By Sean Crose
Never mind names like Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez…at least for now. Puerto Rican legend Miguel Cotto and Agentinian superstar Sergio Martinez have decided to square off against one another on June 7th. At first glance, Cotto may not seem to have all that much of a chance. With three inches in height and a naturally heavier fame, Martinez is clearly the bigger man.
Still, it would be unwise for fight fans to jump to conclusions. First off all, Martinez has been looking every bit of what he is – a man rapidly approaching forty years of age. He’s been operated on about as much as Robocop lately and he really hasn’t spent that much time in the ring.
What’s more, his recent bouts haven’t been all that impressive. No one seemed particularly happy with his homecoming performance in April of last year against Martin Murray. And before that he got dropped by Julio Caesar Chavez Jr. Sure, Martinez won that fight, but he had made it clear before hand that he believed Junior was a punk. Well, the kid didn’t look like much of a punk when he put Martinez on the mat in that 12th round.
Fans and observers should also take into consideration the fact that Cotto has seemed rejuvenated since his defeats at the hands of Trout and Mayweather. Finishing off Delvin Rodruiguez within three rounds last October was no small thing. Also telling is the fact that Cotto is now under the tutelage of none other than Mr. Freddie Roach. Oh, and the two seem to have a great relationship, as well.
The inescapable conclusion is that Cotto appears to be in the throes of a comeback while Martinez looks to be on his way out of the sport. Drive and determination are powerful motivators, and Cotto is driven to win the middleweight title. He not only wants to do it for himself, he wants to do it for the island of Puerto Rico. He’s got momentum, a strong fan base, and a whole lot of skill behind him.
Does he really have the skill to best Martinez, however? Perhaps. Still, it’s ultimately hard to imagine Martinez losing this one. He’s the naturally bigger man, after all. He’s also some kind of fighter when he’s at his best. Be sure that he’ll be bringing his A-Game to this one. The truth is, if Martinez loses, you know it’s time for the Argentinian to activate his retirement plan.
No matter how the fight turns out, however, this one is sure to be a crowd pleaser. These are not boring fighters. They’re not just crude sluggers, either. Cotto may have an almost 75% knockout ratio, but he also has a skill level that altered the entire style and career of no less a luminary than Floyd Mayweather.
As for Martinez – well, the guy is kind of amazing. He may have gotten a late start in the sport, but he’s more than made up for lost time. Up until the rise of Golovkin, the man had been THE force in the middleweight division. In fact, he arguably may have been the most dominant middleweight champion since Marvin Hagler. That speaks volumes.
What also speaks volumes is the fact that this bout is going to be held in Madison Square Garden. That’s Cotto’s second back yard. His ethnic fan base in New York is so strong that one has to wonder if Martinez can be accused of overconfidence for agreeing to fight there. Not that it matters now. This bout is a go.
And the fans are undoubtedly happy. An Alvarez fight may have made more money for Cotto. A Golovkin fight may have been more of a challenge for Matinez. This is the fight both men have chosen to take, however. It’s doubtful the boxing world will be disappointed.