Sadam Ali upsets Miguel Cotto in Madison Square Garden
Published: December 03, 2017
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – In front of 12, 391 fans at Madison Square Garden, Brooklyn native Sadam “World Kid” Ali (26-1, 14 KOs) defeated future Hall-of-Famer Miguel Cotto (41-6, 33 KOs). The night was a coronation for Cotto as this was the last fight in his storied career. Ali was not here to be just an opponent and gave Cotto all he can handle and more.
The fight started off with Ali showing his advantage in hand and foot speed, as he was able to throw fast combinations and move out of the way of many of Cotto’s attacks. In the second round, Ali hurt Cotto with a right hand that sent the Puerto Rican to the ropes. Cotto was able to recover and by the sixth round had gotten himself into the fight to make the scores even. The four-division champion hurt Ali with a right hand in the sixth round and seemed to be taking control of the bout in the seventh round landing his left hook to the body and head while Ali was on the ropes.
The eighth round saw a change in momentum in the fight as Cotto was throwing fewer punches while Ali began to pick up his energy. Ali landed a beautiful uppercut that hurt Cotto in the round. The championship rounds were won by Ali as he landed the harder punches even hurting Cotto with a left hook in the 10th round. The “World Kid” was able to outwork Cotto in the final two rounds to solidify his victory. Ali was given a unanimous decision victory with scores of 115-113 twice and 116-112. Ali landed 139 out of 647 total punches at a 33 percent connect rate. Cotto landed 163 out of 536 total punches at a 30 percent connect rate.
For Ali, who was first inspired to become a boxer by watching Prince Naseem Hamed take on Kevin Kelly at Madison Square Garden in 1997, this was the most significant victory of his career.
Ali now holds the WBO 154-pound championship; however, it is unlikely that he will stay in the weight class. The newly WBO 154-pound champion may look to move back down to the welterweight division for future fights with the elite in the division such as Keith Thurman or a rematch with Jessie Vargas.
The night for Cotto even with a loss was not a failure as he once again did what he always does and that is perform in entertaining fights. It was found out that Cotto injured his left bicep in the seventh round signifying that it was the right time to choose to retire. The Puerto Rican left it all in the ring, and it was a fitting end to the career of one of the best of this era.
On the undercard of the HBO telecast, there was a battle between unbeaten super bantamweights (122) as WBC champion Rey Vargas (31-0, 22 KOs) faced Oscar Negrete (17-0, 7 KOs). Vargas was able to use his size and reach advantage to win a wide unanimous decision over Negrete. The judge’s scorecards were 119-109 twice and 120-108. Negrete, who is originally from Columbia, attempted to fight on the inside against Vargas. However, Vargas was able to land some vicious body shots and uppercuts that allowed him to outwork Negrete throughout every round.
With Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KOs) currently out of the 122-pound division, Vargas can lay claim as to being the best at the weight as of now. Future fights with some of the other champions in the division such as Jessie Magdaleno (25-0, 18 KOs) would be entertaining.
(Feature Photo: Ed Mulholland/HBO Sports)