By Sean Crose
That was the mood at Madison Square Garden on Friday. For Miguel Cotto and Sergio Martinez were stepping onto the scale to weigh in for Saturday’s mega-bout against one another. With all the noise, bright lights, and throngs of people, you’d have thought it was a concert featuring a pop star. It was nothing of the sort. It was just a weigh in – a weigh in! – for a fight.
Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank
Eddie Hearn proved boxing was far from dead last weekend when he gave the world the Froch-Groves’ showdown from London. If anyone needed additional evidence that the sweet science is still alive and well, however, they merely had to take a peak at what was happening in the Garden. For this actually seemed more than a weigh in. It seemed like an event in and of itself.
Without a doubt, it was a pro Cotto crowd. There’s simply an enormous Puerto Rican population in New York, after all. Still, the Martinez contingent was there, as well – and they were making their voices heard (perhaps there’s more Argentinian’s in the city that never sleeps than anyone had previously assumed).
A long time ago, there was a gag on The Simpson’s where Marge came back from the video store with a copy of “Boxing’s Greatest Weigh In’s” for Homer to watch. It was funny at the time. Really funny. Even for us boxing fans. Today, however, it would be easy to see a collection of modern day weigh in’s available on Netflix (perhaps there already is one available). For Madison Square Garden felt like the site of a great party on Friday afternoon.
Not only were the proceedings celebratory, however, they were blessedly fast-paced, too. The undercard fighters got on and off the stage quickly. In other words, not too much time was wasted lingering on the Andy Lee’s, John Jackson’s and Jorge Melendez’. Someday they may find themselves highlighting such an event. Friday, though, was all about Cotto and Martinez.
The main weigh in itself wasn’t a let down. Cotto, looking extremely relaxed, was greeted by the sound of his name being repeated over and over again by adoring fans. Looking to be, oh, fifty percent covered with tatoos, he tipped the scales at 155.
As for Martinez, he stepped before the cameras looking like a movie star, wearing aviator glasses and a beaming smile. It seemed to take him a bit to strip down and get on the scale. He also looked to be taunting Freddie Roach a little. Yet he eventually weighed in at a lean and mean 158.8.
The subsequent stare down was a serious affair. These men clearly don’t like each other. The difference in height between the two was pretty clear, as well. Martinez will be stepping into the ring on Saturday with a significant height advantage. The question of whether or not that will matter will be answered in a short matter of time.
“I’m ready to make history tomorrow,” Cotto said after the stare down. No doubt he is. Martinez, however, has plans of his own. “Argentina!” he declared. “Straight to victory!”
We’ll soon see which man was telling the truth, for everything that can be said has been said. The moment for posing and posturing has passed. All that’s left to do now is see these two men get it on in the ring. There may be bad blood between these two, but they’re about to work it out between themselves in front of millions Saturday night. It’s time for each man to prove who’s best.