Advertisement
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com

Spence: Cotto Deserves 'Pass' for Facing Sadam Ali in Final Fight

image

By Keith Idec

NEW YORK – Had negotiations gone better between his handlers and Golden Boy Promotions a couple months ago, Errol Spence Jr. would’ve taken a far different trip to New York this week.

Different opponent. Different weight class. Different venue. Different borough. Different network. Different paycheck. Different everything.

Imagine how much more enthused we’d all be about Miguel Cotto’s farewell fight if it were to have come against Spence on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden? According to Spence, that fascinating fight would’ve happened had “The Golden Boy” himself, Oscar De La Hoya, not insisted Spence sign with his company, which promotes Cotto, in order to make the Cotto fight happen.

Otherwise, Spence, perhaps boxing’s best welterweight, would’ve moved up from 147 pounds to 154 to challenge Cotto for his WBO super welterweight title. The unbeaten IBF welterweight champion just isn’t willing to give up his promotional independence, not even for a high-profile fight at The Garden against a Puerto Rican legend Spence admits he would’ve loved to have fought.

That left us with two lower-profile press conferences this week featuring Spence and Cotto – one Wednesday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn and another Thursday at The Garden in Manhattan.

Spence’s trip from Dallas to New York instead revolved around his first defense of the IBF welterweight title he won six months ago from England’s Kell Brook – a January 20 fight against former two-division champion Lamont Peterson at Barclays Center (Showtime).

The 33-year-old Peterson (35-3-1, 17 KOs) is an undeniable underdog against the younger, stronger Spence (22-0, 19 KOs), but he is much more accomplished than the opponent on whom Cotto eventually settled, Brooklyn’s Sadam Ali. And Peterson, of Washington, D.C., at least competes in the same weight class as Spence.

miguel-cotto (11)_1

The 29-year-old Ali is a career welterweight who was stopped by Jessie Vargas in the ninth round of their fight for the then-vacant WBO welterweight title in March 2016 in Washington, D.C. Las Vegas’ Vargas has knocked out only 34 percent of his opponents since he turned pro nine years ago (27-2, 10 KOs).

Like Ali, Spence is a 5-feet-9 welterweight who fought for the United States in the Olympics. Their similarities end there, though.

While Spence also would’ve had to move up to face Cotto, he is generally regarded as one of the top 10 boxers, pound-for-pound, in the sport. Win or lose, opposing Spence in his final fight would’ve added even more credibility to Cotto’s already tremendous resume.

His decision to fight Ali, however, has drawn considerable criticism from fans, media and fellow fighters.

Nevertheless, a respectful Spence isn’t angry about this missed opportunity. The 2012 Olympian understands Golden Boy’s bullish approach to signing him, but based on how his career has progressed as part of adviser Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions organization, Spence just doesn’t think he needs a promoter.

“The offer was made from Golden Boy,” Spence said recently regarding the Cotto fight. “I mean, every promoter, you name ‘em, has been trying to get me since I turned pro. And, you know, I just declined it. I don’t want a promoter right now. I feel like I’m gonna start my own promotional company, probably later next year, and start doing my own thing. I mean, I’m already fighting on network [TV], I’m already main event, I’m already making great money, so I don’t see what a promoter can offer me.”

As disappointing as it was to have to turn down a shot at Cotto, the DeSoto, Texas, native has no problem with Cotto’s choice of opponent for his final fight. Spence feels as though a 37-year-old veteran who has won world titles in four weight classes and faced the likes of Floyd Mayweather Jr., Canelo Alvarez, Manny Pacquiao, Shane Mosley, Sergio Martinez, Antonio Margarito and Zab Judah has earned the right to fight whomever he wants.

Cotto (41-5, 33 KOs) is listed by numerous Internet sports books as a 10-1 favorite over Ali (25-1, 14 KOs), who has never fought as a full-fledged junior middleweight. That’s all fine by Spence.

“He deserves it,” Spence told BoxingScene.com following Wednesday’s press conference. “Cotto is a guy who never ducked anybody. You’ve never known Cotto to duck anybody or [have people] come out and say, ‘Oh, Cotto didn’t wanna fight this guy.’ Cotto fought the best fighters in his prime and never ducked opposition. So, I mean, if he wants to fight Sadam Ali, he can fight Sadam Ali. He deserves it. I let him go with that pass.”

Spence also acknowledged that he would’ve preferred spending this week winding down preparation for what would’ve been a huge fight at Madison Square Garden.

“Cotto is a future Hall-of-Famer,” Spence said. “Cotto has a great resume. He’s one of the best Puerto Rican fighters of all time. Definitely, I would’ve took that fight.”

The left-handed Spence is nearly 10 full years younger than Cotto and the last time Cotto encountered a southpaw in a junior middleweight title fight at The Garden, Austin Trout defeated Cotto convincingly over 12 rounds in December 2012. But based on what Spence has seen from Cotto recently, particularly during his dominant win against Japan’s Yoshihiro Kamegai on August 26, he thinks their fight would’ve been competitive.

“[I see] me winning, but I think it would’ve been a good fight,” Spence said. “Cotto, he’s tough, he’s very crafty, he’s got a lot of experience and he can box. He’s somebody that I watched a lot, too.”

Spence is certain Cotto has “more than enough left” to beat Ali impressively in a fight HBO will televise as the main event of a doubleheader Saturday night (10 p.m. ET). Though he believes Cotto could continue to be more than competitive against elite-level opponents, Spence also understands Cotto’s commitment to retirement following this fight.

“I’m not surprised,” Spence said. “He had a long career. You know, he’s been around for a long time and all of his classmates are retiring. So, I mean, it’s about that time, you know, you just sail off, man. Money-wise, he’s good. So why scramble your brain even more, just to stick around?”

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

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by revelated on 01-31-2018

[QUOTE=j.razor;18450607]Cotto is a little dude. Cotto smaller than Nelo & lil g is bigger than Nelo....LOL....that fight would of made NO sense (Cotto/lilg).[/QUOTE] Didn't stop Manny from facing Margacheato. Didn't stop Manny from facing Jeff "The Hornet" Horn. Seriously, I'm…

Comment by j.razor on 01-31-2018

[QUOTE=revelated;18267447]Max Kellerman specifically asked him if he was interested in fightin Canelo/GGG winner. Compare his reaction to fighting Canelo ("just another chapter") to his reaction to fighting G ("um...uh...") [/QUOTE] Cotto is a…

Comment by j.razor on 01-31-2018

[QUOTE=KnickTillDeaTh;18264750]Cotto would have fought Mayweather in a heart beat. It wasn't his call, and back then he just waited and fought who ever Arum put in front of him. He didn't start taking over his own career until Arum shafted…

Comment by BigStomps on 12-03-2017

[QUOTE=boxingitis;18283005]Who the fuk is crying. I already paid for HBO and buy most of the PPV, the conversation was about a fight being FREE on HBO. HBO is not free, but your such an idiot that u change the subject.[/QUOTE]…

Comment by boxingitis on 12-03-2017

[QUOTE=BigStomps;18281158]My life is good b itch! I got everything I need. I buy myself whatever I want! But your a broke ass piece of shet crying over $15. You b itch made motherfvcking coward![/QUOTE] Who the fuk is crying. I…

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (46)
Top Headlines Oscar Valdez To Start Training Camp With Reynoso on October 1 Anthony Joshua: I'll Fight Wilder Even If He Loses To Tyson Fury Juanma: I Hope Gamboa Faces Me, Doesn't Run To Fight Loma Hearn: Wilder Must Agree Now, We Won't Wait Until Fury Fight! Joshua: Povetkin Strong, But Didn't Hurt Me In The First Round Photos: Luke Campbell Avenges Loss To Yvan Mendy Dillian Whyte To Anthony Joshua: I'm Here, Ready To Fight Next Photos: Sergey Kuzmin Stops Injured David Price in Four Joshua Wants Wilder-Fury Winner April 13 at Wembley Stadium Photos: Anthony Joshua Blasts Out Povetkin - MEGA Gallery Anthony Joshua: Fans Can Decide My April Foe! Photos: Lawrence Okolie Defeats Matty Askin in a Stinker Photos: Shakhram Giyasov Breaks Down, Stops Laguna Danny Garcia: Porter Loss Was Tough, I Have A lot of Fight Left! Jayson Velez Demolishes Orlando Cruz in Two Rounds Krael Shocks Borrego on Mayweather Card, Bellows is Upset Selina Barrios Dominates Juarez: Wants Taylor, Mayer, Serrano Hearn: Fury is The Most Unentertaining Fighter I've Ever Seen! Anthony Joshua: I Got My Knockout Streak Back Povetkin Credits Joshua For Big Win, Has No Excuses Over Loss Arum Very Interested in Bringing Canelo and Golovkin To ESPN Danny Gonzalez Edges Johnny Hernandez in Tough Fight Hearn: We Want Wilder Now, It's Biggest Fight in World Boxing Firat Arslan, Emre Cukur, Tarik Sozer Victorius in Istanbul Fury Not Impressed With Joshua Win: Biggest Bum I Ever Saw Photos: Tony Bellew, Oleksandr Usyk - Face To Face at Wembley Anthony Joshua-Alexander Povetkin - CompuBox Punch Stats Joshua's Promoter: We'll Try For The Deontay Wilder Fight Again Anthony Joshua Drops, Stops Alexander Povetkin in Seventh Anthony Joshua-Alexander Povetkin: LIVE BoxingScene Scorecard Jonathan Taconing Dominates Vince Paras, Retains in Manila Luke Campbell Gets Revenge, Decisions Yvan Mendy Joshua vs. Povetkin: CompuBox Historical Review Luke Campbell vs. Yvan Mendy - LIVE BoxingScene Scorecard Lawrence Okolie Decisions Matty Askin in Very Ugly Fight Joshua Wants To Emulate Ronaldo and Pacquiao's Longevity Lawrence Okolie vs. Matty Askin - LIVE BoxingScene Scorecard Anthony Joshua-Alexander Povetkin: Stats & Stakes Sergey Kuzmin Stops a Tired David Price in Four Rounds David Price vs. Sergey Kuzmin - LIVE BoxingScene Scorecard
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement