Written By Bakari Simpson: In what was billed as his swan song fight, Miguel Cotto (41-6, 33 KO’s) came up a bit short against Brooklyn born Sadam “World Kid” Ali (26-1, 14 KO’s). After twelve exciting rounds Cotto dropped a unanimous decision loss to his younger, fresher rival.
The back and forth affair marked Miguel’s 10th appearance in his adopted Madison Square Garden home. Cotto had made a tradition of fighting at this venue on the eve of the Puerto Rican Day Parade. Obviously, this was not the way that Cotto would have wanted to script his final professional outing.
Throughout the match it was plainly apparent that Cotto was the bigger man and commanded the greater technique. Sadam, a natural welterweight, committed to the super welterweight fight in order to secure this meaningful bout. While Cotto had the size, Ali was much faster and lighter on his feet. Throughout the first half of the bout this speed gave Miguel many problems. Sadam used his wheels to circle the ring and launch sudden attacks as Cotto zeroed in to attack. The tactic worked marvelously until the midway point when Ali’s feet began to slow. When this happened, Miguel was able to really begin digging in with his legendary body assault.
Each fighter hurt and buzzed the other on numerous occasions in the bout. Few were surprised when Miguel was able to stun Ali. As Sadam was the smaller man, many assumed Miguel would run straight through him. This is why it was such a revelation when Ali repeatedly hurt Cotto.
While Sadam was a very game opponent, who displayed a plethora of dynamic skills, Cotto’s age was frightfully apparent. There were countless times when Miguel just could not catch up to Ali. When he did however, Cotto’s laser jab to the face and debilitating body attack taught Ali why Miguel had achieved such heights in the sport. Along with the speed, Cotto was hampered with an injury. Somewhere in the middle rounds Cotto suffered, what he believes to be, a bicep tear.
“[I’m] feeling good with the performance. Something happened to my left bicep, seventh round. I don’t want to make excuses. Sadam won the fight. It is my last fight. I am good, and I want to be happy in my home with my family. Thank you for all the fans. I am proud to call MSG my second home. I had the opportunity to provide the best for my family because of the sport.” -Miguel Cotto
Although Ali still prevailed as the victor, he could have been far more dominant in the match. It was unclear why, but at many instances Sadam simply took his foot off the gas. Throughout the fight, his trainer Andre Rozier implored Ali to stop waiting on Cotto. Rozier insisted that his charge take the fight to the Puerto Rican legend. When the Brooklyn boxer followed these instructions he enjoyed great success. Nevertheless, Ali was guilty of repeatedly standing in front of Miguel and waiting for him to throw first. At times it seemed like Ali was gassing, then on other occasions it appeared that he simply did not know what to do next. Perhaps it was the stage he battled on, or perhaps it was the skill and power of Cotto making him gun-shy.
In the end, Sadam’s frequent pockets of hesitation didn’t overshadow the numerous instances of his effective offense. Ali would be declared the victor by a narrow 115-113, twice, and 116-112 scorecards. With the victory, Sadam claimed ownership of Cotto’s WBO super welterweight title. We will have to wait and see if Ali will remain at 154 or return to his more natural 147 welterweight division. There are a number of extremely dangerous foes at 154, so Ali should choose his next move very wisely.
While the loss was disappointing, the heavily Pro-Cotto audience thunderously cheered for Miguel after the reading of the cards. They wanted to show appreciation for his career and the courageous performance he displayed in what should be his final outing.
Hopefully this will be the last bout for Miguel Cotto. He has provided us all with a wonderful career and accomplished many impressive feats. Although, his last bout ended in defeat Cotto remains the only Puerto Rican boxer to claim world titles in four different weight classes. Miguel Cotto has nothing to be ashamed of and absolutely nothing more to prove.
Ideally Cotto will stay retired and enjoy this second half of his life with his family. Thanks for all the good times and the thrills! There will never be another one quite like Miguel Cotto!!
Bakari Simpson INSTAGRAM: @s.larry_love FACEBOOK: Bakari Simpson