Is Miguel Cotto vs Sergio Martinez still significant in 2014? I would say that answer is yes.
But there is a definite scent of past their prime to this fight. Thanks to injuries and age, this isn’t the same Sergio Martinez who knocked out Paul Williams in 2010. But just as well, this isn’t the same Miguel Cotto who beat Shane Mosley (before Mosley beat Antonio “Hands Of Plaster” Margarito) and then wiped out Alfonso Gomez. Since the Gomez fight, Cotto is only 6-4, albeit against top notch competition.
Cotto is going up to middleweight for the fight and probably will weigh-in several pounds lighter than the minimum. And while Martinez isn’t a large middleweight, he’s still been fighting at the weight for the last five years.
Why is this fight significant? Because even though both guys are on the opposite side of their primes, they are still two of the best overall boxers in the sport. And when you put two of the best in the ring together, greatness can happen.
Duan: Cotto by late round TKO
When you have a match-up like this where so much is unknown in each corner, it’s almost impossible to make any kind of projection as to how the fight will break down. On Martinez’s side, it’s a question of how much he’s got left. Injuries and the subsequent inactivity have been a nuisance to the great Argentinian since his 2012 victory over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Struggles in his one bout since against Martin Murray suggested his next fight could well be the one too far. Now 14 months later, that rings truer that ever.
For Cotto, weight will be the worry. The Puerto Rican was never really a true junior middleweight in spite of some success in the division. The size gap between he and most modern middleweights is approaching laughable. Fortunately for Cotto, he’s been matched with the one elite level 160-pounder who will dwarf him the least. Martinez, himself is a more natural light middleweight, and remains on the small side for the weight even after having campaigned there for the best part of five years. Maravilla will still however be the one with all the physical advantages. Sure, he’s bigger, stronger and more powerful, but even at 39, he will also be expected to have the edge in speed and be the better mover too.
This should be a really tall order for Cotto, and if Sergio is at 100%, or even 85%, it will be. I can’t see that being the case though. You can only hold off the wear and tear for so long before it catches up on you, and Martinez has been doing it for too long now. The final rounds against Chavez and most of the fight with Murray showed a great who appeared to be tethering on the edge. If that is what we were seeing, Cotto’s pressure style will play havoc for the 39-year old.
Pablo Sarmiento is a smart coach and knows his fighter better than anyone. He will be able to tell if it’s still there for Martinez or not. And if he doesn’t like what he sees, I don’t see him sending Sergio out to take a beating. I’m going against the bookmakers and conventional wisdom here and picking a win inside the distance for the smaller man. Look for a Cotto victory by towel throw or corner stoppage somewhere between 8 and 10.
Robert: Martinez by late stoppage or decision
Anyone who knows me, knows that my father played a huge influence in what sports and teams I follow. He was a proud Puerto Rican, a man who supported all the great athletes of his native land. Unfortunately, my father passed away in 2000 – a year before the next great Puerto Rican fighter, Miguel Cotto, turned pro.
Cotto has carried on the tradition of great Puerto Rican fighters like Felix Trinidad, Jose Torres and Wilfredo Gomez. He is no doubt a first ballot Hall of Famer. Unfortunately, in my opinion, he doesn’t have what it takes to defeat the second greatest Argentine fighter of all-time, Sergio Martinez.
Look for Sergio to put on a masterful boxing display. No one can question Cotto’s heart, but that will not be enough Saturday night in New York City. Look for either a late round stoppage or lopsided decision victory for the future Hall of Famer, Sergio Martinez.
GG: Martinez by 10th round TKO
This one is a hard one because you don’t know what kind of Sergio Martinez you’re going to get. As Miguel Cotto wonders where Freddie Roach has been all his life, Martinez trains with two knee braces and doesn’t walk around like the top-notch athlete he is.
And while I think it’s easy to look at Martinez’s health and use that to decide who wins the fight, I’m not sure it’s that easy. Let’s say Martinez is 75% of himself. Would that be enough to take out the much smaller Cotto? It could be enough to slow him down so that Cotto could do what he does best which is break guys down.
To me, it’s still not going to be enough. Martinez has waited all his life for fights like this. He’s waited just enough time to get in the necessary shape. I think he’ll be just good enough to tire out Cotto and beat him up in the process. I don’t think this thing has the look of a fight that ends with both men waiting for a decision. I think someone’s corner stops it. And if I’m right, it will be Cotto’s corner.