A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
‘Maravilla’ Martinez is prepared to thwart Cotto’s chance at history
Sergio Martinez (51-2-2, 28 KOs), in defense of the WBC middleweight championship, is anxious to step into the ring at Madison Square Garden to defeat Miguel Cotto (39-4, 31 KOs), on Saturday. Martinez has prepared very well and insists that Cotto will be defeated.
“Camp was phenomenal,” Martinez said. “The gym was excellent, Miami was perfect. This is the best training camp that I have ever had in my entire career. I said it before and I am saying it again, there is no possible way that Cotto will make it out of the 9th round.”
Martinez, on the eve of the Puerto Rican day parade, will attempt to thwart Cotto’s bid to become the first Puerto Rican boxer to win world titles in four separate weight divisions.
Heading into Saturday’s epic battle between two of boxing’s top-level fighters, there are many questions lingering over the health of Sergio Martinez’s right knee and whether his left hand has fully healed from injury dating back to 2012.
Martinez insists that he is 100% healthy and that his injuries are behind him. Martinez, to the dismay of Team Cotto, was approved by the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) to wear a knee brace (sheath) to help give his right knee added support.
“There are no issues with the sheath I will be using for my knee on fight night,” said Martinez. “Once the commission saw what it actually was I was using, they were completely okay with it. It was very hard for me to come back from this [the knee and shoulder injury], but I have an excellent team behind me, and more than that I have my ego and that is what drove me to get back to where I was before the injuries occurred. I don’t know who brought up the issue about the sheath I am wearing on my knee. Whether it was the commission or Cotto’s team directly I am not sure. The only one who will pay for it though is Miguel Cotto on June 7th.”
Cotto, looking to make history by winning a fourth-division world title and improve his 7-1 career record at Garden, promises to make Martinez suffer for as long as the fight last.
“I’m ready for the best Sergio,” Cotto said. “I’m ready for him,” Cotto added. “If he doesn’t come 100%, he’s going to suffer for the whole fight.”
Cotto has fought at the Garden eight times in his career. The 33-year-old Puerto Rican has defeated Kid Diamond, Zab Judah, Shane Mosley, Joshua Clottey, Paulie Malignaggi, Michael Jennings, and had a rematch with Antonio Margarito before losing to Austin Trout in his previous appearance at the Garden in December 2012.
Cotto has fought only once since losing miserably to Trout his last appearance at the Garden, a third-round KO of Delvin Rodriguez last October. A sell-out crowd (mostly in support of Cotto) is expected to rally behind their man.
Cotto will need every ounce of support, as Martinez, recognized as the premier middleweight champion of the world, will look to further magnify a succession of spectacular performances in recent years against the likes of Matthew Macklin, Sergey Drinzirik, Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., Paul Williams, Kelly Pavlik, and Darin Barker – all of whom are naturally much bigger than Cotto.
Martinez, who knocked out Matthew Macklin at the Theater of Madison Square Garden in March 2012, has never fought in the Garden’s big arena which seats more than 20,000.
A victory for Martinez in the biggest fight of his career on the world’s grandest stage, will cement a Hall-of-Fame worthy career, as the 39-year-old Argentine is 100%prepared to defeat Cotto.
“I love New York City,” Martinez said. “It is one of my favorite cities in the world. I am so excited to be here and fight at one of the most famous arenas in the entire world. This is a dream come true for me.”
Cotto’s trainer Freddie Roach said that Cotto will finish Martinez in ‘four rounds’ on Saturday to the amusement of the champion.
“Freddie Roach is excellent at telling jokes and this is one of the best jokes he has ever told,” Martinez said.
“Cotto vs. Martínez: World Middleweight Championship” will commence this Saturday, June 7, at Madison Square Garden and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View, beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET / 6:00 p.m. PT. Tickets are still available by contacting ticketmaster.com, or thegarden.com.
PHOTOE CREDIT: ED MUHOLLAND/ TOP RANK, DIBELLA ENTERTAINMENT