Martinez’ career and title on the line against Cotto
- Updated: March 20, 2014
Sergio Martinez will defend his WBC middleweight title against Miguel Cotto on June 7 at Madison Square Garden. The fight will take place on the eve of the Puerto Rican parade in New York City, which has usually been a tradition for Cotto to headline a fight at the World’s Most Famous Arena on that day. There is no question this is the best boxing bout to take place at Madison Square Garden in many years.
The bout will be fought at a catch weight of 159 lbs.
The Argentinean icon will be making his seventh defense of the 160-pound crown, but will be stepping into the ring for the first time in 14 months, after suffering a knee injury against Martin Murray last April. He is still considered as one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world, but his injuries have kept him off recent top 3 lists. At the age of 39 and after multiple operations on his right knee, Martinez knows that the end of his great career is not far off.
The rise of Martinez began back in 2009 after a controversial draw against Kermit Cintron. The draw against Cintron is considered a joke as Martinez actually stopped Cintron, only to have the referee inexplicably reverse the knockout and re-start the fight.
His next fight against Paul Williams on December 5th, 2009 was considered to be the fight of the year and was the true coming out party for Martinez. After being knocked down by Williams in the first round, Martinez responded back with a knockdown of his own against Williams. The fight was very close, and could have easily gone the way for Martinez. However, Williams would escape with a majority decision victory with scores of 114–114, 119–110 (for Williams) and 115–113 (for Williams).
Since the defeat to Williams, the 39-year old Argentinean became one of boxing’s biggest stars with many big victories along the way. He bloodied and battered Kelly Pavlik at his peak to capture the middleweight champion. In his rematch with Williams, he delivered one of the best knockouts in the history of the sport by finishing off the Punisher in two rounds with a punishing left hook. At the time, Williams was considered the most feared boxer to fight at the time of the knockout.
He had one of the most important victories of his career when he defeated Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. by decision, but that was after a surviving a mega scare in the 12th round when he was knocked out down by Chavez Jr.
It was the fight against Chavez Jr. that knee troubles started to intensify for Martinez. He has had three surgeries on his right knee since that fight. The operations have prevented him from doing normal road work during his training. He is expected to begin his roadwork by the end of the month.
In two weeks I’ll be in perfect shape,” said Martinez. “The knee is almost 100%, and with some more treatment, it will be by next month,”
He has been knocked down in his last three fights, and is coming off an unexpected close decision victory against Martin Murray. Martinez needed to win the championship rounds against Murray to escape his home country with a win. The knees are not the only part that is bothering the middleweight champion. He suffered a shoulder injury days prior to the fight with Murray, and fractured his left hand during that bout. Those injuries have caused him to be on the longest layoff of his 16-year career.
As he approaches the age of 40, the time off may not have come at a greater time for Martinez. Much like Chavez, Cotto is an opponent who will generate millions of dollars in the pocket of Martinez. And just like Chavez, Cotto is a very beatable boxer at this point of his career. The great Puerto Rican legend has been involved dozens of in-ring wars, and is likely well past his prime.
He is coming off an impressive stoppage of Delvin Rodriguez last October, but Rodriguez is far from a serious test. Before that bout, he was beaten convincingly by an unknown Austin Trout.
It’s a history making fight as a win by either man will certainly cement their legacy.
A win for Martinez means more money, and more fights. A win sets up a possible showdown with Golovkin or maybe a rematch on PPV against Chavez. He will cement himself as one of the great middleweights of all time, and will put an end to a great career in front of his many fans that will be at the Garden that evening.
If Martinez does not walk out of the Garden with the middleweight champion, his career will be the one that will come to an end.