De La Hoya talks Cotto’s farewell fight with Sadam Ali
By Dan Ambrose: Golden Boy Promotions boss Oscar De La Hoya is putting a positive spin on Miguel Cotto’s farewell fight against welterweight Sadam Ali (25-1, 14 KOs) on December 2, as he sees the fight as a “celebration of boxing,” and a great event.
(Photo Credit: Matt Easley – Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions)
De La Hoya says Cotto has already fought the best in his career, and the fans are going to be in for a treat in watching him perform against Sadam Ali.
De La Hoya says Cotto is a top 20 all-time fighter in boxing. That’s a comment that will cause more than a few fans to second-guess De La Hoya, as Cotto’s career has seen him beat weak champions to become a 4-division world champion and it’s also seen him avoid taking on some very good fighters like Gennady “GGG” Golovkin.
These are the fighters that Cotto beat to become a 4-division world champion:
• Kelson Pinto at light welterweight
• Carlos Quintana at welterweight
• Yuri Foreman at junior middleweight
• Sergio Martinez at middleweight
Those were not great fighters. In fact, Sergio Martinez and Yuri Foreman both had leg injuries they came into their fights with Cotto. Pinto had never beaten truly good fighters during his career for him to be fighting for a world title against Cotto. Quintana was a good fighter, but not a really talented guy. After Quintana lost to Cotto in 2006, his career was never really the same. Quintana would later lose to Paul Williams, Andre Berto and Keith Thurman. Quintana’s record after his loss to Cotto was 6-3 in his final 9 fights of his career.
Cotto, 36, will be retiring after his fight with the 29-year-old Ali at Madison Square Garden in New York. This fight will be the last of Cotto’s 16-year pro career. There were a number of top fighters – Mikey Garcia, Danny Garcia, Errol Spence Jr. and Lamont Peterson – that were offered the fight with Cotto, but they rejected the fight. It appears that Golden Boy was looking for guys from the 147 lb. division mostly rather than selecting from the 154 lb. weight class in which Cotto holds the WBO junior middleweight title.
“I see it as a celebration for boxing, for Miguel Cotto, for the Garden, for anybody involved with this event, is in for a treat,” said De La Hoya to Fighthub. ”He’s always faced the very best. Against Sadam Ali it’s going to be a tough fight, a farewell fight where it’s obviously not going to be easy. Sadam Ali has tons of experience. Here at the Garden he’s fought in the Golden Gloves, he’s a national champion, he’s a decorated amateur fighter who was part of the 2008 Olympic team. We in boxing feel that we’re in for a special treat when we see Miguel Cotto fight against anyone, especially the likes of Sadam Ali.”
Not much can be said about Cotto’s fight with Sadam Ali, as it’s not a good way for Cotto to finish out his career. The boxing fans would have preferred that Cotto retire like a warrior by fighting a quality guy that would test him like David Lemieux or one of the top junior middleweights. Sadam Ali is no even a top 147 lb. fighter.
“He’s going to be considered one of the best,” said De La Hoya about Cotto. ”He is the only four-division world champion from Puerto Rico, which tells you a lot because Puerto Rico has had many great world champions like Wilfredo Benitez, and the list goes on and on and on — like Felix Trinidad. So the fact that Miguel Cotto is the only four-division champion from Puerto Rico just – it tells you a lot,” said De La Hoya.
I don’t think Cotto has done enough to be considered one of the best in the history of boxing or even at 154. When I think of the best at 154, I think of guys like Terry Norris and Julian Jackson. I don’t think Cotto would have beaten either of those guys when they were in their prime. Julian Jackson would have been a real nightmare for Cotto with his one-punch power.
“He’s a fighter who takes on all-comers, until the very end. He has had a stellar career, he’s been on HBO 24 times, and so I believe Miguel Cotto – I can rank Miguel Cotto, sincerely, in the top 20 of all time,” said De La Hoya.
I don’t know if you can seriously consider Cotto a top 20 fighter of all-time. There have been too many other fighters that have had far better careers than Cotto for him to be a top 20 guy. Cotto would definitely be a top 200 fighter, but not top 20 or even top 100 in this writer’s opinion. Cotto has failed too many times in the past when facing the best for him to be considered a top 20 fighter of all time.
These are the best fighters Cotto has fought during his career:
• Floyd Mayweather Jr. – Cotto lost to Floyd
• Manny Pacquiao – Cotto was knocked out
• Saul Canelo Alvarez – Cotto lost by a decision
• Austin Trout – Cotto lost
• Antonio Margarito – Cotto lost to a healthy Margarito and then beat him in a rematch
• Shane Mosley – older fighter on the downside of his career
• Zab Judah
• Sergio Martinez – This was an old and injured Martinez by the time Cotto fought him
• Joshua Clottey
• Ricardo Mayorga – older fighter and no longer in his prime
• Daniel Geale – older fighter no longer in prime
• Ricardo Torres
• Paulie Malignaggi
• Randall Bailey
Of the best guys that Cotto has fought, only a handful of them were still in their prime and/ or talented enough for them to be considered good opponents by the time he fought them. For example, Sergio Martinez was a very good fighter during the prime of his career. Cotto would have had a tremendous amount of trouble against a prime Martinez, and it’s hard to imagine him even being competitive against him. Cotto didn’t fight Martinez until he’s was 40-years-old and dealing with a major knee problem that would end his career. Martinez retired after his loss to Cotto due to his knee problem, which he came into the fight with. Somehow, Martinez was given clearance to fight Cotto.
Cotto has fought just 3 very good fighters during his career [Mayweather, Pacquiao and Canelo], and he lost to all 3. That should eliminate any chance for Cotto to be considered a top 20 fighter. The guys that are ranked in the top 20 of all time are fighters that not only fought the best, but they also beat them best. Cotto didn’t do that. He fought the best and lost. When he did beat guys, he often beat them on the downside of their career when they were old and injured.
You can argue that Cotto’s career has slowed to a crawl since his back to back losses to Mayweather Jr. and Trout in 2012. Cotto’s wins since then have come against older, injured and flawed fighters. These are the fighters Cotto has faced since 2012:
• Delvin Rodriguez
• Sergio Martinez
• Daniel Geale
• Saul Canelo Alvarez
• Yoshihiro Kamegai
Canelo is the only fighter out of the bunch that was in his prime and still talented. The rest of them were either old or never were good fighters to begin with. Geale and Martinez were obviously good fighters during their best years, but they weren’t the same fighters they once were when Cotto fought them.