These are big days for Ahmed Kaddour. Best known for outfits that would make a peacock blush, a brash demeanor, and a 0-2 record on NBC’s boxing reality show The Contender, the Danish fighter is looking to bounce back from those two losses and soon establish himself as a contender in the 154 or 147-pound weight classes. Known as “Baby Face,” Kaddour has hooked up with promoter Gary Shaw, and is scheduled to make his non-edited national TV debut on Showtime July 22nd against 12-1 Maxell Taylor. The eight-round bout will serve as the co-feature to a lightweight title clash between Rolando Reyes and Courtney Burton on the next installment of Shobox: The New Generation.
Kaddour lost to both Alfonso Gomez and arch-rival Ishe Smith on the show, and blames both losses on poor preparation. “I wasn’t 100 percent in shape- mentally, physically, everything,” he says, but claims that will not be the case this time. Now training in South Florida under Alejandro De La Torre, who is also the longtime trainer of WBO junior middleweight champion Daniel Santos, Baby Face says he’s “never been to a better camp.” Six-mile morning runs are the norm before gym work in the afternoon, and the 23 year old has been picking up pointers from the champ himself, who is preparing for a proposed October 1st clash with Cory Spinks that he hopes won’t be derailed by Spinks’ signing with a new promoter.
So what happened to Kaddour’s plans for careers in modeling and acting? They’ve been put on the shelf after he became disillusioned with the Hollywood scene. “I left LA. It’s all fake. It’s not real people. I’m coming back for boxing, my future, for my family.” His future earning potential had undoubtedly been enhanced by his stint on the show, a fact not lost on the grateful boxer. During the interview, he offered his thanks to Mark Burnett, Sugar Ray Leonard (“still a friend”), and the show’s production crew. The show has made him “like a celebrity”, and he can “make a lot of money.” He did, however, express concerns over the way the show depicted his fight with Ishe as something of a clash between Christianity and Islam, but said that overall the footage that was shown was “real”. He also had praise for the show’s runner-up, Peter Manfredo, whom he trained with during the spring in Providence.
As for his goals in boxing, like may young fighters Ahmed has set his sights on winning a world title and a successful reign as champion. “That’s what it’s all about, I want to fight the real fight. How big is it to me if I have the Contender belt right now? It’s not gonna get me ranked”. One fighter still involved with the Contender that Kaddour would like face however is Smith, the man who handed him his first loss, and instigated a feud with Baby Face at the beginning of the show by insulting his wardrobe, record, and European background. He felt disappointed that viewers did not vote on the Internet for the two to rematch on the season finale, but hopes that one day the two can meet again in a meaningful bout on a premium cable channel or pay per view. A lucrative rematch would no doubt be appealing to both boxers.
So what can fans expect to see from an in-shape and focused Ahmed on the 22nd? He expressed confidence in the outcome and did not appear too concerned about his opponent. “People underestimate me. This guy probably thinks the way I looked on the show, that I’m gonna come there and throw 500 punches for the first two rounds. I’m not gonna do that. I got my skill, I got my game plan. I know how to take a guy like that down. I’m ready to knock some guys out. I’m ready!”
Kaddour mentioned that he loves his fiancée from “the bottom of his heart”. He also wanted to thank his family and fans, and invite his fans in the area to come out and support him at the Chumash Casino on July 22nd. He also expressed gratitude for manager James Prince, who has “got me to where I am today.” Finally, Boxingtalk thanks Kaddour’s co-manager Antonio Leonard for his help in arranging this interview.