By Ian S Palmer
In what is being billed as Miguel Cotto’s last fight, the WBO Junior Middleweight Champion from Puerto Rico will be taking on Sadam Ali of Brooklyn, New York at Madison Square Garden this Saturday, December 2nd. The 12-round bout can be seen live in North America on HBO while fans in the UK can catch the action on BoxNation. Cotto last fought in August when he beat Yoshihiro Kamegai of Japan by a unanimous decision for the for the vacant WBO title. Ali’s last outing came in July when be beat Johan Perez by a 10-round unanimous decision.
The 37-year-old year-old Cotto of Puerto Rico will be entering the ring with a record of 41-5 with 33 Kos. The future hall of famer is a former junior welterweight, welterweight, junior middleweight and middleweight world champion and also a former Olympian. He stands 5-feet-7-inches tall and has a reach of 67 inches. He’s one of the best Puerto Rican boxers ever, the first from the tiny island to win world titles in four different weight divisions and is a six-time world champ.
Cotto’s been in some wars in the past and has beaten the likes of Paulie Malignaggi, Zab Judah, Shane Mosley, Yuri Foreman, Ricardo Mayorga, Antonio Margarito, Daniel Geale, and Sergio Martinez while losing to Canelo Alvarez, Margarito, Floyd Mayweather, Austin Trout and Manny Pacquiao with the losses to Pacquiao and Margarito coming by way of stoppage. Cotto turned pro in 2001 after fighting at the 2000 Olympics and has 333 rounds under his belt since then.
When it comes to power, Cotto has quite a bit of it with a current career knockout ratio of 73 per cent. The champion has a tremendous left hook, but while he still has plenty of speed, his power doesn’t appear to be what it used to. And even though he’s been stopped twice, Cotto still has a solid chin along with good mobility, but he’s also faded late in some of his biggest fights and that could be a problem if this bout goes into the later rounds.
The 29-year-old Ali has an impressive record of 25-1 along with 14 Kos. His lone defeat came against Jessie Vargas by a ninth-round stoppage for the vacant WBO Title in March of 2016. Ali had an excellent amateur career and earned a spot America’s 2008 Olympic boxing team. Ali is 5-feet-9-inches tall with a 73-inch reach which gives him a two-inch height advantage over Cotto as well as a six-inch edge in reach. He’s boxed 141 rounds since turning pro in 2009.
Ali isn’t known as a big puncher as his current knockout ratio stands at 54 per cent. He fought in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China and he’d prefer to use his boxing skills rather than slug it out. He turned pro a year after the Games, but hasn’t really been tested by an elite opponent as of yet with his toughest tests being against Perez, Luis Abregu, Saul Corral and Vargas, and he fell just short against Vargas. However, he now has another shot at becoming a world champion.
If this really is Cotto’s last fight he’ll have a lot of motivation to go out a winner. He’s smaller than Ali, but a better boxer, bigger puncher and has boat loads more experience. Ali should try to use his reach advantage to keep the champ at bay, but I think Cotto will eventually wear him down for a comfortable decision or late stoppage. Ali is quick on his feet and likes to throw his effective left hook to keep his opponents honest, but it won’t be enough here.