In November of 2014 you were probably thinking Sadam Ali was going to be a heavy hitter in the welterweight division after he impressively destroyed tough once beaten Luis Abregu of Argentina. Abregu had an impressive upset knockout victory over promising prospect Thomas Dulorme only to be destroyed by the former U.S. Olympian. And then – well, we’re still waiting.

One fight in 2015 against tough unheralded veteran Francisco Santana, and then- nothing.

That changes on March 5th when “The World Kid” Sadam Ali (22-0, 13KO’s) steps into the ring against former 140lb. champion Jessie Vargas (26-1, 9KO’s) for the vacant WBO title at the DC Armory in Washington DC.

Ali, the WBO number one contender was in line to face former champion Timothy Bradley Jr. before Bradley vacated the title to pick up a big payday and an attempt at redemption in a rubber match with Manny Pacquiao in April. “I don’t look at it like he side stepped me, he went for the big fight against Pacquiao and I don’t have the name recognition or bring the type of money he does.” Said Ali when pressed on whether he felt slighted that Timothy Bradley faced Brandon Rios instead of himself then vacated the belt subsequently for the third Pacquiao fight. “I’m going to get there, I just have to keep winning impressively and doing what I do. I want to be the top of the bill one day.”

Born in Brooklyn from Yemeni parents, the New Yorker is proud to represent the borough “The history of boxing in New York is amazing, it’s a motivation to be the best out there; not just in New York or the U.S. but in the world.” Said Ali on his journey to fighting for a title, “preparations have been great, I’m focused and ready. We feel strong in the gym and we’re ready for whatever comes at us on fight night, I’ve been waiting a long time for this.”

Standing in Ali’s way is seasoned former champion Jessie Vargas, who was out-boxed by Bradley for 11 rounds and 30 seconds last June in a semi-controversial unanimous decision loss that ended when referee Pat Russell mistook the ten second clap for the final bell and jumped in front of a damaged Bradley to call a halt to the fight, prompting Vargas to believe he pulled off the miracle come from behind knockout win. “He says he’s going to come at me and fight the way he did for the last seconds of the Bradley fight. That’s fine, I got a plan for that. If he wants to box, I got a plan for that too. I’m ready for whatever he brings.” Said Ali on the recent comments Vargas made during a recent press conference call.

Vargas has designs of his own for the March showdown. “He doesn’t have the experience I have.” “I’ve beaten several undefeated records already and I’m planning to do the same on March 5th.” Vargas said during a media conference call in last week, “He’s never had to really dig deep. He hasn’t been in those wars.”

Confidence isn’t lacking in Vargas but he recognized Ali’s performance over Abregu. “I thought he fought well. He was a young fighter and it was an opportunity. Abregu was a top fighter, but he had also been on a long layoff before then.” “He’s never experienced being in the ring with someone like me- young, hungry, strong, fast, in his prime.” Touted Vargas with a confident tone.

At 27 and one year older than Vargas, Ali is a natural talent with fast hands and one punch knockout power. A win puts him in the picture for intriguing matchups in a talent rich division that creates stars and a constant hotbed of boxing debate. Ali’s promoter GoldenBoy has shown with this matchup and previous works in the past year that they will go outside of the organization to make a fight happen.

The road to stardom for Ali runs through Vargas, a tough test but not impossible task. Ali’s humble attitude toward his career shows an understanding of his place in the welterweight pecking order of popularity. “I know there are a lot of people who don’t know who I am. I want to make them fans. I want to be entertaining, I want to perform and close the show like a champion. One hundred percent after this fight I want to be busier and keep making a name for myself.”