Sadam Ali: It’ll Feel Like Cotto’s Hometown at MSG, Not Mine

By Keith Idec

NEW YORK – Sadam Ali knows what to expect Saturday night.

He was inside Madison Square Garden when another Brooklyn native, Paulie Malignaggi, challenged Miguel Cotto in June 2006. Ali cheered for Malignaggi that night, but remembers being among an extreme minority.

Ali thus has braced himself for being booed in his hometown when he encounters Cotto at The Garden in a 12-round fight for Cotto’s WBO super welterweight title.

cotto-roach (1)

“It gets crazy in there,” Ali said before a press conference Thursday at The Garden. “I’m fighting in my hometown, but it’s gonna feel like his because of the support he has over there. Of course I’m gonna have my fans there, too, but with the Puerto Rican fans and it’s his last fight, of course it’s gonna overpower mine. But I’m not gonna let that distract me. At the end of the day, it’s two guys in the ring.”

The 37-year-old Cotto (41-5, 33 KOs) will fight at Madison Square Garden, the Puerto Rican legend’s home away from home, for the 10th time in his career Saturday night (HBO; 10 p.m. ET).

His fight against Ali will be Cotto’s first fight there in nearly 3½ years, though. Cotto hasn’t boxed at The Garden since he upset Sergio Martinez to win the WBC middleweight title in June 2014.

The 29-year-old Ali (25-1, 14 KOs), who has moved up from welterweight for this fight, has fought at The Garden once. He defeated Francisco Santana by unanimous decision in that 10-round fight, which took place on the Wladimir Klitschko-Bryant Jennings undercard in April 2015.

That was a far different atmosphere than what he remembers from the night Cotto beat a game Malignaggi by 12-round unanimous decision.

“I remember just the stadium, the sound,” Ali said. “It looked like Paulie didn’t live in New York. It’s just that way. When you have that support system behind you, it just happens that way. When you’ve made it to be that star, you have that backup. I’m sure I’ll have that, too, one day.”

For now, Ali doesn’t think he’ll be adversely affected by thousands of fans cheering for his opponent Saturday night.

“It could affect some fighters,” Ali said. “It doesn’t affect me, though. I’ve been fighting since I was 8 years old. I’ve been in stadiums where the noise is crazy or you can even have boos here and there. I’ve been through [fights] where people would hate on me and think I won’t be able to do something, but I would still do it. So I don’t see it affecting me in any way. The only thing that can affect me is myself and what I do in that ring. Other than that, nothing else.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by slimPickings on 12-03-2017

[QUOTE=Bronx2245;18279191]Well my Brother, it will feel that way, not just because he's a Taino Warrior, but because you got knocked out by Jessie Vargas! C'mon Son![/QUOTE] Who knows. Vargas would have knocked Cotto out!!!

Comment by KING5TWENTY on 12-02-2017

Good fight I will honor the great Cottos last fight.

Comment by Bronx2245 on 12-02-2017

Well my Brother, it will feel that way, not just because he's a Taino Warrior, but because you got knocked out by Jessie Vargas! C'mon Son!

Comment by Da Boxer on 12-02-2017

Only casuals and Mexican haters will not watch the fight. Win or lose, #KingCotto cimes to fight. Cucarachas will be hating, people who appresiate boxing and respects Miguel's time vested into the sport will watch his last fight. #WarCotto

Comment by MisanthropicNY on 12-02-2017

Probably going to watch this POS fight now that I'm not totally sold on paying $60 for a so-so UFC PPV...

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (6)
Top Headlines Steven Ortiz Edges Wesley Ferrer By Majority Decision Misael Lopez Beats James Wilkins By Unanimous Decision Joshua: I'm The Best in The Division, No Doubt, It's Been Proven! Povetkin: I'm as Strong as Joshua, I Was Weaker With Klitschko Wilder, Fury Sign Contracts - Tour Begins on October 1 in London Luis Nery vs. Jason Conoy For WBC Silver, on October 6 Wilder-Fury Announcement Next Week; Likely 12/1, Staples Center Photos: Jayson Velez, Orlando Cruz - Ready For Puerto Rico Battle Joshua's Coach: Povetkin is Not Parker or Takam - He's Top Level Dutchover: Aguilar Won't Stop Me From Reaching Title Goal Sanchez: Golovkin a Little Angry Vegas Favors The House Fighter Povetkin: I Will Give Everything, It's One of My Last Big Chances Whyte: If Chisora Fights Me, It Will Be His Last Fight Photos: Yuriorkis Gamboa, Juanma Lopez - Square Up at Presser Photos: Campbell vs. Mendy, Okolie vs. Askin - Ready For Battle Photos: David Price, Sergey Kuzmin - Vow Fireworks at Wembley Photos: Anthony Joshua, Alexander Povetkin - Ready For War Munguia Satisfied With Adjustments, Saw Canelo as Big Winner Badou Jack: Stevenson on different level than guys Gvozdyk beat Joshua Out-Weighs Povetkin By Almost 25 Pounds In London Hopkins: Canelo Flipped Script On Golovkin, Walked Him Down David Price: Beating Sergey Kuzmin Can Be Life-Changing Joshua vs. Povetkin: Chris Kongo, John Docherty Added James Wilkins' Big Moment Has Arrived in ShoBox Debut Amir Khan Tells Anthony Joshua To Head To America For Legacy Malignaggi: Fans Won't Watch Mayweather-Pacquiao 2? Bullsh*t! BoxNation Announces Big Week of Live Shows DAZN Exec: No Reason Boxing Fans Shouldn't Come Check Us Out Iran Diaz Expects Tough Outing, Vows To Shock Sor Rungvisai Thurman: I Look Forward To Reminding Everyone I'm #1 at 147 Khan: I Can't End Career With Canelo Being My Only Big Fight! Photos: Michael Dutchover, Bergman Aguilar Ready For Battle Chocolatito Wants To Take Things Slow, Adapt More To 115 Lemieux on Canelo: I'll Be The Underdog, I Can Surprise Everyone Photos: Victor Ortiz, John Molina Come Together For Media Day Amir Khan: People Think I Can't Take a Shot Jhonny Gonzalez vs. Tomas Rojas on October 6, Mexico City Trey Lippe-Morrison Back in Training With Roach at Wild Card Joe Noynay Breaks Foe To Retain, Toyogon Vaporizes Bolcio Photos: Yuriorkis Gamboa, Miguel Beltran - Go Face To Face

Latest Active Forum Threads