It’s finally a done deal; WBC middleweight champion Sergio Martinez (51-2-2, 28 KO’s) will be defending his title against 33-year-old former three division world champion Miguel Cotto (38-4, 31 KO’s) on June 7th at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Cotto vs. Martinez is projected by some to be the biggest fight of 2014. I’m not sure that it’ll be the biggest fight of the year, but it’ll definitely be a top five fight as long as they put a decent undercard with it. I’m not holding my breath at that happening.
Cotto is the one that wanted this fight so that he could validate his career by winning a 4th division world title. Whether he can do that remains to be seen. It comes down to whether Martinez is old enough for Cotto to beat him, because there’s no way that Cotto would have been able to compete against the prime version of Martinez before 2012. Martinez has been breaking down physically since his win over former WBC middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in September of 2012. Martinez reportedly hadn’t done a great job of rehabbing his injured knee from that fight before defending his title against Martin Murray last year in April in Argentina. Martinez subsequently re-injured his knee and also hurt his left hand.
If Martinez is injury free for the Cotto fight, then he wins this fight with ease and likely will knock Cotto out.
Cotto’s trainer Freddie Roach thinks Cotto has found the fountain of youth since he’s told him to start using his left hook constantly. It’s a good that Cotto is using his hooks more, but the reality is he’s going to have a really tough time trying to land those shots against Martinez because he’s not someone that will conveniently back up to the ropes and let Cotto tee off on him the way that Delvin Rodriguez did last year in October. That fight was just a case of Cotto fighting a hand-picked opponent to make him look good in the same way that Manny Pacquiao beat a hand-picked Brandon Rios last year in November. Cotto won’t be able to land his hooks against Martinez unless he stands there and lets him do that, and even an injured Martinez on one leg will have the sense enough to know that he can’t be stationary against Cotto.
Cotto wants to beat Martinez, pick up the WBC 160 lb title, and then face Saul “Canelo” Alvarez next year. It’ll be interesting to see if Canelo would be willing to fight at middleweight for that fight or if he’d ask for a catch-weight to give himself an advantage. Considering that Canelo has been weighing in for some of his fights in the 170s, he shouldn’t have any problems fighting at the full weight for the middleweight division.