Victory for Ali over Cotto was a case of second time lucky in world title fights after previously challenging for world honours at welterweight.
Miguel Cotto, who began boxing as an 11-year-old to lose weight, said farewell on Saturday night, closing out a glorious 17-year career, but not how most expected.
"I am good, and I want to be happy in my home with my family", Cotto said.
This was not the way Miguel Cotto's legendary career was supposed to end.
The 37-year-old suffered injury to his left bicep during the seventh round at Madison Square Garden, and there after struggled to have any further influence on the bout. Even had Cotto managed to win a controversial decision (two judges had Ali winning by 115-113, the third by 116-112) or get a consolation draw, it was plain to see that this was not the vintage model who five years hence will be a first-ballot inductee into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
"Feeling good with the performance", Cotto said.
"I just wanna say that when we were entering into this fight", Rozier said, "all the naysayers who thought that Sadam couldn't win will probably be the same guys who said that Sadam won by whatever". "I'm so glad to call Madison Square Garden my home". "But this is the opportunity of a lifetime, and I took the challenge against a legend", Ali said.
Ali added: "I want to thank team Cotto". They could have taken an easier fight if they wanted too. Ali was more then content to allow Cotto come to him and utilise his speed and accuracy against the industrial Cotto. I know how great I am and, moving forward, I know I'm gonna prove more.
"Good things happen to good people", Ali said. The 3rd brought back and forth action from both fighters leading to intelligent exchanges and a more dominant Cotto round. After a close ninth, Ali was in control in the 10th. 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.
Cotto's trainer, the great Freddie Roach, believes his fighter would have been up for such a challenge against either man but is now ready to deal with what is in front of him.
29-year-old Ali is unconcerned about having to move up to super-welterweight for the fight having regularly operated at welterweight and is ready to crash the Cotto party as he looks to make a name for himself. Ali beat him and took his WBO junior middleweight belt.
The former four-division champion came back to buzz Ali in the sixth round, and won the seventh and eighth rounds on all three scorecards.
Acosta had Alejo, 33, of Mexico, in trouble throughout the later rounds.