Miguel Cotto: Act Two
There comes a time when each of us finds we have to be the voice of reason. It’s not fun trying to be reasonable when no one else wants to be but sometimes it’s just necessary.
At the moment there are some very good boxing writers out there who are taking up the mantle of Voice Of Reason. These brave souls are stepping up to the plate to give a dose of stone cold reality to an enthralled boxing fan base.
Miguel Cotto’s Saturday victory over Sergio Martinez, these writers tell us, was not that big a deal. Yes, Cotto looked good, they concede, but Martinez was old, his legs were shot and he was basically finished as a fighter.
Some of these individuals have even gone so far as to suggest fans who paid to see Saturday’s bout were robbed, that they were presented with a fight that was essentially a cynical marketing ploy. These writers are mature, professional, nuanced – and wrong.
The truth is Miguel Cotto was as good as everyone believes he was on Saturday. And he would have been just as good if Martinez had been twenty-five and in perfect health. Oh, Cotto may not have had such an easy time of it if that were the case. In fact, I’m sure he wouldn’t have. Still, I think this past weekend’s version of Cotto would have beaten Martinez in Martinez’ prime.
You don’t have to be a Cottomaniac to believe it, either. I picked Martinez to win on Saturday, both privately and in published form. To me, a lot of people just seemed to be aboard the Cotto hype machine. Martinez, I figured, was just too big, too strong, too athletic, for even a rejuvenated Cotto to topple.
Oh, I believed Cotto would give Martinez a fight, sure, but – looking at things objectively – I just felt his fans would end up being sorely disappointed when all was said and done. Well, the Cotto fans were right and I was wrong. A lot of other writers, analysts and “experts” were wrong, as well.
And now it’s time for all of us to face the facts: Freddie Roach has transformed Cotto into something different, something faster, stronger and far more agile than the Cotto we used to know. Notice how the man’s breathing didn’t get heavy as the fight progressed on Saturday, even though he had been nothing but motion from the beginning?
Or what about those shots to Martinez’ body when the Argentine champion tried to assert himself? No, your eyes didn’t deceive you this past weekend. Cotto truly was as impressive as he looked. Yup, the man was that good.
As for Martinez, he can take comfort in the fact that he wasn’t in great fighting shape when he stepped into the ring at Madison Square Garden on Saturday – although, again, I feel he could never have beaten this new version of Cotto.
What’s more, Martinez is one of those rare figures who can truly be considered a credit to his profession. For the man won, defended and lost his title with honor. If Martinez does decide to exit the sport, he can do so with his head held high.
And Cotto? Well, the doubters are going to continue to doubt. They won’t be effecting Cotto’s wallet, however. With possible bouts with Alvarez, Golovkin and Quilling being discussed, he’s going to stay center stage for a while. Can Cotto beat any or all of those men? Let’s just say at this point I wouldn’t bet against him. Again, the man was that good on Saturday…and reports of his fistic demise appear to have been greatly exaggerated.
Welcome to Miguel Cotto: Act Two