He went on to win six world titles - most recently a vacant 154-pound belt on August 26 against Yoshihiro Kamegai that Cotto was defending for the first time on Saturday - in four weight divisions: junior welterweight, welterweight, junior middleweight and middleweight.
The 37 year old Miguel Cotto (41-5, 33 KOs) has seen better years, but the aging veteran who promised to retire after his December bought against Sadam Ali wants to go out with a bang and put on an impressive win against a younger unsafe opponent.
Following his defeat at MSG, the Puerto Rican fighter said that he was happy with his performance and he was looking forward to going home to be with his family.
Sadam Ali, right, scored a surprising unanimous decision win over Miguel Cotto on Saturday night, in what Cotto has said would be his final fight.
Others, Ali suspects, still won't respect his upset victory over Miguel Cotto on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.
The surefire first-ballot International Boxing Hall of Famer, however, couldn't quite give them what they wanted and lost 116-112, 115-113 and 115-113, ruining what was supposed to be a celebration of Cotto's superb career, rather than a serious fight.
"I already know that's gonna come", Ali said during a post-fight press conference. "Something happened to my left bicep in the seventh round, but I don't want to make excuses".
"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".
In the second round, Ali appeared to stagger Cotto momentarily with an overhand right.
Cotto suffered a torn left biceps just after the midway mark of the 12-round bout, but Ali hurt him twice before Cotto was injured.
Cotto continued to apply pressure in the seventh, but said that "something happened" to his left biceps in the round. The 3rd brought back and forth action from both fighters leading to intelligent exchanges and a more dominant Cotto round. Cotto controlled the pace in the fifth round and then landed a crisp straight right hand in the sixth that sent Ali stumbling into the ropes.
"I've been fighting since I was eight years old, and I've been in big arenas".
Unless Cotto yields to some unforeseen urge to withdraw his pledge to stay retired, his legacy shall forever remain beyond reproach or cause for sympathetic tsk-tsks. With Ali widely viewed as a designated victim, that might have contributed to Cotto's farewell fight playing to more empty seats than he has been accustomed to in a city that has more residents of Puerto Rican descent than San Juan. So he improved to 31-0, while Negrete fell to 17-1. Sometimes the burglars sneak up incrementally, taking advantage of an older fighter's loss of reaction time that can be measured in tenths, if not hundredths, of seconds. Yet, it was Vargas who looked the worse when they left the ring. Had he dominated Ali, one could imagine him perhaps getting the itch to take on a Canelo Alvarez or Gennady Golovkin, which was the initial plan. Sadam Ali didn't read that particular script however, claiming an tight unanimous points verdict after the fight went the championship distance. Alejo went down. And it was over at 1:33 of the 10th round. "But I didn't want to get over myself and get caught with a shot".