Miguel Cotto vs Sadam Ali
Boxing legend, Puerto Rico's Miguel Cotto, at 37, has what he declares his final career fight, the fight takes place at Madison Square Garden, a venue which Miguel Cotto has fought at time and time again, throughout his career. Cotto competes as the defending WBO light middleweight champion, taking on home fighter, but not crowd favourite, Sadam Ali, an underdog, a a fighter who is new to the division.
The fight is cautious at the start, as Cotto tries to find the right range, Ali, aiming to be illusive, land from the outside. Suddenly, in round 2, to the shock of everyone in the Arena, Ali rocks Cotto with a huge right hand. Cotto takes time to regain his legs, as Ali is on the offensive, but unable to put Cotto on the floor, a slip from Ali buys Cotto some seconds, which helps, and the veteran, using his experience, and seeming to have recovered at the end of the round.
Cotto is the aggressor in round 3, Ali certainly doesn't manage to produce the power he did in the previous round, but still, he lands the with the cleaner work, and lands more punches. Ali, again, to everyone's shock, hurts Cotto again, Cotto, not in the level of trouble he was in, a couple of rounds earlier, but still in bother.
Cotto seems to regroup, improve, as he gets behind his jab, applies more pressure, still, unable to hurt Ali, unable to evade Ali's shots very often, but he outworks his opponent in round 5. Round 6 is a good round for Cotto, as he presses forward, lands some meaningful punches, Ali, seeming a little bit disorganised.
Cotto seems to be closing the margin, as he wins consecutive rounds, lands the better punches. It looks like, after Cotto was in terrible trouble early in the fight, he has come through the mini crisis, and is pulling back the fight in his favour. Cotto continues his good work in round 8, though Ali is far from finsihed, as he lands 2 stand out punches, one of which, an accurate left uppercut at the end of the round.
With the fight, maybe, in the balance, though it seems Cotto is in the driving seat, it is Ali who is able swing the fight in his favour, as he is the one to produce the quality work. Cotto tries to stop Ali stealing the late rounds, but struggles to land any really hurtful punches, and finds himself on the end of some good shots, from the faster fighter, and Cotto, looking the more fatuigued of the two fighters.
Ali sustains his intelligent, consistent boxing through a tough 11th for Cotto, who seems to have had the fight physically knocked out of him. Cotto presses forward in the last round, as the aggressor, knowing he needs the knock out. Cotto has some success, is relentless, emptying his gas tank, but his still out landed, and finds less accuracy.
Cotto is dejected, as are his fans, family, his team as well, Ali and co, are nervous, unsure of the judges, but seemingly very confident, that all being fair, they should get the verdict. The judges, quite rightly, declare Ali the winner, two, having it close, the other, scoring it as a comfortable win for the underdog. Sadam Ali pulls out a great upset, defeats a legend, and becomes a world champion. Miguel Cotto is gracious in defeat, has a great career full of great achievements to look back on, but is advised by very few people to fight again.
Steve Bunce: 116-112 Cotto