Sadam Ali (20-1) took the opportunity on Saturday night to remind everyone that there were two fighters competing, sending the retiring Miguel Cotto on his way with a unanimous decision loss at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Ali wasn’t supposed to win, he was picked to be competitive but very few thought he would upset the odds on Miguel’s final hurrah, this served to give him more emphasis to prove them wrong and what better place to do so than in his own backyard.
Taking the second bite of the cherry, this time he took his opportunity to capture his first world title, putting his previous unsuccessful attempt to Jessie Vargas in the rearview mirror with a performance that sparkled under the bright lights of the MSG.
Earlier in the contest especially, Ali looked sharp, rocking Cotto on a couple of occasions whilst showing defensive ability in avoiding most of the shots that came his way from the marauding Cotto.
The 29-year-old son of Yemeni immigrants from Brooklyn weathered the storm that looked at times to have swept away his attempts at an upset as Miguel took the majority of the middle rounds, leading on two scorecards while the other was even, but he showed his championship mettle, rallying down the stretch to edge the scorecards by 116-112, 115-113 and 115-113.
Cotto’s inability to stay with the Jab was telling in him losing control of the contest, a torn left bicep the cause.
Take it from someone who has suffered a similar injury, it hurts….a lot, the fact that he made it through the remainder of the contest is incomprehensible to me personally, anyone other than Cotto would have been wincing his/her way out of the ring as soon as the pinging of the tendon was felt, but like I say anyone other than Cotto.
Miguel battled his way through the rest of the bout, Freddy Roach not even knowing the full extent of the injury.
In saying this, that’s not to take away anything from a spirited effort from Ali who was deserving of a careers best performance.
“I had him hurt here or there in the first couple of rounds,” said Ali,“I knew I had to do something, or he would have dug in. By the 11th, I thought the fight was close.”
Ali is deserving of our Fighter of the Week, He’s a fighter now with a world title in a talent-rich division, winning the title is part of the journey whereas the defence of his crown will bring more big nights for the Brooklynite.