By Sean Jones: Miguel Cotto ended his long 16-year career last Saturday night with a close 12-round unanimous decision defeat against Golden Boy Promotions wrestler Sadam Ali (26-1 , 14 KOs) at Madison Square Garden in New York. It was supposed to be an easy victory for Cotto (41-6, 33 KOs) over the 29-year-old underdog Sadam Ali, but it turned out to be a tougher fight than expected.
This was supposed to be a farewell gift from Cotto to his loyal boxing fans at Madison Square Garden. Instead, it was a bitter goodbye to Cotto, as he looked old, tired and not the man that fans had known over the years. Cotto's age was clearly against Ali. Cotto looked old against Ali, and there was nothing he could do about it. The IQ of the ring was there for Cotto, but not his strength and energy. That was already gone by the time the fight entered the second half. Ali took charge of the fight and used his youth to dominate the last 5 rounds.
The final statistics of the coup seemed to show that Cotto was the best fighter of the two, but unfortunately the statistics do not reflect what happened in the last 6 rounds of the contest. Ali connected 139 of 647 hits for a connection percentage of 21 percent, according to CompuBox. Cotto hit 163 of 536 hits for 30 percent. Ali was in control of the fight from Round 8. Cotto had nothing in the tank. Cotto looked exhausted.
After Cotto fought well in the first 7 rounds, he completely collapsed in the last 5 rounds of the fight. In fact, Cotto seemed to lose rounds 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12. Cotto was not throwing enough punches to have the chance to win the last five rounds of the fight. In addition, Cotto stopped advancing completely, and spent the last 5 rounds trying to escape Ali's pressure.
Cotto was still regularly attacking Ali, but could not sustain his attacks or land his power shots when he pressed the action. The fight was there to be won by Cotto if he could have been active in the last 5 rounds of the contest. Ali seemed weak, and he did not fight intelligently when he was being pressured. Ali looked scared and uncomfortable when Cotto showed aggression.
Ali did not look like a winner. He fought more like an opponent on the B side when Cotto came looking to hit him. However, once Cotto gbaded in round 8, Ali took control of the fight, doing enough to win the rounds. Even with Cotto exhausted and fighting defensively, Ali barely won the rounds, as he was not aggressive in the way he needed to clearly dominate each round. It can be argued that the last 5 rounds were close enough for Cotto to win if he had thrown a few more punches.
Ali, 5 "9", had the advantage of size and speed, and was also the more mobile fighter of the two.The speed of Ali's foot made it difficult for Cotto to get close enough to land His toughest shots – that was something Cotto probably did not take into account when he chose Ali to fight, making a selection of 147 lb. The division meant that Cotto was going to deal with a caliber much faster than a fighter in terms of speed. standing up compared to the slower guys he had been accustomed to fighting.
The judges scored the fight 116-112, 115-113 and 115-113 for Ali, Cotto, 37, fought well enough to He won 4 of the first 6 rounds of the fight, the rounds where he had problems in the first half of the fight were in the 2nd and 4th, Cotto was surprisingly surprised by Ali's hard shots in both rounds. , Ali caught Cotto who entered He walked with a quick hook that left him staggering briefly. In round 4, Ali connected Cotto with a right hand on the top of the head that caused his legs to wobble. Some believed that Cotto had simply slipped on the canvas, but it was clearly a case of him being hurt. Cotto's legs seemed weak even after he backed away completely. He was hurt. Ali did not have the precision, the power or the aggression to pursue Cotto and finish the job.
Ali entered the fight as a big loser. It was thought that Ali had no chance of beating Cotto, given his recent knockout loss to Jessie Vargas. Ali had the ability to box and Olympic credentials, but his chin problems and lack of power gave him the chance to beat the aging Cotto.
Cotto said he hurt his left biceps on the 7th. Cotto was able to use his left hand in the second half of the contest. What changed was his blow production. Cotto threw many less punches in the second half of the fight compared to the first, and the only thing that can be said about it is that he was tired. Cotto had shown no signs of age and inactivity in his previous fight against Yoshihiro Kamegai in his HBO Boxing fight on August 26, but showed a big advantage against Ali, 29. Cotto did not stop throwing so many punches in the last 6 rounds due to his left biceps problem. It looked more like the case that Cotto did not pull because he was tired of dogs. Cotto tried to force himself to attack Ali sometimes in the last 5 rounds, but there was no power or speed there. Ali beat Cotto in each of the last 5 rounds from 8 to 12.
In what was not characteristic for Cotto, he made this excuse after the fight why he lost:
"Something happened to him to my left biceps, seventh round, I do not want to make excuses, "Cotto said. "Saddam won the fight, it's my last fight."
The biceps injury did not stop Cotto from throwing punches with his right hand. That was clearly a problem of resistance. Cotto could have kept punching with his right hand, but he seemed too tired, which is not surprising given the few fights he's had in the last 4 years of his career since 2013. During that time, Cotto has fought only 6 times. In the last 3 years, Cotto has fought only 5 times. It's not enough for a fighter to stay alert, especially an aging guy like Cotto. When a wrestler ages like Cotto, it is important to keep busy fighting at least 2 times a year. There are exceptions, of course, such as Floyd Mayweather Jr., but for the most part, it is important that the wrestlers remain busy. Cotto has not done that, and paid the price last Saturday night by losing to Saddam Ali. Besides not being busy with his career, the other mistake Cotto made that damaged his chances of beating Ali was getting into the fight so light. Cotto weighed only 151.6 lbs. at the weigh-in on Friday. Cotto did not rehydrate a lot during the night. He seemed small inside the ring, and not the same guy who had defeated Yoshihiro Kamegai, Daniel Geale and Sergio Martinez. Cotto would have been better off having more muscle weight last night. Cotto just seemed atrophied, as if he had not been working during his time outside the ring.
As bad as Cotto looked against a light that hit Ali last night, it's a good thing he did not wait to fight the winner of the fight between Gennady & # 39; GGG & # 39; Golovkin and Saúl Canelo Álvarez. Against any of those fighters, Cotto would have been totally equaled and probably stopped.
The loss of Cotto ruined his farewell celebration for his boxing fans. It is not surprising that it came out empty. If you look closely at Cotto's resume, he had not beaten a solid fighter in many years. Yes, Cotto has beaten men by name in the last 3 years of his career as Sergio Martinez and Daniel Geale, but those fighters were old at the time he fought against them. Martinez was 40 years old, and had a bad right knee that had required 2 surgeries in the 12 months prior to the Cotto fight. Geale had been knocked out recently in 3 rounds by Golovkin at the time he fought Cotto. You have to go back many years to see the last good victory in Cotto's resume about a fighter at his best. Cotto's victories in the last 7 years of his career were against boys who were exhausted in some way due to age or injuries. Cotto's success since 2010 has been largely smoke and mirrors with him paired up against the right man at the right time. When Cotto fought against combatants who were not old, injured and exhausted, he lost. We saw that in Cotto's losses against Floyd Mayweather Jr., Austin Trout and Saul Canelo Alvarez.
Cotto is expected to be a member of the Hall of Fame insurance, but there is a good argument that can be argued that does not deserve that status. Cotto failed when he fought against the best, and only avenged one of those defeats by defeating Antonio Margarito after his eye surgery. Would Cotto have beaten Margarito if he were 100 percent? I doubt it.