Six-time world champion Miguel Cotto ended his 16-year boxing career with a unanimous points-decision defeat by Sadam Ali in NY. It was a matchup of a Brooklynite and an adopted New Yorker, and it has the building rocking.
The biggest win of his career by far, Ali earned the WBO world super welterweight title by playing spoiler and has certainly opened up great opportunities for himself going forward. He suffered an injury to his left biceps in the seventh round at Madison Square Garden (MSG) and struggled to make an impact in the fight.
"I knew I had to do something, or he would have dug in", said Ali, who improved to 26-1 with 14 knockouts.
Boos emanate from the crowd as a close score card of 115-113 (twice) and 116-112 were read in favor of the newly minted 154 pound titleholder in Ali, whose outnumbered fans made their presence when they chanted his name whenever he would hurt Cotto during the bout.
"Feeling good. Feeling good with the performance", Cotto said.
It is my last fight.
Numerous 12,371 fans booed the decision, and again when Ali spoke in the ring.
I worked hard for it.
Ali rocked Cotto with a right in the second, but the Puerto Rican veteran held on and gained the upper hand in the middle rounds, doing damage with his left hook and catching Ali with a punishing right to the head in the sixth. He usually answers questions in Spanish.
"I am proud to call MSG my second home", Cotto said.
Sadam Ali right punches Miguel Cotto during the fifth round of a WBO junior middleweight title boxing match Saturday Dec. 2 2017 in New York
"Thank you for supporting me at every opportunity", Cotto told his fans.
The rapturous welcome he received upon entering the ring was repeated as he departed in defeat. After a close ninth, Ali was in control in the 10th.
But Ali looked strong, fast and determined against Cotto, as he dropped Cotto to 8-2 at the Garden and 20-6 in world title fights, many of them among the most memorable in recent boxing history. Ali was defeated by Jesse Vargas in March of 2016 in a bid for the WBO welterweight world crown.
Now, he becomes a force in this division.
"We are getting a chance at that, and we'll see how good he really is".
Ali added: "Good things happen to good people".
"I've been fighting since I was eight years old, and I've been in big arenas".
Cotto, meanwhile, leaves boxing with a legacy that can't be tarnished by this loss. Ali just as better. He won all three of those rounds on all three scorecards.
But Vargas, 27, also landed dozens of body blows and rarely allowed the 30-year-old Negrete inside. I took advantage of this fight and I made sure to make it count. Alejo went down. And it was over at 1:33 of the 10th round. He left this fight a world champion.
"It's taken me five years to get here, and I'm cherishing this moment for me and for Puerto Rico", Acosta said. "I've learned a lot since my last fight for a world title against Tanaka, and this fight proves that I learned and fixed all I needed to win a world championship".More news: Bette Midler calls on Geraldo Rivera to apologize for alleged groping incident