Miguel Cotto vs. Sadam Ali set to be finalized
By Dan Ambrose: The agreed upon December 2 fight between WBO junior middleweight champion Miguel Cotto (41-5, 33 KOs) and fringe welterweight contender Sadam Ali (25-1, 14 Kos) is set to be finalized, according to Dan Rafael. HBO World Championship Boxing will televise the Cotto vs. Ali fight.
Previous to Sadam Ali agreeing to the fight, Cotto’s management offered the fight to Danny Garcia, Mikey Garcia and Jessie Vargas, but a deal couldn’t be made. Danny Garcia and Vargas are both welterweights. Mikey Garcia fights in the lightweight division.
As you tell, Cotto’s management were pooling from divisions below his weight class. It’s not known why Cotto isn’t opting to fight someone in his own division at 154, as there are a number of talented fighters in that weight class that would jump at the chance to fight him.
”This fight [Cotto vs. Sadam Ali] agreed to & going to paper. Was offered to others (Danny Garcia, Mikey Garcia, and Jessie Vargas) but deals unable to be made,” said Rafael on his Twitter.
With Cotto vs. Ali being viewed as a mismatch in the eyes of a lot of boxing fans, the main selling point of the fight is it’s a retirement party for Cotto. It’s the last chance for the fans to see Cotto fight. I don’t think it’s a good marketing strategy to try and push fights by telling the boxing public that this is a retirement fight. That doesn’t work in this day and age. Fans don’t watch fights for that reason. The boxing public wants to see competitive fights that hold their interest. Cotto vs. Ali likely doesn’t meet that criterion unfortunately. Cotto-Ali is a mismatch on paper.
The 29-year-old Sadam Ali was badly beaten last year by Jessie Vargas, who in turn was easily beaten by Tim Bradley and Manny Pacquiao. It would have been more appealing to the fans if Golden Boy had lured a good welterweight like Errol Spence Jr. or Shawn Porter to fight Miguel Cotto on December 2 instead of Sadam Ali. Spence isn’t scheduled to fight anyone right now, and he’d likely agree to face Cotto. It would be a very tough fight for Cotto that might not end well for him, but the boxing public would tune in to see the fight.
The Cotto vs. Ali fight essentially a retirement party for Cotto. It’s a fight that Cotto will likely win quite easily, as Ali hasn’t proven himself as an upper echelon welterweight and he clearly isn’t a junior middleweight. Ali’s loss to Jessie Vargas last year showed that he’s not ready to enter the upper level of the 147 lb. division. The fight wasn’t close before Vargas knocked Ali out in the 9th. This is Cotto’s final fight of his boxing career. He plans on retiring after December so that he can spend more time with his family.
Cotto wanted to fight a rematch against Saul Canelo Alvarez, but the Mexican star says he’ll be out of the ring for the remainder of this year. Cotto said before the Canelo vs. Gennady “GGG” Golovkin fight that he’d be interested in fighting the winner of that fight. There wasn’t a winner unfortunately, with the judges scoring the Canelo-GGG fight a 12 round draw. Canelo’s promoters at Golden Boy don’t want Golovkin to fight until the rematch against Canelo next year. It’s doubtful that Cotto would have wanted any part of fighting Golovkin even if he wasn’t fighting Canelo next year. In glancing at the pool of fighters that Team Cotto was trying to match him against for his December 2 fight, it’s clear that they were thinking only of fighting a smaller guy and not someone bigger or stronger. Further, Golovkin likely wouldn’t have been pliable to a catch-weight handicap for Cotto. Golovkin doesn’t believe in fighting at catch-weights. He feels that boxing should be respected with fighters competing in normal weight classes instead of them trying to game the system to gain an advantage by creating an artificial weight class with the help of a catch-weight. Cotto has used catch-weights in 3 out of his last 4 fights against Saul Canelo Alvarez, Daniel Geale and Sergio Martinez. Cotto’s last fight against Yoshihiro Kamegai was at the full weight of the 154 lb. division on August 26. Cotto-Kamegai fought for the vacant WBO junior middleweight title on HBO. Cotto hasn’t fought in almost 2 years going into the Kamegai fight. The World Boxing Organization ranked Cotto at No.1 not long before the Cotto vs. Kamegai fight was made.
David Lemieux’s name was mentioned as a possibility for Cotto’s December 2 fight, but it appears that he was never in the plans for the Puerto Rican. When you look at the names that Cotto’s management was trying to setup for him in his December 2 fight, Jessie Vargas, Mikey Garcia and Danny Garcia, it’s obvious they were thinking only of matching the 36-year-old Puerto Rican against smaller fighters. Lemieux is a big middleweight with crushing power. For Lemieux to get the fight against Cotto, he quite possibly would have needed to agree to a catch-weight close to the 154 lb. limit. Lemieux wouldn’t have been able to do that, as he’s too big. It doesn’t appear that Lemieux was every given serious consideration. Lemieux is still going to be fighting on the Cotto vs. Ali card, however, but in the co-feature bout. Depending on who Lemieux is matched against, you can argue that he should be fighting in the main event and Cotto-Ali in the co-feature, given one-sided nature of the fight on paper. In the latest news, Lemieux won’t be on the Cotto-Ali card. He’ll instead have his own card on HBO on December 16. Lemieux is arguably too good to be on the undercard of Cotto vs. Ali, as it’s not good fight. Cotto vs. Canelo or Golovkin, it wouldn’t be nearly as bad for Lemieux to be on the undercard of those match-ups. Those are good fights that would attract a large audience of fans. Lemieux would be undercutting himself by agreeing to fight on the undercard of Cotto vs. Ali, as it’s not a big enough fight to get a lot of viewers.
Sadam Ali, 29, is a 2008 U.S Olympian from Brooklyn, New York. Ali was wiped out in his first and only fight in the 2008 Olympics in getting easily beaten by Georgian Popescu [Romania] by a 20-5 score. Ali was way out of his class in that fight. Turning professional in 2009, Ali breezed through his first 22 fights before running into Jessie Vargas and suffering a 9th round knockout defeat on March 5, 2016. That was only last year unfortunately. Ali has come back from the loss to Vargas to win his last 3 fights beating Saul Corral, Jorge Sliva and John Perez (22-4-2, 15 KOs). Corral and Silva are both journeyman. Perez, 34, has lost to the likes of Pablo Cano, Mauricio Herrera, and Dmiry Mikhaylenko.
With Sadam Ali a Brooklyn, New York native, he might help bring in some boxing fans to the Cotto fight on December 2. The fight card is taking place in New York at Madison Square Garden.
It’s unclear how popular Sadam Ali is in New York. It’s a big city, and you never know whether he’s got a large following or not. Cotto is popular in the New York area, so it’s a good regional fight, Cotto-Ali, but it’s not likely to attract a lot of interest nationwide in the U.S. Sadam Ali is an unknown with the casual boxing fans in the U.S. The hardcore boxing fans know of Ali from his knockout loss to Jessie Vargas. Ali hasn’t fought