Sadam Ali spoiled Miguel Cotto’s retirement party tonight, outclassing one of boxing’s modern icons by Unanimous Decision at Madison Square Garden, New York. Ali, a so-called 13-1 underdog with some oddsmakers prior to the bell, won on scores of 115-113, 116-112 and 115-113, capturing Cotto’s WBO Junior Middleweight title in the process.
Ali now buries his March 2016 knockout defeat to Jessie Vargas, improving to 26 wins, 1 defeat, 14 knockouts, while Cotto supposedly bows out from the sport for good, with his decorated career closing with 41 wins, 6 defeats, 33 knockouts.
My personal scorecard saw the action a little wider for Ali at 117-111. Sure, Ali was in a competitive fight with a legend of the sport, but Ali fought like the clear ring general pretty much all night long thanks to his impressive mobility, fresher legs, and inventive, more fluid punching. He also seemed plenty confident of his abilities despite the magnitude of the occasion.
Ali did a fine job, not just outboxing Cotto, but doing the more damage, staggering Cotto with a straight right to the jaw in the 2nd, with a left hook to the temple in the 4th, and with another left hook in the 11th. There’s an argument that Ali should have capitalized on these knee-jerking shots a whole lot more. Maybe he should have. Or maybe Ali did the right thing, preferring to dominate the fight and not get greedy against a hard-hitting veteran?
As for Cotto, he didn’t do himself a disservice by any means. He fought gamely, trying his best to apply pressure and bore his way in with compact power shots, and did make this a competitive farewell encounter, even rocking Ali with a straight right in the 6th. The thing is, Cotto is not the fighter he once was. He’s a bit slower, that bit more predictable, and is just, you know, older. Cotto looked his 37 years, and Ali, sure of victory from the get go, was just too fresh and determined tonight.
So how about it, readers? How did you score Cotto vs Ali? Was this really a legitimate upset in the 2017 boxing calendar? And is this ‘really’ the last time we’ll see Cotto doing the brutal tango?