Farewell Miguel Cotto
November 27, 2017
Anthony Saldana (77 articles)

Farewell Miguel Cotto

By Anthony “Stacks” Saldaña

NEW YORK — On Saturday Night in New York City, six time world champion in four weight divisions, Miguel Cotto (41-5, 33 KO’s), will enter the ring for the last time as the Puerto Rican’s legendary career will come end. Cotto is scheduled to take on Sadam “The World Kid” Ali (25-1, 14 KO) in what Cotto says will be his final bout.

Cotto will be making his first and his last defense of the WBO junior middleweight title that he recently captured with his unanimous decision victory over Yoshihiro Kamgegai earlier this year at the Stubhub Center in Carson, California. At 37, Cotto has accomplished enough to easily be a first ballot hall-of-famer and has chosen his home and the Mecca of sports for his farewell fight, Madison Square Garden. Anytime Cotto has entered the ring whether it was against was Floyd Mayweather or Canleo Alvarez, he has always given 100% and fight fans should expect the same this Saturday.

“It’s nice to be back. It is nice to be at this place; it made me the big boxer than I am now,” Cotto stated. “Though it has been my last training camp, everything has gone well and been the same. The fact that it is my last fight has not changed anything. I have always dedicated myself fully and have worked hard, and that’s why I’m here now, finishing my career on my terms. I haven’t really felt nostalgia yet during the final days of my camp. I’m just grateful for what boxing has given me and for the life it has allowed me to give to my children.”

Ali on the other hand hopes his bout with Cotto will be the passing of the guard.

“It’s a pleasure being here and being on the big stage in Madison Square Garden against a legend who I grew up watching. It’s a little scary, but I’ve been working hard, and I’m ready to go out there and perform,” Ali said. “I know I’m a huge underdog, but I’m ready to go out there and put on a great show. I know what I’ve got to look for out there, and it’s amazing.”

The Cotto vs Ali match will be held at 154lbs, a division where Ali, a true welterweight, has never fought at. Cotto on the other hand is heavy handed and has fought as heavy as middleweight. The fact is, Cotto may just in fact have an early night if he can connect early and often. Ali, who was dropped twice and stopped by Jessie Vargas in his last world title fight, will definitely have to be on his “A” game against Cotto.

“It’s a huge challenge, a big step up. The biggest opponent in my career, and I’m also moving up to another weight class. But I love the challenge, and I’m ready to do whatever I have to do,” Ali said in a conference call with the media.

With fighters such as Liam Smith, Erislandy Lara and Jermell Charlo in the stacked junior middleweight division, the Cotto vs. Ali matchup may have been somewhat of a disappointment to some fans. However, Oscar De La Hoya thought otherwise.

“There’s no disappointment whatsoever. Everything happens for a reason. Miguel Cotto has had a stellar career, an amazing career,” De La Hoya said. “He’s fighting Sadam Ali and he’s fighting in his second hometown, which is New York, at The Garden … and fighting on HBO live. There’s no disappointment whatsoever. Everything is all positive and Miguel Cotto deserves this chance of a lifetime. Imagine that – going out on top, or vying to go out on top, on HBO, in front of your hometown in New York, at The Garden, against a great fighter like Ali. This is another great opportunity for the boxing fans and for Miguel Cotto.”

In the co-Main event, the WBC undefeated Super Bantamweight champion Rey Vargas (30-0, 22 KO’s) will take on local Southern California fan favorite, the Colombian Oscar “El Jaguar” Negrete (17-0, 7 KO’s). Vargas captured the WBC title in February by winning a unanimous decision victory over the undefeated Gavin McDonnell. Then this past August, made the first defense of his title by easily defeating Ronny Rios at the StubHub Center. Now, Vargas looks to retain his title and keep his undefeated streak alive vs. Negrete.

“We have already done the preparation, we are fine-tuning the weight details, adjusting the speed and ready to go to the ring. We travel to New York on Monday or Tuesday,” Vargas said. “I know that Oscar Negrete is a brawler and that this is a fight between two undefeated fighters. Negrete is a young man who pushes forward hard, and his 17-0 record and his place in the rankings demonstrate that he’s a great rival, but winning in a big way is the goal. We want to move forward and not stagnate.”

The 30-year-old Negrete, who captured the WBC-NABF Bantamweight title this past June, will be in the toughest fight of his career Saturday night.

“This is everything that I have worked for so far in my career. Being undefeated doesn’t make him invincible. I’m a forced to be reckoned with. People may underestimate me, but I know what I’ve done to make sure I walk away with the victory,” Negrete said. ”I am not only seeing one dream come true but two dreams. It’s been a dream of mine to fight for a world title and a dream to fight at Madison Square Garden, and on December. 2nd, I’ll be doing both. I know Rey Vargas is a great fighter, but I’ve always wanted to fight the best. If I’m going to fight for a world title, it has to be with a great rival who is worth it and whom I can be proud to fight.”

Cotto vs. Ali, a 12-round fight for the Cotto’s WBO World Junior Middleweight Championship, is presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Miguel Cotto Promotions and sponsored by Tecate, “THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING,” Hennessy “Never Stop. Never Settle, and Casa Mexico Tequila. The event will take place Saturday, December 2 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.

(Feature photo: Cynthia Saldaña)




Anthony Saldana