FightNights.com released a column on Aug. 11 explaining why a fight between WBO junior middleweight world champion Miguel Cotto and former middleweight world champion David Lemieux was unrealistic and didn’t seem like a legitimate fight.
It turned out to be the case. ESPN reported on Saturday afternoon that Cotto (41-5, 33 KO’s), a four-division world champion and Sadam Ali (25-1, 14 KO’s), a welterweight contender, have agreed to terms to fight on Dec. 2 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The bout will be contested at 154-pounds and is slated to be the final of Cotto’s career.
The 36-year-old Cotto has stated since January that 2017 will be his final year in boxing. Despite not fighting for nearly two years, he dominated Japan’s Yoshihiro Kamegai (27-4-2, 24 KO’s) on Aug. 26 at StubHub Center in Carson, California.
Ali (25-1, 14 KO’s), 29, the first Arab-American boxer to represent the United States in the Olympics, in 2008, was last seen in the ring in July against Johan Perez at Casino Del Sol in Tucson. Although Ali won a comfortable points decision and managed to knock down his opponent in the third round, he wasn’t as impressive as the scorecards may have indicated.
Although Ali deserved the victory, he struggled in the early rounds to find his range and often found himself swinging wildly to no avail. He was also hurt from a big right hand in the eighth round.
It is also important to remember that Ali suffered his first professional defeat in March 2016 when he was knocked out by former world champion Jessie Vargas, who is not known for his punching power, in March 2016.
Albeit Kamegai wasn’t the best opponent on the block, Cotto looked very sharp. He boxed beautifully on the outside, connecting on hard right hands, and his left hook to the body is still very dangerous.
Ali’s 73-inch reach is exceptional when you consider that middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin only has a 70-inch wingspan. Cotto has a 67-inch reach and also carries a slight height disadvantage [5’9” to 5’7”].
His defensive flaws, though, will likely be his downfall against Cotto. When Ali gets aggressive on the inside and throws his left, he tends to drop his right hand and leaves himself open for a big left hook.
This has a massive KO victory for Cotto written all over it. And with Ali moving up in weight, it will likely happen.