Cotto loses to Ali in farewell
NEW YORK (AP):
This was not the way Miguel Cotto planned to leave boxing.
Sadam Ali ruined the Garden party for Cotto on Saturday night, sending the Puerto Rican star into retirement with a 12-round defeat by unanimous decision. It was a matchup of a Brooklynite and an adopted New Yorker, and it has the building rocking.
The 37-year-old Cotto simply could not handle the quickness of his younger opponent, who took the WBO junior middleweight belt. Ali did it despite being the less-popular fighter only miles from his borough. Cotto has made Madison Square Garden (MSG) a second home but fell to 8-2 in the arena.
"I had him hurt here or there in the first couple of rounds," Ali said. "I knew I had to do something, or he would have dug in."
Cotto finishes 41-6 (Ali moves to 26-1), and he looked his age far too often. He hurt his left arm in the seventh round in losing by scores of 115-113, 115-113, and 116-112.
"Feeling good with the performance," Cotto said. "Something happened to my left bicep ... I don't want to make excuses. Sadam won the fight. It is my last fight. I am good, and I want to be happy in my home with my family."
Many of the 12,371 fans booed the decision and again when Ali spoke in the ring.
"I worked hard for it," the 29-year-old Ali said. "I took advantage of this fight, and I made sure to make it count. I want to thank team Cotto. They could have taken an easier fight if they wanted to."
The fans soon were cheering as Cotto made his final statements to his legion of fans.
"Thank you to everyone," Cotto said in English. He usually answers questions in Spanish.
"Thank you for all the fans. I am proud to call MSG my second home. I had the opportunity to provide the best for my family because of the sport."
Cotto had received a thunderous ovation when he entered the ring, and fans were chanting his name as he left, proud but defeated.