Miguel Cotto said this would be the final fight of his Hall of Fame career, win or lose.

Surprisingly, and disappointingly for his legions of fans at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, Cotto's farewell ended at a loss.

Former US Olympian Saddam Ali, a big loser, became strong in the second half of his 12-round title bout against 12,391 pro Cotto fans at Madison Square Garden, not far from home of Ali in Brooklyn, and went by unanimous decision and, m The title is the first for Ali, 29, a 2008 Olympian who improved to 26-1 with 14 knockouts.

Cotto, 37, of Caguas, Puerto Rico, whose Mirado family from ringside, finishes his career with a record of 41-6 with 33 KOs. He earned $ 750,000 for his last night of work while Ali was guaranteed $ 600,000.

This was Cotto's tenth fight at the Garden, which he describes as his second home, and only his second defeat. He lost to Austin Trout five years ago, almost to the day.

Ali, who won with 115-113 scores twice and 116-112, appeared to be the fastest and strongest fighter for much of the fight, and he staggered and seemed to hurt Cotto several times with both hands. He landed 122 power shots to Cotto's 108 in general, and was overjoyed with the victory that few thought could or could happen.

"I worked hard for it, I took great advantage of my success in the past and this time I did it Surely I did count," said a euphoric Ali. "I want to thank Cotto's team for giving me this opportunity, they did not have to, I'm very grateful right now"

Cotto said he injured his left biceps in the seventh round, and Ali took advantage of Cotto's advantage. inability to constantly land his biggest weapon, his left hook, which has destroyed many fighters in recent years.

"He has tremendous power and I just wanted to be smart," Ali said. "At that time (seventh round) it was the moment of truth, I want it or I do not want it"

Cotto, who retires as the only four division champion and six times champion of Puerto Rico, felt good about his performance despite the loss.

"Something happened to my left biceps in the seventh round, I do not want to make excuses, Saddam won the fight," he said. "It's my last fight, I'm fine, and I want to be happy in my home with my family, thanks to all the fans, I'm proud to call Madison Square Garden my second home, I had the opportunity to provide the best for my family. deporte "

In the side event, despite suffering unpleasant cuts in both eyes caused by accidental hooves, WBC super bantamweight champion Rey Vargas (31-0, 22 KOs) defended his title a second time, reaching a unanimous decision victory in 12 rounds over an Oscar Negrete game (17-1, 7 KOs). The scores were 119-109 twice and 120-108.