With Tramaine Williams stepping up to face Angelo Leo (19-0) for the vacant WBO junior featherweight championship in the Showtime Championship Boxing main event this Saturday, William's original opponent Ra’eese Aleem (16-0) will now face Marcus Bates (11-1-1) on the same show a twelve-round WBA 122-pound eliminator. Aleem and Bates, who've already fought each other, had this to say about the unanticipated change of events:
“My first fight against Marcus was a good fight, I believe I won every round. [Aleem won the eight-rounder in 2018 by unanimous decision]. That was my first fight back after a two-and-a-half-year layoff. I just couldn’t get a fight and he accepted the challenge at that time. I gave him his first loss and you always remember your first loss. I’m sure he thinks about me at night.
“Facing a new opponent on late notice doesn’t take away from my aggression, if anything it amps it up. I’m probably going to be more aggressive, if anything, because it is more of a grudge match. The first time that I fought him, head-to-head, I beat him fair and square and he has the audacity to say that something was up with his water or whatever. Real fighters don’t make excuses and that’s exactly what he has done. He called me out and told people I was scared to fight him. Well, now he gets his chance and it’s going to be more than what he bargained for.”
“I’ve been working hard to get to where I’m at and everybody who boxes dreams of being a world champion. For this to fall into place at this point of my career, I think it’s perfect timing a perfect opportunity. I’ve wanted the rematch with Aleem and I couldn’t get it, so for us to get the rematch on Showtime is great. If I win this, I will be in position to fight for a world title and every boxer’s dream is to get a belt.
“Even though there was a chance I wouldn’t be fighting, I came here expecting to fight. I didn’t come all the way up here just to go home without a fight. Once they told me I was definitely fighting and it was going to be a rematch to the only guy I’ve lost to, I was very excited. I always wanted to fight him again after I lost to him so I’m so excited.”