Miguel Cotto: A Madison Square Garden timeline
Miguel Cotto will fight for the final time – if he’s taken according to his word – when he defends his WBO junior middleweight title against Sadam Ali, at his home away from homes, Madison Square Garden, New York City, on Saturday.
Facing Ali was met by derision when the fight was announced in early October. However, to the Puerto Rican’s considerable credit, he’s fought the best of his generation, broken various records and enjoyed a hugely successful career.
Cotto is the first Puerto Rican to win world titles in four weight classes. This will be his 26th world title fight, more an any other Puerto Rican.
Cotto will be taking part in his 47th professional fight before walking off into the sunset and beginning the countdown to his eventual enshrinement a couple hundred miles north in Canastota, five years from now.
Of those 47 outings this will be his 10th time – all headline or co-headline events – appearing at the home of American sports.
June 11, 2005 – Muhammad Abdullaev, TKO 9: Surprisingly, it wasn’t until Cotto’s 24th fight when he first appeared at Madison Square Garden. He successfully defended his WBO junior welterweight title for the third time, easily exacting revenge on Abdullaev who had beaten Cotto at the 2000 Olympics. Cotto had his way with Abdullaev and caused the Uzbekistani fighter’s right eye to swell shut.
June 10, 2006 – Paulie Malignaggi, UD 12: After the huge success of pairing Cotto with the annual Puerto Rican Parade Weekend, Top Rank brought its charge back to the Big Apple and matched him with the loud, brash but unproven Malignaggi, who hails from the nearby Brooklyn. Cotto got off to a good start and dropped Malignaggi in the second. To the New Yorker’s immense credit, although he didn’t have the firepower to hurt Cotto, he was able to show considerable moxie, fighting with a broken right cheek bone. Cotto successfully defended his WBO 140-pound strap by unanimous decision.
June 9, 2007 – Zab Judah, TKO 11: Cotto was matched with another New Yorker; this time he met the uber-talented but underachieving Judah. Cotto was able to offset Judah’s speed with his timing and body attack and finally overwhelmed Judah in the penultimate round to retain his WBA welterweight title for the second time.
November 10, 2007 – Shane Mosley, UD 12: Both men fought on close-to-even terms, throughout a fast-paced contest that saw each have his moments. According to CompuBox stats, each combatant landed 248 punches. In the end, Cotto eked out a close unanimous decision, 116-113 and 115-113 (twice) to retain his WBA belt.
February 21, 2009 – Michael Jennings, TKO 5: In his first fight back after losing his unbeaten record, seven months earlier, against Antonio Margarito, Cotto returned to a familiar haunt, dropping the Brit three times, en route to a fifth round stoppage. He claimed the vacant WBO 147-pound laurels in the process.
June 13, 2009 – Joshua Clottey, SD 12: Cotto got off to a perfect start, dropping Clottey in the opening round. However, a clash of heads saw the Puerto Rican star bleed from the left eye through the remainder of their meeting. At the conclusion of 12 rounds, Cotto was awarded a split decision, as scores of 116-111 and 115-112 overruled 114-113 for Clottey.
December 3, 2011 – Antonio Margarito, RTD 9: Just over three years after their first meeting, these fierce rivals were back in unison. On this occasion, Cotto was laid a brutal beating on the game Mexican, who wasn’t able to roar back into the fight, in the second half, like he did the first time around. Margarito was retired – much to his dismay – at the end of the ninth round.
December 1, 2012 – Austin Trout, L UD 12: Cotto looked to rebound from losing to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in May by facing WBA junior middleweight titleholder Austin Trout. It proved a difficult night for Cotto, who struggled with the New Mexico resident’s movement and ultimately lost a wide decision. Many believe the fight was closer than the 117-111 (twice) and the wildly off-base 119-109 scores indicated.
June 7, 2014 – Sergio Martinez, RTD 10: Cotto entered a slight underdog but dropped Martinez three times in a blitzkrieg attack in the opening round before controlling the action for much of the contest. The defending THE RING Magazine and WBC middleweight champion was down in the ninth and his corner brought the fight to a close at the start of the following round for what may well be Cotto’s greatest triumph.
Thanks for the memories, Miguel. You absolutely brought it each and every time you stepped inside the ring.
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