De La Hoya gloats about Sadam Ali’s win over Miguel Cotto

By Boxing News - 12/03/2017 - Comments

Image: De La Hoya gloats about Sadam Ali’s win over Miguel Cotto

By Jeff Aranow: At the post-fight press conference last Saturday night, Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya took great pleasure in gloating about his fighter Sadam Ali’s upset 12 round unanimous decision win over WBO 154lb. champion Miguel Cotto (41-6, 33 KOs) at Madison Square Garden in New York.

De La Hoya spent much of the time berating the many fighters that he offered the Cotto fight to, who had turned down the chance to fight him. De La Hoya pointed out that Sadam Ali was the only one who would “dare to be great” by accepting the offer to battle the 37-year-old Cotto in the last fight of his career on HBO Boxing.

What De La Hoya didn’t say is that the fighters were turning down the chance to fight Cotto because didn’t want to be tied to Golden Boy for future options. They wanted to fight Cotto, but they didn’t want to give Golden Boy options on some of their future fights beyond that one fight. Had De La Hoya offered the Cotto fight to guys like Danny Garcia, Errol Spence Jr. and Mikey Garcia with no strings attached, he likely would have gotten one of them to agree quickly to take the fight.

“Sadam Ali wanted to be great,” said De La Hoya. “Every fighter we offered the fight to, they turned it down,” said De La Hoya about a number of fighters rejecting the Cotto fight. “They didn’t want to be great. You have to dare to be great, and that’s exactly what Sadam Ali did. He dared to be great. You know what happens? He’s at a whole new level. I can name a whole list of fighters that turned it down for some reason,” said De La Hoya.

Instead of De La Hoya gloating so much, he should be happy that no one did take the fight with Cotto. At least by no one agreeing to fight Cotto, it enabled De La Hoya to use his own Golden Boy fighter Sadam Ali, who now has Cotto’s name to add to his resume. Whether Ali can take that victory and use it to take his career to another level is another question. Ali is going to need to prove that he has the talent to win the tougher fights against guys that aren’t 37, and who aren’t dealing with inactivity and an injured bicep the way that Cotto was last night.

Ali has his work cut out for him. If he’s to become the star that De La Hoya is hoping he’ll be, he’s going to need to prove that he can beat the best fighters in the junior middleweight division like Erislandy Lara, Jermell Charlo, Erickson Lubin, Austin Trout, Julian Williams and Jarrett Hurd. The way Ali looked last night, I think he’d have problems trying to beat any of those guys. Trout would be the most beatable option for Ali, but I don’t think he would beat him either. The rest of the guys on that list would likely be too much for Sadam Ali.

“I’m extremely happy for Sadam Ali. He can either fight at 154 or go down to 147,” said De La Hoya. ”He has many options. We’re already talking to HBO to put him right back on HBO in the first part of next year. When opportunity knocks on your door, you had better take it, and that’s exactly what Sadam Ali did. He took it. The skies the limit for Sadam Ali,” said De La Hoya.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Ali’s 15 minutes of fame ends in his next fight, depending on who De La Hoya and Golden Boy promotions match him against someone with talent at 154. If Ali moves back down to welterweight, he’s going to need to wait his turn for a world title shot. Golden Boy might be able to get Ali a crack at IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. in 2018, but it’s not going to be happening right away. WBA/WBC champion Keith Thurman is still out of action rehabbing.

Thurman will likely be taking a tune-up in early 2018 followed by rematches against Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia. Ali won’t have a chance to fight Thurman until 2019. I don’t see Golden Boy doing business with Top Rank to setup a fight between Ali and WBO champion Jeff Horn. Ali probably should stay at 154 and try to hold onto his WBO title for as long as possible, which might not be more than one fight.

“He’s a fighter with a lot of heart, who loves to prove everybody wrong,” said De La Hoya to about Sadam Ali. “He’s a fighter who a lot of people don’t give him a shot. He proved a lot of the people wrong. When we fought [Luis Carlos] Abregu, who would have thought he would knockout Abregu. Sadam is a guy who keeps getting better, and we haven’t seen the best of him,” said De La Hoya.

Abregu is arguably over-the-hill at this point in his career. It’s good that Sadam Ali beat him, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to beat the top guys in the 147 lb. division like Errol Spence Jr. Abregu has been nearly invisible since losing to Tim Bradley in 2010. In Abregu’s last fight, he was stopped in the 3rd round by journeyman Juan Carlos Pedrozo (10-8) last year in September. Ali got a good win over Cotto, but he’s going to need to prove that he can beat guys that aren’t injured and who aren’t old for him to prove he belongs at 154.