HBO Sports, with a 44-year tradition in professional boxing, takes a deep dive into the career of sure-fire Hall of Famer Miguel Cotto, the most accomplished and decorated fighter in Puerto Rican history, as he prepares to make one last ring appearance next month against former U.S. Olympian Sadam Ali when MIGUEL COTTO: A RETROSPECTIVE debuts SATURDAY, NOV. 25 at 12:45 p.m. ET/PT immediately following the live HBO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® tripleheader telecast from New York.
The special will also be available on HBO NOW, HBO GO® and HBO On Demand®, and at hbo.com/boxing, as well as other new media platforms.
Four-division and six-time world champion Miguel Cotto (41-5, 33 KOs), returns to the ring for the final time in what will mark the end of an era for the future Hall of Famer. Cotto will look to successfully defend his junior middleweight title in his last outing before a packed crowd of loyal New York supporters as he closes the book on his legendary career.
HBO Sports production cameras will visit Cotto as well as family members in Puerto Rico to tell his backstory — both personal and professional – as he trains for the final time in Hollywood, CA under the guidance of Freddie Roach. The Caguas, Puerto Rico native will also sit with Jim Lampley for a retrospective on his accomplishments.
On Saturday, Dec. 2, Cotto and Ali meet at the World’s Most Famous Arena, Madison Square Garden in New York in a 12-round 154-pound world title bout that will be televised live on HBO beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT. This will mark Cotto’s 24th appearance on the network and his 10th showcase at MSG.
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MIGUEL COTTO: A RETROSPECTIVE will be hosted by Jim Lampley and produced by HBO Sports.
Angel Acosta faces Juan Alejo on 12/2 on Cotto vs. Ali card
Fistic fireworks will be on display in the always exciting 108-pound division as former world title challenger and knockout artist Angel “Tito” Acosta (16-1, 16 KOs) of San Juan, Puerto Rico and Nuevo Leon, Mexico’s Juan “Pinky” Alejo (25-4-1, 15 KOs) will headline the non-televised undercard of Cotto vs. Ali in a 12-round fight for the Interim WBO Junior Flyweight Title at Madison Square Garden. The RingTV.com live stream of the undercard bouts will begin at 7:00 p.m. ET/4:00 p.m. PT. The stream will be followed by the HBO World Championship Boxing telecast, which will begin at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Acosta only knows how to win by one way: knockout. After debuting as a professional in 2012, Acosta racked up an impressive 16 victories-all by stoppage. Through the span of almost five years, Acosta defeated the likes of Japhet “The Namibian Lion” Uutoni and Luis “Gallo” Ceja, the latter of whom he beat by tenth-round technical knockout victory to win the vacant WBO Latino Light Flyweight Title. The 27-year-old Acosta will return after the only defeat of his career, which was against junior flyweight kingpin and WBO World Junior Flyweight Kosei Tanaka.
Alejo is an experienced 33-year-old fighter with a tough fight against former WBOWorld Junior Flyweight Champion Donnie “Ahas” Nietes on his resume. This will be the second time Alejo fights in the U.S. and the event will be the biggest so far in the career of these fighters.
The formidable contender Ronny Rios (28-2, 13 KOs) of Santa Ana, Calif. is returning after his first world title opportunity to face Deivis Julio (19-3, 11 KOs) of Monteria, Colombia in a 10-round featherweight fight. Super lightweight prospect and Brooklyn native Zachary “Zungry” Ochoa (17-1, 7 KOs) will clash against a soon-to-be announced opponent in a bout scheduled for six rounds.
Opening up the RingTV.com livestream, Ireland’s no. 1 ranked best amateur boxer Aaron “Silencer” McKenna of County Monaghan, Republic of Ireland, will make his highly anticipated professional debut in a welterweight bout against an opponent to be named soon after being signed recently by Golden Boy Promotions. McKenna is the youngest boxer to turn pro in Ireland’s history, with an amateur record that included 152 wins and nine losses, including eight Irish titles. Earlier this year McKenna was ranked the no. 1 youth boxer in Ireland for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo but opted to instead begin his professional career in the U.S. under the Golden Boy Promotions banner.
Rey Vargas battles Oscar Negrete on Cotto vs. Ali card on Dec.2
Rey Vargas (30-0, 22 KOs), the undefeated 122-pound champion from Mexico City, Mexico, will make the second defense of his WBC World Super Bantamweight Title against NABF Bantamweight Champion Oscar “El Jaguar” Negrete (17-0, 7 KOs) of Tierraalta, Colombia in the 12-round co-main event of the showdown between Miguel Cotto and Sadam “World Kid” Ali for the WBO World Junior Middleweight Title on Saturday, Dec. 2 at Madison Square Garden. The event will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Vargas is a 26-year-old champion who brings a considerable height and reach advantage in every fight, which he has used to nullify all of his previous opposition. In February 2017, Vargas traveled to the United Kingdom to defeat Gavin McDonnell for the vacant WBC Super Bantamweight Title. For this fight, Vargas enlisted the help of Hall of Fame trainer Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain, who has been training him ever since. In August, Vargas defended his title for the first time against longtime super bantamweight contender Ronny Rios via a decisive unanimous decision, and will look to defend again in his Madison Square Garden debut on Dec 2.
“I feel privileged to be fighting at an arena where some of history’s best fighters have fought,” said Vargas. “I know that Oscar Negrete is a brawler and that this is a fight between two undefeated fighters. Negrete is a young man who pushes forward hard, and his 17-0 record and his place in the rankings demonstrate that he’s a great rival. Also, it will be an honor to share the card with Miguel Cotto, and I know that the arena will be filled with a lot of emotion for his last fight. And, just as a star is making a grand exit, I hope that a new star is born, and his name is Rey Vargas.”
Negrete, a 30-year-old native of Tierraalta, Colombia, has been a staple of Golden Boy events on the west coast after making his United States debut in June 2014. Since then, he has appeared over ten times in the California, steadily defeating tough opponents in both the bantamweight and super bantamweight divisions. In his last outing, Negrete moved down to 118 pounds to defeat Sergio Frias for the NABF Bantamweight Title in the main event of the June 30 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN. Negrete, who will debut on the east coast at Madison Square Garden, will move up again to take on the toughest test of his career.
“I am super happy for this opportunity,” said Negrete. “I am not only seeing one dream come, true but two dreams. It’s been a dream of mine to fight for a world title and a dream to fight at Madison Square Garden, and on December 2, I’ll be doing both. I know Rey Vargas is a great fighter, but I’ve always wanted to fight the best. If I’m going to fight for a world title, it has to be with a great rival who is worth it and whom I can be proud to fight.”
“Vargas and Negrete are both undefeated Golden Boy Promotions fighters who will bring a tremendous fight to Madison Square Garden on Dec. 2,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. “Both are coming off tough fights earlier this year and will risk their undefeated records in a co-main event that will look to steal the show.”
“Vargas is a young champion with a huge physical advantage over his opponents,” said Oswaldo Kuchle, President of Promociones del Pueblo. “Vargas is way too much for his division. Vargas also possess extraordinary qualities, but most of all a seek-and-destroy mentality in the ring. With a win over Negrete, Vargas could solidify his status as the best fighter in his division.”
Cotto vs. Ali, a 12-round fight for the Cotto’s WBO World Junior Middleweight Championship, is presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Miguel Cotto Promotions. Vargas vs. Negrete is a 12-round fight for Vargas’ WBC World Super Bantamweight Title and is presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Miguel Cotto Promotions in association with Promociones del Pueblo. The event is sponsored by Tecate, “THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING,” Hennessy “Never Stop. Never Settle”, and Casa Mexico Tequila. The event will take place Saturday, December 2 at Madison Square Garden in New York City and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Tickets for Cotto vs. Ali are priced at $500, $300, $200, $100 and $50 and are on sale. Tickets can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster charge by phone (866-858-0008) and online at www.ticketmaster.com, www.goldenboytickets.com or www.MSG.com