Miguel Cotto entered to a Madison Square Garden crowd so loud, it was practically deafening. Even though challenger Sadam Ali was the hometown boy, he was not the hero tonight against Cotto, who was competing in his final boxing match.
But a fairytale ending did not come to fruition, as Ali upset Cotto via unanimous decision to become the new WBO Junior Middleweight Champion.
Cotto seemed to have no trouble in the first round, which felt very even, but things changed in round two. Ali caught Cotto with a right-left hook combination that stunned the champion briefly, possibly taking the second round. Cotto seemed to bounce back into the third round, but Ali still stood his ground.
Ali’s power continued to show in the fourth and fifth, though both were close rounds that could have gone either way. But the sixth definitely belonged to Cotto, and the fight could have tilted in his favor after strong shots that sent Ali into the ropes back-first. Cotto landed 19 strong ones in the seventh, and while Ali stood and swung with the boxing legend in the eighth, the challenger was struggling to find a way to bring the fight back in his favor.
By the end of the 10th, Ali seemed to really make it anyone’s fight with a stunning flurry late in the round. And in the championship rounds, Ali threw his heart out, throwing double the amount of punches Cotto did, while Cotto looked to box smart and take in the final minutes of his boxing career.
All three judges awarded the bout to Ali, with scores of 115-113, 116-112 and 115-113.