By Francisco Salazar
As what was widely rumored over the last couple of days was made official earlier this week.
Multi-division world titleholder Miguel Cotto will end his Hall-of-Fame career on Dec. 2 against Sadam Ali, Golden Boy Promotions announced on Wednesday.
Cotto will defend his WBO junior middleweight title against Sadam Ali at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The fight will air live on HBO.
Cotto, who began his pro career in 2001 after representing Puerto Rico at the 2000 Olympic Games, won world title belts at junior welterweight, welterweight, light middleweight and middleweight.
The 36-year-old Cotto (41-5, 33 knockouts), who resides in Caguas, Puerto Rico, was victorious in his last bout on Aug. 26, defeating Yoshihiro Kamegai by a one-sided decision.
Dec. 2 will mark the 10th time Cotto will fight at the ‘World’s Most Famous Arena.’
“I’m very excited to be back in the ring for my final fight at The Garden,” said Cotto, who has faced the likes of Shane Mosley, Zab Judah, Paulie Malignaggi, and Sergio Martinez at Madison Square Garden. “I’ve worked really hard my entire career to be at this level.”
“I am fully concentrated on getting together with Freddie Roach so we can work hard and have a great victory in December.”
Ali (25-1, 14 KOs), who resides in nearby Brooklyn, defeated Johan Perez by unanimous decision over 10 rounds on July 29. The 29-year-old, who will be fighting his first significant bout as a junior middleweight, has won his last three bouts since losing to Jessie Vargas in March of last year.
“I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to fight a legend in Madison Square Garden in front of all my fans and on HBO,” said Ali. “My time is now. God willing, I will leave the Garden with the championship belt.”
Golden Boy Promotions, which promotes both fighters, had a hold on the venue for the Cotto fight since August.
Oscar De La Hoya believes Ali will do more than hold his own against Cotto.
“What can you say about Miguel Cotto that hasn’t already been said during his two decades in boxing?” said De La Hoya, who is the Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions.
“He is a first-ballot Hall of Famer, a true legend in Puerto Rico, New York, and beyond. A true credit to the sport of boxing. Just like he (Cotto) was given a shot for his world championship, he is now doing the same for Sadam Ali. Who will come out on top? Tune in Dec. 2 to find out.”
No word yet on whether there will be one or two televised bouts to support the Cotto-Ali fight.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper, RingTV.com, and FightNights.com. He can reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing