By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Sadam Ali made a successful, if not overly impressive, return to the welterweight division Saturday night.
The former WBO junior middleweight champion out-pointed Mauricio Herrera in a mostly uneventful, 10-round, 147-pound encounter on the Canelo Alvarez-Rocky Fielding undercard at Madison Square Garden. Ali (27-2, 14 KOs) fought off his back foot for much of their bout and landed right hands with enough frequency to easily win a unanimous decision.
Herrera hit Ali with a couple hard shots toward the end of the ninth round. Ali went to the canvas toward the end of the 10th round, but it was the result of a slip.
Otherwise, Ali largely controlled the distance and the pace of the bout to out-box Herrera (24-8, 7 KOs), of Riverside, California. Judges Bernard Bruni (100-90), Larry Hazzard Jr. (99-91) and Dave Sutherland (98-92) each scored the fight for Ali by wide distances.
Brooklyn’s Ali, 30, fought for the first time since Mexico’s Jaime Munguia demolished him in their May 12 fight for Ali’s WBO 154-pound championship.
Ali moved up to 154 pounds for the opportunity to challenge Puerto Rican icon Miguel Cotto last December 2 at The Garden. A 37-year-old Cotto was a 10-1 favorite over Ali, but a younger, quicker Ali out-boxed the former four-division champion and pulled off one of boxing’s biggest upsets of 2017.
His title reign last just five months, though. Munguia, a late replacement for an ill Liam Smith, overwhelmed a smaller Ali, knocked him down four times and stopped him in the fourth round at Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.