Cotto vs Ali
Cotto vs Ali | When Cotto heads to the ring on Saturday (HBO, 10 p.m. ET/PT) for his 10th main event at Madison Square Garden in New York, however, it will not be for a fight for which there are high expectations. Rather, it is, at least on paper, a celebratory event: Cotto says this will be his farewell fight as he gets set to end a glorious 17-year career in which he has won six world titles and became the first Puerto Rican man to win belts in four weight divisions (junior welterweight, welterweight, junior middleweight and middleweight).Cotto vs Ali
Yes, Cotto must still fight the fight at an arena where he has become a franchise and had strong support from New York’s large Puerto Rican community. But going into the first defense of the vacant junior middleweight belt he won on Aug. 26 against Yoshihiro Kamegai, he is a heavy favorite to blow past Brooklyn, New York’s Sadam Ali, a welterweight who is moving up to 154 pounds with little in the way of a meaningful resume in the lighter division.
Will Cotto bow out in style with another strong showing at the Garden, where he is 8-1? Will he show his age (37) and the wear of a long, tough career? Or will the hungry Ali, 29, topple a fighter he has been a fan of for years, claim a world title and send Cotto into retirement?
This is your ESPN.com Ringside Seat for the fight:
Miguel Cotto (41-5, 33 KOs) vs. Sadam Ali (25-1, 14 KOs)
Cotto has been adamant since even before he outpointed Kamegai that he would retire at the end of this year.
“I have done everything in my career that I’ve wanted to do,” Cotto said. “This is the final fight.”
He has said it over and over in the buildup to the fight with Ali, although he has not been particularly nostalgic about a career in which he faced so many top fighters.
Heading into his final fight week, Cotto has been deliberate and poised as usual.
“It’s been a pleasure for me to try to entertain you guys for 17 years,” he said at the final prefight news conference on Thursday. “I have done my best at every opportunity for the benefit of my family. They mean everything to me, and I am so proud of them and they are so proud of me.
Cotto vs Ali
Sadam Ali, 29, is not a well-known fighter, but his promoters at Golden Boy Promotions are hoping to help him make a name for himself by giving him this fight. It’s a great opportunity for Ali, but he’s going to need to show some talent and get Cotto’s respect early on. If Ali can’t make Cotto wary of his shots, he’s going to run him over like a freight train.
Cotto-Ali has gotten the attention from the boxing media due to the heavy promotion about it being the last fight of Cotto’s career. But other than that, it’s a fight that has not attracted a lot of talk. The Cotto vs. Ali fight is viewed as a mismatch, and a going away present for Cotto to make sure he doesn’t lose the fight.
HBO agreed to televise the Cotto-Ali fight, even though it’s a poor match-up on paper. For anyone that saw how EASILY Jessie Vargas beat Sadam Ali last year, they have to be more than a little disturbed by Cotto picking Ali as his last opponent of his career. It’s more of a fight that you would expect to see on an undercard on free television rather than in a main event on HBO. The network is giving Cotto a gift by televising his glorified mismatch against Ali after they televised his previous mismatch against Yoshihiro Kamegai last August. Ali is just as over-matched as Kamegai was.
Golden Boy Promotions probably could have gotten WBC junior middleweight champion Jermell Charlo to take the fight with Cotto if they’d offered it to him. Charlo made mention of being willing to take the fight. It would have been a bold way for Cotto to end his career by fighting the 27-year-old Cotto instead of the recently knocked out Sadam Ali. The one negative about Cotto fighting Charlo is he’d likely end his career in a bad note by getting knocked out by the unbeaten WBC champion. By picking Ali, Cotto increases his chances of retiring with a knockout victory. The casual boxing fans may never have heard of Sadam Ali before, but some of them will be happy to see Cotto retire with a win instead of a bad KO loss to Charlo. Cotto vs Ali