A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
Sergio Martinez is ready for Miguel Cotto, MSG
WBC middleweight champion Sergio ‘Maravilla’ Martinez (51-2-2, 28 KOs) of Argentina, is within three weeks of perhaps another career-defining fight, he prepares to defend the 160-pound title against Miguel Cotto (39-4, 31 KOs), on Saturday, June 7, at Madison Square Garden in New York City. HBO Pay-Per-View will broadcast what should be a history-making event.
A Martinez victory would cement him as one of the greatest middleweight fighters in history. A Cotto victory will make the Caguas, Puerto Rican native the first Puerto Rican to win a world title in four separate weight classes.
“This fight is right up there with Paul Williams and Kelly Pavlik as one of the most important of my career,” said Martinez, referring to his two best victories was a solid 12-round decision against Kelly Pavlik and a spectacular second-round knockout of Paul Williams in their second fight.
Martinez is the class of the middleweight division, regardless of the recent surges of undefeated WBA middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin, WBO champion ‘Kid Chocolate’ Peter Quillin, and IBF champion Felix Sturm. However, Martinez has been inactive for more than one year, as he has battled multiple injuries to his knee and shoulder that required surgeries.
Martinez believes that the only reason why Cotto signed to fight him is because, he doesn’t believe that Martinez’ knee is healthy and that he is easier to beat at age 39.
“My knee is feeling great and I have been running in the mornings,” Martinez said. “I haven’t felt this good in a very long time. I am the same as I was before there ever were any knee problems. I have overcome all of the obstacles and all of the problems my knee caused in the past.”
Martinez has made a career out of punishing fighters much bigger and stronger than him: Julio Cesar Chavez, Matthew Mackin, Paul Williams, Kelly Pavlik, and Darrin Barker to name a few. Martinez is use to using his speed, movement, swift combinations, and underestimated power to punish his challengers.
Against Cotto, Martinez, the world middleweight champion, will not be worried about Cotto’s power because he will be the smaller man moving up against a much bigger puncher (Martinez) at his natural weight.
“Miguel does not have the same power at this weight as he does at 147lbs,” Martinez said. “I am the power-puncher out of the two of us. The most important factor in this fight, though, is the level of intelligence that I will use on June 7th.”
Martinez, while there is a rift between himself and Cotto, insists that this fight is purely business and nothing personal.
“There is no hatred toward Miguel, we are both professionals” Martinez said. “I am totally focused on the fight and totally focused on the task at hand, which is beating Miguel Cotto.”
Martinez will be looking to make a definitive statement. Martinez will be looking to seal the biggest victory of his career with an decisive knockout of Cotto, one of the most popular fighters and biggest draws in boxing.
“I am not worried about the judges being swayed in this bout or any questionable decisions, because there is no way that this fight is going the distance” Martinez said.
Martinez’ promoter Lou DiBella of DiBella Entertainment believes in his fighter. DiBella truly believes that Martinez is a genuine fighter of remarkable talent and personality. These maybe the final few fights of Martinez’ career (perhaps), but he is still the No. 1 middleweight in the world until someone unseats him from his throne. The frustrations that Martinez had to endure during the pre-fight negotiations, DiBella believes, will be taken out on Cotto.
“This was not an easy negotiation,” DiBella said. “We had to keep calling Sergio with constant changes that we had to make for this fight to happen, and it bothered Sergio. That came out in the initial press conferences, where everyone could see that Sergio was clearly agitated. Sergio has since channeled that to his benefit and he is now totally focused on the fight, and singled in on giving Cotto a real beating and walking out of Madison Square Garden on June 7th with his championship belt.
DiBella added: “Sergio is a true professional so at this point in his training and this close to the fight, his only concentration is beating up Miguel Cotto.”
Tickets to the Cotto vs. Martínez World Middleweight Championship are on sale now and priced at $750, $500, $300, $200, $100 and $50. 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 and www.thegarden.com.