By Keith Idec
When Miguel Cotto signed with Golden Boy Promotions during the summer, the four-division champion hoped to land a big fight before ending his Hall-of-Fame career by the conclusion of this year.
Cotto publicly stated his desire to fight Canelo Alvarez again or Gennady Golovkin, though neither of those options were realistic based on the Puerto Rican icon’s self-imposed deadline for retirement. In Sadam Ali, he’ll face an opponent far inferior to Alvarez or Golovkin in his 47th and final professional fight.
Once numerous potential opponents turned down a December 2 fight against Cotto at Madison Square Garden, the WBO super welterweight champion settled for a title fight against a welterweight who was stopped last year by a welterweight with 10 knockouts in 29 fights. The 37-year-old Cotto (41-5, 33 KOs) and promoter Oscar De La Hoya have taken criticism for choosing Ali for his farewell fight, but De La Hoya said during a conference call Wednesday that he isn’t disappointed about Ali landing this daunting assignment.
Like Cotto, Brooklyn’s Ali (25-1, 14 KOs), a 2008 American Olympian, is promoted by De La Hoya’s company. Assuming he retires after boxing Ali, Cotto’s two fights with Golden Boy Promotions will have come against Japan’s Yoshihiro Kamegai (27-4-2, 24 KOs), who Cotto dominated in their 12-rounder August 26 in Carson, California, and Ali.
“There’s no disappointment whatsoever,” De La Hoya said. “Everything happens for a reason. Miguel Cotto has had a stellar career, an amazing career. He’s fighting Sadam Ali and he’s fighting in his second hometown, which is New York, at The Garden … and fighting on HBO live. There’s no disappointment whatsoever.
“Everything is all positive and Miguel Cotto deserves this chance of a lifetime. Imagine that – going out on top, or vying to go out on top, on HBO, in front of your hometown in New York, at The Garden, against a great fighter like Ali. This is another great opportunity for the boxing fans and for Miguel Cotto.”
HBO will broadcast Cotto-Ali as the main event of a “World Championship Boxing” doubleheader December 2. The show will open at 10 p.m. ET with a 12-round bout between Mexico’s Rey Vargas (30-0, 22 KOs), the WBC super bantamweight champion, and Colombia’s Oscar Negrete (17-0, 7 KOs).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.