As far as retirement bashes go, this was not a gold watch ceremony situation for Miguel Cotto on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden, the big room, and also screening on HBO.
Sadam Ali, was much tougher than advertised, according to pundits coming in, and gave a superb showing. The cards were read: 115-113 (Julie Lederman), 116-112 (Mark Marlinski), 115-113 (Steve Weisfeld)…and jaws dropped…because they got it right.
The judges, bless their souls and their consciences, got it right. The 12,391 in the seats didn't all agree, but many…no, most were there to see Cotto's finale, so we can excuse their bias.
HBO's boxing boss, Peter Nelson afterwards told me he hoped to see Cotto fight again, after I congratulated him on a solid Cotto finale.
I had it 8-4 for Ali, a superb ring general on a Cotto that looked his age, it must be said. Not crisp. Ali moved ever so smartly, and was accurate often enough to impress the ones that mattered.
“I worked hard for it,” said Sadam Ali after. “I took advantage of this fight, and I made sure to make it count. I want to thank God, and also thank Team Cotto, they could have taken an easier fight if they wanted too. ”
“I had him hurt here or there in the first couple of rounds. I knew I had to do something, or he would have dug in. By the 11th, I thought the fight was close. Whatever GBP has next, I’ll take it. Good things happen to good people. I have been training since I was 8 years old, and I am glad I got this win at MSG, in my hometown.”
“Feeling good,” said Cotto after. “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.”
Golden Boy Promotions, headed by Oscar De La Hoya, put together the final foray, with an assist from Miguel Cotto Promotions. Michael Buffer’s million dollar lung exhalations were drowned out by a less than capacity but still effin loud rooters as the warrior, on the brink of a well earned second vocational act, walked to ring, sans entry music. The cheers were music enough to his ears.
The 37 year old Cotto weighed in a light 151.6 on Friday, and Ali, for his first foray at 154, was 153. The WBO 154 pound title was on the line, for the record.
Cotto decided early this year that 2017 wold be his final year as an active participant, telling media that it was family decision, that he wanted to respect the fam and be around more, not live the warrior life style anymore. People view that “promise” with a degree of skepticism regarded for libtards assessing the GOp tax reform bill, in some corners.
The Puerto Rican took the handoff from Felix Trinidad and kept the Island proud as papas, and yes, he did lose his share of big ones. But we think he should be remembered most for what is diminshing ethos…his willingness to take risks, to be the underdog A side, to take fights that he maybe wouldn’t win, was to his credit. He marshaled his physical resources smartly, often fighting just twice a year, and he’d take ample time off when he damn well felt like it. Most of his career was under the Top Rank banner and they deserve credit, the Arums and Tramplers and Goodmans and Samuels’ and such, on this night.
Cotto’s record will stand in perpetuity (possibly? probably? doubtfully?) at 42-5, while Ali (age 29) dips to 25-2.
In the first, Cotto came forward, and the crowd booed Ali. Sadam clinched up, looked to drop in a right counter, was moving pretty well, threw some combos, didn’t look tight. He landed a sharp right, solid. He won the round.
In the second, Cotto was the advancing attacker. Sadam made him miss, then made him pay. A right sent him flying. Ali then missed a hook and fell to the mat and the crowd went berserk. Ali was all about moving, and he was holding his own.
In the third, we heard chants of Ali, and some boos, as Sadam moved a bunch. Cotto was a step, step plus behind. He was winging, reaching, missing bad.
In the fourth, an Ali hook landed cleannnn. He was moving so smartly, ripping Cotto at angles, wasnt afraid to attack after Cotto had a run at him…Ali was over-delivering to this point.
In the fifth, Ali moved more, but without so much well placed offense, so Miguel’s aggression took the round.
In the sixth, a right buzzed Ali. But he hung tough, grinned after. Cotto was griniding him down now. Right, down the pike.
In the seventh, Ali tightened up some, looked out for the right better. He did take a mean hook to the body and might have lost the round.
In round eight, bad flashback round for Cotto. Ali buzzed him and made him uncertain. Ali maybe took it.
In the ninth, Ali was the better ring general and made Cotto miss.
In the tenth, Ali was in clear control the last third especially.
In the 11th, Cotto was moving too much and Ali was the aggressor, in control, picking and choosing spots.
In the 12th, it was tight. Ali probably won the last 1:50. We'd go to the cards…Breathes were held…