Cotto vs. Ali fight preview, prediction

Cotto vs. Ali fight preview, prediction

Cotto vs. Ali fight preview, prediction

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Former four division world champion Miguel Cotto (41-5, 33 KOs) steps inside the squared circle for the final time in his Hall of Fame career as he defends the WBO junior middleweight title against 2008 Olympian Sadam Ali (25-1, 14 KOs) from Madison Square Garden in New York City. 

Cotto won the title in his last fight in August after a 21-month layoff when he defeated Yoshihiro Kamegai by unanimous decision. We will find out if Cotto has one eye on retirement and a foot out the door — if he does, Ali can spoil the party inside MSG and pull off a monumental upset.

This isn't the fight Cotto was looking for. He had attended the Sept. 16 bout featuring Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin with the idea of facing the winner, but the judging in Las Vegas prevented that from happening as it ended in a draw. 

Cotto and Golden Boy Promotions made overtures to some of the bigger names in the sport, including welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr., lightweight champ Mikey Garcia, former welterweight titleholders Danny Garcia and Jesse Vargas, and former middleweight title holder David Lemieux.

All those offers were turned down; Spence and Mikey Garcia were offered multi-bout agreements with Golden Boy in which they would have received about $2 million to fight the 37-year-old. After those options were exhausted, the offer was extended to Ali.

The 29-year-old heads into the biggest fight of his career, riding a three-fight winning streak since his knockout loss to Vargas in March 2016. His most recent fight was July 29 against Johan Perez on a "Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN" card, winning by unanimous decision.

While anything can happen once Cotto and Ali step into the ring, the consensus in boxing is this will be a Cotto rout. Ali's never faced anyone in the same league as Cotto — he needs to have a once-in-a-lifetime performance to be able to pull off the upset. 

Cotto gets the job done. He's the better pure boxer, has more power and fight experience as this will mark the 10th time he's competed inside MSG. Add all of it up and it equals a successful swan song for the one of the all-time greats.

Prediction: Cotto by fourth-round KO.