Martinez vs. Cotto: Everything You Need to Know About Upcoming Fight
There are fights that make financial sense, and there are fights that mean something historically.
The best thing for everyone is when a fight is both, like Saturday’s showdown between three-division world titleholder Miguel Cotto (38-4, 31 KOs) and lineal middleweight champion Sergio Martinez (51-2-2, 28 KOs).
Both men are certain Hall of Famers looking to add yet another impressive name on their ledgers.
For Cotto, Martinez represents the biggest challenge of his entire career at the highest weight he could conceivably hope to compete at. Cotto is an accomplished superstar, but Martinez is the legitimate champion of a weight class Cotto has never stepped foot in.
For Martinez, Cotto represents the elite class of fighters in boxing who bring home exponentially more money than even long-reigning champions such as Martinez do. Martinez is as good a fighter as anyone in his generation, but he’s never earned the kind of money men such as Cotto, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao do.
Cotto-Martinez is the biggest and best fight of 2014 to date. The winner sets himself up for an even more lucrative date in the near future, and the loser will likely have to settle for a step back against lesser competition.
Miguel Cotto (38-4, 31 KOs)
Cotto is one of biggest draws of his generation and one of the more popular fighters to have ever hailed from the fight-crazed island of Puerto Rico. Against Martinez, he hopes to earn the distinction among his Puerto Rican boxing brethren of being the first four-division world titleholder from the country ever.
At 33, Cotto is now a natural junior middleweight. He began his career in 2001 as a junior welterweight and competed there for five years. In 2006, he entered the welterweight division. Cotto defeated a slew of good fighters, including Zab Judah and Shane Mosley, before his epic showdown with Antonio Margarito in 2008.
Cotto suffered his first loss as a professional against Margarito. After being able to soundly outbox Margarito through the first part of the fight, Margarito’s endless aggression wore him down to the point of a Round 11 technical knockout.
The fight later became controversial when Margarito was suspended after a loss to Shane Mosley for allegedly trying to use a hardening substance in his hand wraps to load his gloves.
Cotto got two more wins at the weight before being shellacked by Manny Pacquiao in 2009, a fight in which he was hopelessly outclassed. He moved up to junior middleweight immediately after and reeled off three wins, including a revenge match against Margarito, before losing consecutive fights against Floyd Mayweather and Austin Trout.
Cotto knocked out Delvin Rodriguez in impressive fashion last year at 154 to help make his case for the Martinez bout.
Sergio Martinez (51-2-2, 28 KOs)
Martinez is probably one of the more underappreciated fighters in the sport of boxing.
So much so, in fact, that the lineal middleweight champion of the world since 2009 is playing second fiddle to cash cow Cotto for the fight’s promotion. That’s not necessarily unusual in boxing, but it has to sting Martinez nonetheless.
Martinez is smallish by middleweight standards. He began is fighting career in 1997 as a welterweight and didn’t fight at 160 until 2005.
But Martinez is one of the better middleweight champions in recent history. He defeated Kelly Pavlik in 2010 to become lineal champion, and he’s defended the title six times since against stalwart competition. More often than not, Martinez was the smaller man. He won’t be on Saturday.
Martinez uses superb reflexes and fast hands to fight. His unorthodox approach is relatively similar to a prime Roy Jones Jr., though Martinez is a bit less otherworldly as well as a southpaw.
At age 39, some believe the Argentine has slowed a bit. He’s been injured as of late, with long layoffs after each of his last two fights.
Despite it, Martinez is a proud champion who has staved off legit middleweight threats such as Martin Murray and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., men much larger and more accomplished at the weight than Cotto.
But is Martinez the same fighter he once was? And can he keep Cotto off him long enough to land his punches?
That’s the question heading into fight night.
Cotto is moving up to middleweight without taking even one fight at 160 to prepare himself for the heavier punches. That’s gumption.
But perhaps the move should also be looked at as someone attempting to land the right fight at the right time.
There’s no reason to believe that a prime version of Cotto would ever defeat a prime version of Martinez. Martinez is bigger, faster, stronger and quicker. He’s the better overall athlete and is more accomplished at middleweight than Cotto is at any weight.
But Martinez has showed signs of wear and tear over the past few years, and regardless of how it could happen, winning the lineal middleweight championship against Martinez would be a historic feat for Cotto.
Adding fuel to the fire, the two men don’t seem to like each other. That’s usually a bad thing for Martinez’s opponents. The last man he talked about with such distaste was Chavez, someone he took 11 rounds against before being knocked down in Round 12 of the decision win.
Regardless, it just seems the perfect fight at just the right time. Both are historically important fighters, and there’s a decent enough reason for each to feel confident going into the fight to make it a pay-per-view worth buying.
The Fights Before the Fight
- The PPV telecast will open with former world title challenger Andy Lee (32-2, 22 KOs) taking on John Jackson (18-1, 15 KOs) in a middleweight bout.
- Junior middleweight Jorge Melendez (28-3-1, 26 KOs) will take on Javier Maciel (28-3, 20 KOs), who was a late replacement for Yuri Foreman.
- Featherweight Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. (23-3-1, 19 KOs) will take on Marvin Sonsona (18-1-1, 15 KOs) in a rematch of a 2010 bout that Vazquez won via Round 4 knockout.
Where: Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York
When: Saturday, June 7, at p.m. ET
TV: HBO PPV
What to Know
As PPV undercards go, this one is a stinker. Besides the opening middleweight bout, the undercard fights are basically uninteresting.
The winner of Lee-Jackson should set himself up nicely for a world title shot.
But neither Melendez nor Maciel is anything close to elite, and Vazquez must dominate Sonsona, or he'll need to think long and hard about retirement.
Luckily for promoters, no one buys a PPV for the undercard.
Where to Watch
Where: Madison Square Garden in New York
When: Saturday, June 7, at 9 p.m. ET
TV: HBO PPV for $64.99 (HD)/$54.99 (SD)
Fight Week Events (All Times Are ET)
Official Weigh-In (Friday, June 6)
Limited to first 3,000 fans
Location: The Theater at Madison Square Garden, New York
- 1 p.m. Fighters Report
- 2 p.m. Fighters on the Scale
Fight Night (Saturday, June 7)
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York
- 5 p.m. Doors Open
- 6:15 p.m. First Fight
- 9 p.m. PPV Telecast Begins
Odds and Prediction
Martinez (-210), Cotto (+170), per Vegas Insider (at time of publication)
Cotto is a solid professional. He’s highly skilled and one of the better fighters of his generation. But if Martinez is anything close to what he’s been for the most part of his championship reign, Cotto is going to get wrecked on Saturday night.
An injury-free Martinez is just all wrong for Cotto. He’s too fast and too strong, and he will be able to land powerful shots almost at will against the smaller Cotto, who will be forced to cut the distance however possible.
Unless his knees give way or age has finally made him a shell of what he once was, Martinez will knock Cotto out by Round 8 of a wildly one-sided massacre.