Saturday night, one of boxing’s great modern-day warriors fights his last fight. Maybe. Miguel Cotto (41-5; 33 KO) fights what is being billed as his retirement fight against Saddam Ali (25-1; 14 KO). Cotto’s WBO Super Welterweight (154 lb.) title is on the line. The fight will air live on HBO this Saturday, December 2 with a fight time of 10:00 p.m. ET. Also on the broadcast is Rey Vargas vs. Oscar Negrete.
How do these two stack up?
Cotto: 37 years old | 5’7” | 67" reach | orthodox stance
Ali: 29 years old | 5’9" | 73" reach | orthodox stance
What have these two done recently?
Cotto: W - Yoshihiro Kamegai (UD) | L - Canelo Alvarez (UD) | W - Daniel Geale (TKO)
Ali: W - Johan Perez (UD) | W - Jorge Silva (KO) | W - Saul Corral (UD)
How did these two get here?
Miguel Cotto has a long and storied career. The 16 year veteran has done it all in the sport, winning world titles in multiple weight classes, engaging in classic battles, and facing the sport’s absolute elite. He had a bit of a resurgence when he teamed up with Freddie Roach in 2013, and is 4-1 in this late career run. That’s largely been at “Middleweight” (ahem) but he’s ending his career back at 154 pounds. He lost the lineal Middleweight belt to Canelo two years ago, had a good comeback fight that was unfortunately the same night as Mayweather vs. McGregor and so completely overshadowed, and now is ending his career in his long-time favorite venue - Madison Square Garden. Is this really the end for him? Boxing history says it’s unlikely. But let’s play along, why not?
If you look above at Ali’s most recent fights, you see 3 wins. But look back one more fight and you see perhaps the defining fight of his career so far - a 2016 9th round TKO loss to Jessie Vargas. And that does not define his career in a good way. Vargas is a perfectly fine fighter, but he beat up Ali in a way Vargas just doesn’t beat people up typically - prior to Ali, he hadn’t stopped an opponent in 5 years. Ali had hype before that fight, but he doesn’t now.
What can fans expect?
This is a very “boxing” kind of fight. Cotto’s team hand-picked an opponent, and it’s not one they expect to give their man trouble on his way out. There’s nothing in Ali’s career to suggest that they are wrong. Look for Cotto to be aggressive, use his great hook, and make it a relatively easy night.
Prediction: Miguel Cotto, KO R7
Who should watch?