By James Slater: Elevated to near superstar status due to his recent, shockingly quick destruction of the warrior that is Paul “The Punisher” Williams, middleweight king Sergio Martinez is huge news right now. So too is his next fight. Just who will the gifted Argentine fight next?
Immediately after his rematch victory over fellow southpaw Williams, 35-year-old Martinez said he would see what fight offers came his way. And right now, as Dan Rafael reports, Martinez’ promoter Lou DiBella is in talks with HBO to see if a fight with Puerto Rican favourite Miguel Cotto can be put his fighter’s way.
Cotto, a well-respected fighter who Martinez admires greatly, appears to have a few options to choose from himself. There has been talk that Bob Arum is keen on putting Cotto, now a 154-pound belt-holder, back in the ring with Antonio Margarito, the first man to have beaten Cotto, and now there is the Martinez possibility; to say nothing of the possibility of Cotto mixing it with Julio Cesar Chavez Junior (who was at one time the frontrunner to face Cotto).
DiBella spoke with Arum as well as with HBO, about the possibility of Martinez-Cotto taking place:
“Bob knows we can easily make the fight,” DiBella said to ESPN.com. “He will be meeting with Cotto’s people this week and presenting them with various options. Cotto has proven his mettle time and again, but to do a fight like this, he will get nothing but props from people.”
Cotto is indeed a genuine, meet-the-best warrior, but he has fought just once since being battered by P-4-P king Manny Pacquiao last November – the June TKO over Yuri Foreman up at light-middleweight. As such, we don’t really know if he still has the necessary stuff to even seriously test, much less defeat, Martinez. But the fans would tune in to find out, that’s for sure. And Martinez is crazy about the idea of getting it on with Cotto; even though it would mean him dropping down to 155-pounds to make the fight.
“Cotto is an elite fighter, and this is a very good fight for boxing,” Martinez said. “It’s a big Latino fight. I will fight him at 155. I would love to fight Cotto. I have a lot of respect for him.”
DiBella informed ESPN.com that if the fight did happen at 155-pounds, Cotto’s junior middleweight belt would not be at stake, but that the Puerto Rican legend would have the chance to capture the world middleweight crown from “Maravilla.” Sounds like a fight to good for Cotto to turn down, doesn’t it? But can he win it?
Cotto decided to rest up from boxing shortly after the win over Foreman (and withdraw from the Chavez Jr. fight that was on the cards), due mostly to injury, and he is almost certainly looking forward to coming back to the ring and getting himself a big fight. Maybe the Martinez match-up will be made. But will Cotto need a tune-up fight first? And will Martinez wait for Cotto while he has one?
If Martinez Vs. Cotto does happen, the styles of the two fighters would almost certainly produce a great battle.