Bad Blood: All Latino Fistic Duel At Madison Square Garden
Miguel Cotto -- can he make history again?
Amid all of the controversy and all of the accusations, fight fans are going to be treated to a mega pay-per-view World Middleweight Championship duel between the 2 most exciting Latino boxers at the present time, in the Middleweight division.
This fight will take place on Saturday, June 7, 2014, at the mecca of boxing, Madison Square Garden, N.Y.C., between Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez, 51-2-2, 28 knockouts, of Quilmes, Argentina, current Ring Magazine & W.B.C. 160 Pound Champion versus Miguel Angel “Junito” Cotto, 38-4, 31 k.o.’s, of Caguas, Puerto Rico, and former 4-time world champ in 3 different weight divisions.
Cotto’s mission that he chose to “accept” is to become the first Puerto Rican in boxing history to win 4 world titles. Could Cotto accomplish this goal?
Well, let’s explore the possibilities and also the impossibilities.
Ex-Olympian in the 2000 games in Sydney, Australia, Miguel Cotto followed his father, Miguel. Sr., his uncle Evangelista, brother, Jose, and cousin, Abner, into boxing at a young age. He also won several Gold medals in his amateur career.
Turning pro on February 23, 2001, Cotto remained undefeated winning the vacant W.B.O. & W.B C. 140 pound crown, January 2, 2003. Cotto remained busy being promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank, winning other world titles in the 147 pound and Junior Middleweight divisions. His first loss was when he was knocked out by Antonio Margarito, July 26, 2008.
Miguel Cotto then became a well-traveled seasoned veteran elite fighter, fighting Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, Austin Trout, Ricardo Mayorga, and others. Surprisingly he turned down an opportunity to fight Saul “El Canelo” Alvarez, when he was offered the title fight with Sergio Martinez, with the possibility of winning a 5th world crown.
Sergio Martinez gladly accepted the Cotto challenge because due to very serious leg and hand fractures that required surgery, that kept him out of the ring since 2012, he needed to come back and fight.
According to 39 year old Martinez: “I am fully healed, and if Cotto accepted this fight thinking that I am still ailing he is in for the biggest surprise or shock of his life. I promise to knock him out by the 9th round.”
Martinez further stated that he was on crutches for almost a year and the rehab was very difficult to bear, but he is back now and fully focused on retaining his crown, June 7th.
During my interview with Martinez who always seemed pleasantly outspoken, I noticed a “bitterness” and intense anger in talking about Miguel Cotto.
When asked about this anger Martinez said that he was “forced” to “concede” all of the “perks” afforded a world champ to Cotto although he indeed was the actual world champ.
Martinez complained that Cotto demanded, during contract negotiations, that he would get top billing on all of the advertisements, he would get the corner of the champion, while Martinez had to accept the corner of the non-champ, and also Martinez would have go into the ring first like the opponent, and Cotto would come out last as the champion.
Sergio Martinez however, was permitted to wear an elastic, “knee sleeve” to protect his surgically repaired right knee. Advantage on ring movement by Miguel Cotto? Who knows.
The boxing “diva” attitude by Cotto angered Martinez so much that he was going to withdraw from the fight, but needing this comeback fight he decided to accept the terms. He promised that he would make Miguel Cotto pay for those insults. “If I needed a stronger motivation to make me work harder in my preparation for this fight, Cotto gave it to me. I wouldn’t be surprise if he demands that a flower girl like in a wedding precede him spreading roses as he enters the ring”, Martinez fumed.
A smiling Miguel Cotto explained his demands. He said in many of his previous fights, such as when he fought Manny Pacquiao, and Floyd Mayweather, even though he was champion, he had to accept the “2nd banana” status. Now Martinez had to accept those terms because he was fighting in Madison Square Garden. “This my home turf. Martinez has never fought here and this is my 9th fight here and they were all sell-outs, especially during the Puerto Rican Day Parade Celebration the following day,” Cotto declared with emphasis.
It is also possible that since Miguel Cotto is also one of the promoters of this mega boxing event along with Top rank and DiBella Entertainment, Martinez had to accept the terms.
Sergio Martinez, who compiled an amateur record 39-2 comes from a fighting family just like Cotto. He, however was also a cyclist and a soccer player before concentrating on boxing at 22 years of age, and turned down an Olympic berth because he would then be too old to turn pro.
He has fought world-wide, but mostly in Argentina remaining undefeated until he fought Antonio Margarito as a 147 pounder in the United States suffering his first loss and by knockout.
That is the only common opponent that both Martinez and Cotto share in their long ring championship careers.
Teaming up with trainer Freddy Roach, Cotto feels that he has regained some of the fighting style and weaponry-body punching, jab, and defense-that he had discarded in some of his past fights which led to defeats. He also stated that the added weight would add more power to his punches and not slow him down.
It is the consensus of many fight experts and fans that Sergio Martinez being a full-fledged 160 pounder will be too big, too strong and a harder puncher for Cotto. They also state, and I agree, that perhaps Martinez’ speed and south-paw stance will be too confusing for Cotto, even though Cotto himself is a converted south-paw.
It's my opinion that Miguel Cotto is up against many obstacles in his quest to make boxing history on June 7th at Madison Square Garden.
Martinez has been recuperating from 3 serious surgeries. In his first fight after the first surgery he was knocked down twice before defeating Martin Murray. Hard-hitting Cotto has a “puncher’s chance” to not only defeat Martinez, but also knock him out. Martinez may be carrying too much “ring rust”, and also may be worried about breaking another bone.
This Black Star writer sees this fight going the entire 12 round distance. It will be highly competitive but if there is a knockout, it will be Martinez by the 9th round as he predicted or “promised”. Cotto, at 33 is the smaller man trying to climb a “ring mountain” which may be beyond his fistic reach having fought so many ring wars; he could be shopworn.
Undercards: The “fiery” supporting fight card features former world champs and future champs 6 of whom are from Puerto Rico, and the rest either from Mexico, the Philippines, Ireland, & the U.S.A:
Andy Lee, 32-2, 22 knockouts vs. John “Dah Rock” Jackson, 18-1, 15 k.o.’s( 160 pounds-Middleweights) Jorge Melendez, 28-3-1, 26 k.o.’s vs Javier Maciel, 28-3, 20 k.o.’s (154 pounds- Junior Middleweights) Wilfredo Vazquez, Jr. 23-3-1, 19 k.o.’s vs Marvin Sansona, 18-1-1, 15 k.o.’s (Re-Match, Junior Featherweights-122 pounds) Jose “Wonder Boy” Lopez, 12-0, 10 knockouts vs. Raul Hidalgo, 21-10, 16 k.o.’s, (Super Bantamweights-122 Pounds) Felix “Dinamita” Verdejo, 12-0, 9 k.o.’s vs Engelberto Valenzuela, 9-1, 3k.o.’s (135 pounds- Lightweights) Jose “Sniper” Pedraza, 16-0, 10 k.o.’s vs. Arturo Uruzquieta, 15-5, 6 k.o’s—(130 pounds-Super Featherweights) Jantony Ortiz-Ex-Olympian 2012 London—Pro Debut (Super Bantamweights -122 pounds) vs Elio Ruiz,1-4, 0 k.o.’s Darryl Cunningham, 29-6, 11 k.o.’s vs. Willie Nelson, 21-1-1, 12 k.o.’s (Super Welterweights---154 pounds).
This promises to be perhaps the most exciting fight card of the year, due to the warrior mentality of both Martinez and Cotto. Both warriors have a combined fighting record of 89 victories, only 6 defeats, 2 draws & 59 knockouts.
Martinez wants to deny Cotto from making Puerto Rican boxing history-winning a 5th world crown-but Cotto is furiously determined against all odds to fulfill that dream and solidify his credentials into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. His fellow Puerto Rican countryman, Felix “Tito” Trinidad will realize that honor on Sunday, June 8, 2014.
Surprisingly, both Miguel Cotto and Sergio Martinez echoed the same statement, at the final press conference, Wednesday, June 4, 2014, at the Madison Square Garden Theatre, Manhattan, N. Y.--It's time to stop talking and let the fists speak.