CAROLINA CRISIS: THIS IS BIGGER THAN YOU By Michael...
Sergio Martinez face a lot of questions entering Cotto fight
Sergio Martinez is the class of the middleweight division. Having not fought in more than one year due to injury, Martinez (51-2-2, 28 KOs), in defense of the WBC 160-pound championship, will enter the biggest fight of his career on Saturday, June 7, at Madison Square Garden against the great Miguel Cotto (38-4, 31 KOs). Martinez will attempt to prevent the Puerto Rican superstar from becoming the first Puerto Rican to win world titles in four separate weight divisions.
Cotto vs. Martinez will be televised on HBO Pay-Per-View. Tickets are already on sale starting at just $50.
Is this the end of the line for Martinez? At age 39, inactivity, an injured left hand, a bad knee, and other natural ailments a fighter naturally endures, many people are pointing toward Martinez’ end as WBC world middleweight champion.
Martinez has appeared increasingly shaky and vulnerable in recent fights, namely against Martin Murray last year. Many felt that Murray beat Martinez in front of 50,000 packed inside an Argentinean soccer stadium. Martinez was exuberantly dominant and performed extremely well for 11 ½ rounds against Julio Cesar Chavez, but became over confident while pressing for the knockout. The much bigger Chavez caught Martinez with a shot that had ‘Maravilla’ out on his feet. Martinez back-pedaled and clinched his way to a unanimous points victory.
There are a lot of questions heading into his fight with Cotto. Is the knee 100%? Martinez has gone on record saying that his knee isn’t at 100%, but will be on fight night. How will Martinez respond to the pressure of a resurgent Miguel Cotto, now trained by Freddie Roach? Can Martinez’ body respond whenever necessary against a very good pressure fighter like Cotto?
Can Sergio Martinez, once again, put together another breathtaking performance worthy of applause?
Martinez’ fights against Chavez, Jr., Paul Williams, Kelly Pavlik, and Matthew Mackin solidified Martinez as the best 160-pounder in the world. IBF champion Felix Sturm, WBA champion Gennday Golovkin, and WBO champion ‘Kid Chocolate’ are at the top as well and are dominating their opponents, but Martinez tops everyone and he is very confident that he will defeat Cotto.
“I’m ready to knock Cotto out in five or six rounds and I know I will,” Martinez publically stated “He cannot resist me.”
Martinez has knocked out men bigger than himself, while Cotto shouldn’t be underestimated, it remains to be determined whether Martinez’ time at the top has simply expired.
Martinez will be fighting Cotto in a building that Miguel refers to as ‘his second home’ on the eve of the Puerto Rican Day parade in New York City. Cotto-Martinez will sellout the Garden. Cotto will be in the best shape of his life, considering how well he looked against Delvin Rodriguez last October in Orlando, FL under new trainer Freddie Roach. Cotto will not be afraid to apply pressure against Martinez. Remember, it was Cotto who gave Floyd Mayweather one of the toughest fights of his career in many years.
While many strengths of Cotto can be argued, the fact is Cotto is no longer the consistent, ruthless pressure fighter he was when he was at 140 and 147. Cotto has struggled at 154 pounds. In December 2012, Cotto struggled in a lopsided decision loss to Austin Trout, the only fighter to defeat Cotto at the Garden.
Martinez should be too slick, too strong, have too much skills for the smaller Cotto. But we’re speaking of Martinez as if he is still the same fighter that KO’d Paul Williams with a solid shot more than three years ago, followed by a spectacular knockouts of Darrin Barker and Matthew Macklin. Martinez masterfully out-boxed Chavez, Jr. and nearly stopped him. Not an inactive, oft-injured, and inactive champion.
Or are we?