SADAM ALI was not supposed to win. On Saturday (December 2) Miguel Cotto was having his final fight, a last defence of the WBO super-middleweight world title he had collected this year. But instead of the emotional night at Madison Square Garden becoming just a celebration of Cotto, it was also the coronation of a new champion.

“I proved everybody wrong. I’m happy,” Ali said. “I’m not in this sport just to take easy fights, sometimes you’ve got to take the big ones and this was mine and I went out there and I shocked the world.”

After boxing well, especially in the opening and closing rounds of the fight, Ali had a nervous wait for the judges’ verdict. “I did feel like I pulled it off but at the same time I wasn’t sure what the decision would be. I did pray at that moment, I did say please God let me just get this decision. I hope it goes my way. But I did believe even if it didn’t I did show who I was in that ring. I’m grateful that I did get that decision. I’m really happy,” he said. “I did what I had to do and I’m thankful for the decision.”

He hadn’t noticed Cotto suffer an injury to his left biceps in the seventh round. “I didn’t even know he was injured. I did see him retreat a little bit and at those times I took charge,” Ali reflected.

Miguel Cotto vs Sadam Ali

“I was able to catch him with some good shots, some body shots, some head shots. I might be about speed but I’ve got some power as well. It’s something that you’re born with. I did shake him up in the fight. He was definitely the bigger guy. He was aggressive most of the fight but I tried to step to him here and there,” Sadam explained.

“I wasn’t really surprised at all. I knew he would come strong, I knew if he caught me with a real good shot I could be hurt. So I knew I had to be smart in there and that’s what I did. I was aware, I moved. I was a little awkward in situations and I kept him on his toes at times. It was a tough fight but I stayed mentally strong. I knew if I’d done that and I put the work in beforehand, I would be fine.”

AS IT HAPPENED – Read the round by round report here