared to be a borderline shot on video replays.

Aleem let his punches flow in a one-sided seventh round and appeared close to getting the stoppage but referee Danny Schiavone let the fight continue.

Pasillas (16-1, 9 KOs), 28, a southpaw from Redwood City, California, had a better eighth round than any other round of the fight and then tagged Aleem with a couple of solid shots early in the ninth. But Aleem responded with a left hook to the head for another knockdown.

In the 11th round, Aleem finished the fading Pasillas, who went past the sixth round for the first time. He landed a clean right hand that badly rocked him followed by a left hook to the head that dropped him for the fourth time, and Schiavone immediately stopped the fight at 1 minute.

Aleem was way ahead on all three scorecards: 100-87, 99-88 and 98-89. According to CompuBox, Aleem landed 185 of 561 punches (33 percent) – including 64 body shots – and Pasillas landed 143 of 651 shots (22 percent). Aleem outlanded Pasillas in 10 of the 11 rounds.

Aleem made it clean he wants a top opponent next.

“I’m ready to fight any world champion,” Aleem said. “Whether it’s the winner of Leo-Fulton or if (unified titlist) 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. Whether that’s Brandon Figueroa, Akhmadaliev – he has two of the belts and is a tremendous fighter. He hasn’t defended his belts yet. Any one of those fights would be a great fight.”

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