By Keith Idec
Sadam Ali at least looked the part Friday afternoon.
The welterweight contender from Brooklyn officially weighed in at a career-high 153 pounds for his 12-round, 154-pound title fight against Miguel Cotto on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. His highest official weight prior to Friday was 151 pounds, for a four-round, unanimous-decision win against Martinus Clay in May 2010.
Puerto Rico’s Cotto got on the New York State Athletic Commission’s scale at 151.6 pounds Friday for a farewell fight in which he is a heavy favorite. That was the lowest weight for Cotto since he was 145 pounds the day before his loss to Manny Pacquiao in their WBO welterweight title fight eight years ago.
The 37-year-old Cotto (41-5, 33 KOs) will make the first defense of the WBO super welterweight title he won by dominating Japan’s Yoshihiro Kamegai in their 12-round fight for the then-vacant championship August 26 at StubHub Center in Carson, California.
The four-division champion, who’ll fight at Madison Square Garden for the 10th time in his celebrated career, has repeatedly stated that he’ll retire after facing Ali in an HBO “World Championship Boxing” main event.
Cotto is a 10-1 favorite against Ali, a 2008 Olympian who’ll move up from 147 pounds to 154 for the biggest fight of his eight-year career. The 5-feet-9 Ali is two inches taller than Cotto, but Cotto has been at least a 154-pound fighter for seven years.
Mexico’s Rey Vargas and Colombia’s Oscar Negrete also made weight Friday afternoon for their 12-round, 122-pound title fight Saturday night.
The 27-year-old Vargas (30-0, 22 KOs), who’ll defend his WBC super bantamweight title, weighed in at 121.4 pounds. The 30-year-old Negrete (17-0, 7 KOs), who has moved up from bantamweight for this title shot, officially weighed 121.2 pounds.
HBO will televise Vargas-Negrete as the opener of a doubleheader that’ll feature Cotto and Ali in the main event. The broadcast is scheduled to begin at 10 p.m. ET.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.