At Madison Square Garden Saturday night Oscar de La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions and Miguel Cotto Promotions put on three world title fights on a six bout card. The event was aired over USA HBO.
WBO World Super Welterweight Champion Miguel “Junito” Cotto, 41-6 (33), of Caguas, PR, lost his title to Sadam “World Kid” Ali, 26-1 (14), of Brooklyn, NY, over 12 rounds. Cotto announced prior to the fight it would be his final fight.
In the first round it was all Ali using an effective jab followed by rights to the head of Cotto. There was little offense from Cotto especially his well known left hook. In the second round Ali answered a solid right to the head of Cotto. Another right to the head hurt Cotto who was on rubbery legs. In the third round Ali continued to use his jab followed by right hands. Cotto didn’t seem to land his well known left hook.
In the fourth round a hard left hook to the head from Ali rocked Cotto. With a minute to go in the round another left hook to the head by Ali hurt Cotto. In the fifth round Ali continued to counter well with the continuous coming forward Cotto. A double right hand to the head from Ali on Cotto was quite impressive. In the sixth round Cotto seemed to be doing better and with a minute left in the round Cotto rocked Ali with a right to the head.
In the seventh round it was a big one for Cotto whose left hook came into play. He landed it starting the round and ended it at the end of the round. In the eighth round Cotto had Ali against the ropes and Ali suddenly drove Cotto across the ring. Halfway thru the round Ali hurt Cotto with a hard left hook to the head. Just prior to the end of the round Cotto landed a right to the head of Ali getting his attention. In the ninth round both fighters exchanged left hooks to the head. The round itself seemed to have both fighters slowing down.
In the tenth round with a minute left in the round Ali rocked Cotto with a left hook to the head. Cotto kept moving back without throwing any punches. Ali hurt Cotto again with a solid left hook to the head. In the eleventh round Ali came storming out landing several rights to the head of Cotto. Ali has had Cotto backing up the entire round with left hooks and straight rights to the head. In the twelfth and final round a wild swinging Ali may have pulled it out as Cotto ends his career with a not so great fight.
Judge’s Julie Lederman and Steve Weisfeld scored it 115-113 while Eric Marlinski had it 116-112 as did this writer. Referee Charlie Fitch had an easy night in a really clean fight on the part of both fighters.
“This was a dream come true,” said Ali.
“I hurt my left bicep in the seventh round but I am not making excuses,” said Cotto.
WBC Super Bantamweight Champion Rey Vargas, 31-0 (22), of Otumba, MEX, pitched a shutout over Colombian Oscar “Jaguar” Negrete, 17-1 (7), of Rosemead, CA, over 12 rounds.
In the first round the much taller Vargas showed quite a variety of arsenal. His longer reach sets up his body shots as Negrete kept trying to get inside but had little success. In the second round Vargas worked the body of Negrete with both hands. He seemed to want to do as much damage to the body of Negrete. In the third round Negrete had his moments with overhand rights to the head of Vargas and one left hook that rocked Vargas. Even with all of that Vargas still won the round continuing with a long jab and more body work.
In the fourth round Negrete gets warnings from referee Ricky Gonzalez for holding. Vargas just had too much reach for the much smaller Negrete who hasn’t shown to be a good puncher in the past. In the fifth round Vargas rocked Negrete while inside with a vicious right uppercut to the chin. Each round seemed like the one before it while Negrete not winning a round but he never stopped coming forward. In the sixth round Vargas landed a combination to the head but was countered with a Negrete left hook to the head. Vargas had a small cut on the outside of his right eye. Vargas continues to out punch Negrete.
In the seventh round Negrete continued to attempt to make a brawl of it. Vargas had blood down the side of his face caused back in the fifth round from a head butt over the right eye and under his eye brow. Vargas lands well with right uppercuts after his jab continues to keep Negrete at bay. Vargas received another cut this time over the left eye which brought the ring physician in by request from the referee. The cut was identical to the one on the right eye also caused by a head butt. In the eighth round the ring physician was brought in again before the round started. Vargas is winging left hooks to the side of Negrete that have taken its toll but doesn’t discourage the latter. Though the punch count of Vargas slowed down he continued to land more punches than Negrete.
In the tenth round it was Negrete who seemed to slow down. The cuts didn’t open up like in previous rounds. Vargas was winning every round but looking at his face you would think he was the loser due to the cuts from head butts. In the eleventh round it was Vargas showing to be the aggressor looking for a knockout. Negrete may have hurt his left shoulder. In the twelfth and final round Negrete doesn’t use his left at all at times it hangs to his side. The punches from Vargas have taken its toll. It would be hard giving the courageous Negrete a round.
Judges Kevin Morgan and Carlos Ortiz had it 119-109 while Alan Rubenstein scored it 120-108 as did this writer.