Tonight at 10 pm ET on HBO, Miguel Cotto takes to the ring for what is being advertised as the final time, facing Sadam Ali in a WBO junior middleweight title main event from Madison Square Garden.
Cotto (41-5, 33 KO) says he’s retiring at age 37. Being boxing, that remains to be seen, but that’s the story. He’ll be defending the 154-pound belt he won in August tonight against Ali (25-1, 14 KO), who is moving up from welterweight for the big opportunity.
In the co-feature, the WBC super bantamweight title will be on the line as Rey Vargas (30-0, 22 KO) defends against Oscar Negrete (17-0, 7 KO). Vargas has emerged as one of the top fighters at 122 pounds, and Negrete is hoping to join that discussion by lifting Vargas’ belt.
Wil Esco will be on the round-by-round coverage tonight. Join us for this special event as we begin winding down 2017 in boxing!
- SADAM ALI def. MIGUEL COTTO by UD (115-113, 116-112, 115-113)
- REY VARGAS def. OSCAR NEGRETE by UD (119-109, 119-109, 120-108)
ROUND BY ROUND
Miguel Cotto vs. Sadam Ali
Round 1: Cotto comes to center ring slowly and Ali tries to start fast with a few jabs. Ali ties another jab and Cotto slips it. Cotto makes his first real attack but can't find the range. Right hook to the body lands for Cotto. Ali catches Cotto with a right hand downstairs. Cotto misses on a big left hook as Ali is using his fast hands early to get off before Cotto can. Jab lands for Ali. I think Ali takes the opening round. Ali 10-9.
Round 2: Ali comes out and throws combination to keep Cotto on the defensive. Cotto comes forward and a left hook upstairs partially lands. Ali stuns Cotto with a right hand! Ali gets dropped, but it was ruled a slip! Cotto lands a hard right hand. Cotto is getting more aggressive now and pressing Ali backwards more. Cotto throws a combination along the ropes but can't get anything to land cleanly. Ali is doing a good job early. I'm giving this round to Ali too. Ali 10-9, 20-18.
Round 3: Ali lands a jab as Cotto tries to counter with a left hook. Hard left hook lands for Ali! Cotto tries to go downstairs but Ali slips out of range. Cotto lands a right hand led but Ali responds back with a three punch combination that Cotto mostly blocks. Cotto backs Ali to the ropes but can't get anything off. Cotto lands a straight right lead now. Cotto continues to come forward and apply more and more pressure on Ali. Cotto 10-9.
Round 4: Cotto comes out trying to pick up where he left off by steadily applying pressure. Cotto gets stunned again by Ali! Cotto recovers quickly and comes right back after Ali. Cotto throws a hard combination and gets to Ali along the ropes! Ali sneaks in an uppercut and throws a few more for good measure. Cotto lands a jab, then another. Ali weaves a Cotto hook. Ali lands the best punch of the round. Ali 10-9, 39-37.
Round 5: Ali flashes his jab and Cotto counters downstairs with a right hand. Ali lands a counter right hand, then partially lands a lead right. Cotto walks forward and tries a left hook to the body but Ali pivots away in time. Cotto tries to strafe Ali along the ropes but can't quite find the target. Cotto is coming forward but having trouble landing clean. Now Cotto lands a left to the body. Cotto attacks again but only partially lands. I think Cotto nicks the rounds in the final 30 seconds. Cotto 10-9.
Round 6: Ali comes out and pumps two jabs that Cotto blocks. Cotto lands a counter right hand but Ali is trying to outwork Cotto. Hard body shot lands for Cotto as Ali lands one upstairs. Double jab from Cotto misses the target. Now Cotto lands a left hand as Ali backs away. Hard right hand shocks Ali and sends him stumbling to the ropes! Cotto presses forward but can't capitalize, but now Cotto lands a couple left hooks downstairs. Cotto 10-9, 57-57.
Round 7: Cotto comes out trying to find his measure, but Ali sneaks in a lead right. Left hook upstairs lands for Cotto but didn't have his full power behind it. Ali tries a leaping lead left hook but it doesn't do much. Cotto stalks Ali and lands a left hook upstairs again. Hard left to the body lands for Cotto! Ali lands a right in return but Cotto walks through it. Ali is spending more and more time along the ropes now which is not what he wants. Cotto 10-9.
Round 8: Ali comes out trying to use a stiff jab to keep Cotto off of him. Cotto gets Ali back on the ropes again and Cotto tries to take advantage. Ali lands a couple punches and fights his way off the ropes. It's starting to look like Cotto is wearing on Ali now, but Ali isn't giving up. Ali lands a solid uppercut at mid-range but didn't follow up as Cotto seemed to be momentarily hurt. Left hook ricochets off the top of Ali's noggin. Cotto 10-9, 77-75.
Round 9: Ali starts the round with a three-punch combination. Cotto presses Ali again and Ali is throwing more punches now to keep Cotto at bay. Ali lands an uppercut to the body as the action slows down. Cotto coming forward again and gets Ali back to the ropes. Ali throwing more combinations now and Cotto isn't getting off as much. I think Ali outworked Cotto in this round. Ali 10-9.
Round 10: Ali boxing and moving to open the 10th round and Cotto is trying to walk forward and break Ali down. Ali is still strong though and has been throwing more punches as of late. Ali pops a few jabs that don't land clean. Cotto tries to do the same but gets the same results. Ali tries to mount and attack and lands a hard left hand on Cotto! Cotto dances away and Ali lands another left hook! Cotto backing away again. Ali 10-9, 95-95.
Round 11: Ali comes out quick and throws about a dozen punches to open the round! Cotto is laying back and is fighting going backwards now. Both fighters exchange blows and Cotto is looking really tired in the ring. Ali coming forward and has Cotto on the ropes. Cotto double jabs and gets back to center ring. Cotto hasn't been punching much in the last few rounds and Ali is looking fresher at this point. Ali attacks Cotto on the ropes with a flurry of punches. Ali continues to pick up the pace on Cotto and Cotto is showing every bit of his age. Ali 10-9.
Round 12: Both fighters touch gloves and Ali throws three punches. Ali looks really focused in there but Cotto is mostly just dancing around the ring as Ali tries to press the issue. Ali lands a grazing right hand on the side of Cotto's head. Ali lets his hands fly and Cotto can't get any payback. Now Cotto comes forward again but is having trouble getting that clean shot in on Ali. Both fighters trade jabs at center ring and the crowd gets hype with the final 30 seconds on the clock. Ali throws another flurry to end the fight. Ali 10-9. BLH scores the fight for Ali, 115-113.
Rey Vargas vs. Oscar Negrete
Round 1: Vargas comes out throwing his jab on the six-inch shorter Negrete. Vargas keeping Negrete on the end of his punches and tries to follow up with some power punches. Negrete tries to walk forward and close the distance but is having a hard time getting in range without Vargas picking him off on the way in. Negrete bulls Vargas to the ropes and tries to work the body, I assume he'll be trying a lot of that tonight. Vargas unloads five punches at center ring, Negrete blocks a couple of them. Vargas lands a hard left hook to the body! Vargas throws a left uppercut followed by a left hook to the body afterwards, Negrete grins. Another hard left hook to the body lands for Vargas. Easy round to score. Vargas 10-9.
Round 2: Vargas meets Negrete with a stiff jab once the bell rings. Negrete tries to rush in and Vargas throws a check hook. The height disadvantage for Negrete is proving to be a big deal so far. Negrete gets Vargas to the ropes and tries some looping punches with little effect. Hard combination lands for Vargas, snapping Negrete's head back! Negrete holds Vargas' left arm and it looks like the punishment may already be starting to take a toll him. Vargas throws a few hard body shots as he's able to time Negrete walking in. Vargas whips in several more body shots to end the round. Vargas 10-9, 20-18.
Round 3: Negrete tries to get off first to open this round but falls short. Vargas throws a five punch combination as Negrete tries to come in again but he's not able to land cleanly. Left hook to the chin clips Negrete. Vargas has been mounting a deliberate body attack early in this fight. Vargas hits the deck on a trip and the referee rules it as such. Negrete gets warned for holding behind the head as he tries to get some punches back. Vargas 10-9.
Round 4: Negrete comes out in a crouch and tries to walk under Vargas' punches. Negrete comes forward but walks right into another Vargas combination. Negrete gets in left hand but can't sustain any attack. Nice check left hook lands right on the chin of Negrete. Negrete puts his guard up and then tries to press Vargas to the ropes but and ties a looping right hand but Vargas sees it coming and rolls the punch. Vargas is using his height, reach, and combination punching to control this fight. Vargas 10-9, 40-36.
Round 5: Negrete tries a jab to the body to open the round. The problem with Negrete's approach is he's trying to close the distance by walking straight in and Vargas can easily see him coming and pick him off. Negrete needs to try something else, but I'm not sure he knows anything else. Right uppercut lands for Vargas on the inside! Negrete is trying hard, now giving up on himself, but that's not enough to win these rounds. At this point Vargas has landed 50 more power punches than Negrete in the fight. Combination lands for Vargas to end the round. More of the same. Vargas 10-9.
Round 6: Negrete comes out with a three punch combination on Vargas. Vargas is playing matador now but Vargas has a small cut over his right eye. Uppercut lands for Vargas again, this time a mid-range. Negrete lands a right to the body as Vargas tries to back away. Negrete making sure to let his hands work as the two get in close quarters. The two fighters trade shots at center ring and Vargas decides he wants to get back to boxing on the move. A much better round for Negrete. I'll actually put him on the board in this frame. Negrete 10-9, 55-59.
Round 7: Vargas comes out quick this round and beats Negrete to the punch. Vargas throws a nice uppercut to the body as blood begins to stream down the right side of his face from that cut. Vargas lands a counter right hand as Negrete walks straight in once again. Hard left to the body lands again for Vargas, then another one! Negrete lands an uppercut and it looks like Vargas just may have another cut. Vargas takes the round, despite the blood. Vargas 10-9.
Round 8: Replay shows Vargas' cut was caused by an accidental head clash. Vargas back to picking off Negrete's forward momentum with punches. Vargas throws a combination with a few body shots that land nicely on Negrete. Negrete still coming forward, though. Now Vargas has a cut over his left eye and the referee calls a timeout to have a doctor take a look at Vargas who is bleeding over both eyes. The doc says Vargas is good to go and we're back underway. Negrete is emboldened now and tries to mount an aggressive attack on Vargas. Looping right hand lands for Negrete. Hard left hook to the body lands again for Vargas! I still gotta give this one to Vargas. Vargas 10-9, 79-73.
Round 9: Replay shows that the new cut over Vargas' left eye was again caused by another accidental head clash. Vargas strafes Negrete with a number of punches as he gets him on the ropes for once and the crowd gets excited. Lead right hand lands for Vargas. Negrete presses forward, walking through incoming fire, but is having difficulty landing a shot that can change the tone of this fight. Really just more of the same. Vargas 10-9.
Round 10: Vargas is trying to keep the fight on the outside a little bit more now, perhaps to avoid any more damage to the big cuts he has over each eye. Vargas jabs and moves, jabs and moves, and Negrete is having difficulty getting past it. More jabs come from Vargas who then goes to the body and gets warned for a low blow. Hard uppercut to the body lands for Vargas. Negrete tries a looping right but catches Vargas' shoulder. Vargas 10-9, 99-91.
Round 11: Vargas continues to keep the fight on the outside and Negrete doesn't seem to have the energy to even try to close the distance with vigor he was earlier. Vargas doubles up on the left hook to the body and head and then pivots away. Negrete seems like he's tired now, and hasn't been throwing many punches in the last couple of rounds. Vargas isn't pressing the issue, just looking to keep from taking any more head clashed. Vargas 10-9.
Round 12: Negrete's corner tells him he needs to throw everything he has in this last round. Negrete walks forward behind his guard as Vargas throws a few straight punches. Vargas throws long punches from range an clips Negrete. Another left to the body lands for Vargas which Negrete has taken surprisingly well over the course of this fight. Vargas jabs Negrete down to end the round and the fight. Vargas 10-9. BLH scores it for Vargas, 119-109.