Cotto’s Manhattan Swansong Gets a Dancing Partner

By Marc Livitz on October 27, 2017
Cotto’s Manhattan Swansong Gets a Dancing Partner
“I know Rey Vargas is a great fighter,” said Negrete, "but I always wanted to fight the best.”

The co-main event will feature a clash between WBC world super bantamweight champion Rey Vargas and Oscar “El Jaguar” Negrete…

On Saturday, December 2, Miguel Cotto will step into the ring for the last time as a professional fighter in a showdown with Brooklyn native Sadam Ali (25-1, 14 KO’s). While some have treated the Puerto Rican superstar’s squared circle finale as an easy out against questionable opposition, there’s likely little doubt that Madison Square Garden will be packed to the rafters that night. Cotto (41-5, 33 KO’s) is a four-division world champion and he’ll defend his WBO middleweight title in front of an adopted hometown crowd in the ‘World’s Most Famous Arena’ which sits atop Penn Station.

The evening’s undercard is beginning to take shape with Friday’s announcement that the co-main event will feature a clash between WBC world super bantamweight champion Rey Vargas of Mexico City and Oscar “El Jaguar” Negrete of Colombia. Vargas (30-0, 22 KO’s) was last seen in the ring this past August, when he held off Ronny Rios over twelve rounds in Carson, California, shortly before Miguel Cotto easily topped Yoshihiro Kamegai in the night’s main attraction. Negrete (17-0, 7 KO’s) has fought the majority of his contests in the southwest United States and he’ll hope to present a game challenge to his opponent from the Distrito Federal.

In his corner, Rey Vargas will have an acclaimed, Hall of Fame trainer in Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain, who helped him win the then-vacant WBC super bantamweight championship this past February. Vargas fought an intense, twelve-round battle with Gavin McDonnell in Hull, Yorkshire, England, and was awarded a majority decision win.

Negrete will get his first crack at a major world title and this will also be the first time in his career that he’ll take part in a twelve-round contest. 

“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 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 is hoping for the same thing. Only the name has changed.

“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.”

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