26-year-old Toronto-native Kareem Hackett returns to the ring with plenty to prove.
Years of mismanagement has offset continuous progress on the part of one of the Ontario province’s most promising boxing talents. Hackett made his ring debut in Detroit on October 17, 2013 against a man sixteen years his elder in Charles Fisher. As anticipated by those around him, Hackett broke down an ultimately inferior opponent and stopped him in the second round.
He was supposed to move on in search of greater opposition and higher accomplishments. But a lack of proper guidance kept him from getting the developmental fights he needed to move forward.
In fact, Hackett has not competed since then. That hasn’t stopped him from lacing up the gloves, though. He received invaluable experience sparring at the Wild Card Boxing Club, where he garnered the recognition of Freddie Roach and Eric Brown as an intriguing fighter. He traded blows with world class middleweights: Peter Quillin, Sergio Mora, and Matthew Macklin, as well as bright prospects from higher weight classes like Dmitry Bivol, Egor Mekhontsev, and Shane Mosley Jr.
Hackett intends to scale the light heavyweight limit of 175-lbs. However, getting comfortable with making that weight will take a little while, with the focus being on getting acclimated to the pro circuit for the first bout or two following his return. The well-schooled southpaw will return at a catchweight of 190-lbs against Jorge Perez tonight in Tijuana, Mexico. He will box twice more before the end of January if all goes as planned.
Hackett currently trains under the guidance of former IBF & WBO Heavyweight champion Chris Byrd. Famous for his own tear through the heavyweight ranks in the late 1990s and his title win over Vitali Klitschko in 2000, Byrd sees similarities between himself and Hackett and feels he can polish his skills as he swings back through the ropes. With just forty-five amateur fights, but a respectable 40-5 ledger at that, Hackett showed plenty of potential as a teenager even if he will be learning on the job as far as professional prizefighting goes.
In his return, Hackett is hoping to showcase his improved defensive skills, which has recently earned him comparisons to another slick southpaw in two-division champion Pernell Whittaker.
If he can touch on emulating “Sweet Pea” in the ring, it will be a sweet comeback for Hackett. He wants to show all of his supporters he hasn’t skipped a beat, and move just a little closer to putting his name alongside the greats of Canadian boxing. With a successful 2017, there is no doubt that Kareem Hackett will get fast-tracked to a title shot on account of his age, pedigree, and of course his dedication.
Americans can expect to hear this man’s name more in the very near future.