COMMENTARY| In what was one of boxing’s most anticipated fights for 2014, Miguel Cotto thoroughly dominated middleweight champion Sergio Martinez. Martinez retired on his stool before the tenth round. A victorious Cotto claimed both The Ring, and the WBC Middleweight belts. The bout was held at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. With the dominating victory, Cotto not only made history by becoming the first Puerto Rican boxer to win titles in four different weight classes, he also brought Martinez’s four year reign of the middleweight division to an end.
In the weeks and months leading up to the bout, Miguel Cotto was viewed by most as the underdog for the fight. However, in the latter part of 2013, Cotto made a move that seemed to rejuvenate his career. Cotto stopped working with trainer Pedro Diaz, and hooked up with famed boxing trainer Freddie Roach. In his first fight with Roach in his corner, Cotto went on to defeat Delvin Rodriguez via third round stoppage. Although Cotto looked energized once again, the fight with Sergio Martinez marked Cotto’s first time ever fighting at middleweight. As for Martinez, there were numerous questions about his health leading up to the fight.
Sergio Martinez has dealt with several injury related issues in recent years. Martinez suffered from both a left shoulder injury, and a fractured left hand in his last fight with Martin Murray in April of 2013. Both of those injuries required surgery and rehab, but the real question by many was how Martinez’s surgically repaired right knee would hold up? Martinez’s damaged knee required two surgeries that kept him fairly inactive during most of 2013. For most, Martinez’s chances of defeating Cotto would hinge on how well his knee would hold up.
To the surprise of many, Miguel Cotto knocked Sergio Martinez down three times in the fight’s opening round. Martinez was able to narrowly survive the round, however, things wouldn’t get any better for him as the fight progressed. Cotto continued to press the attack, landing hard left hooks up top and to Martinez’s body. Martinez, who is known for moving around the ring tried moving away from Cotto, but never seemed quite comfortable after going down so early. Even when Martinez was attempting to move, Cotto was cutting off the ring with ease.
Martinez was once again knocked down by Cotto in the ninth round. Having clearly seen enough of Martinez taking punishment and with no likely shot at winning, Martinez’s corner retired him from the bout right before the tenth round. The stoppage marked the second time in Martinez’s career that he had been stopped, and was the first time it’s happened since he was stopped by Antonio Margarito in 2000.
With the impressive victory, Cotto’s record improves to 39-4 with 32 knockouts. It appears to me that linking up with Freddie Roach has helped to salvage Cotto’s career. Now at age 33, Cotto now has even more options as to what he wants to do next. Cotto weighed in at 155 for this fight, so he can juggle between both middleweight and light middleweight if he chooses. At this stage of his career, he’s likely looking only for big money fights. If Saul Alvarez gets past Erislandy Lara next month, that could potentially be a big money fight for Cotto.
As for 39-year-old Sergio Martinez (51-3-2), the Argentine native now has some serious decisions to make on whether or not to continue his career. Martinez didn’t make any excuses for his knee following the fight, but it’s clear that he’s no longer the fighter he was a few years back before the injuries set in. As someone that is a fan of Sergio Martinez, it was hard to see him be dominated in the fashion that he did. Not taking anything away from Cotto; he fought a terrific fight. However, it appears that father time, injuries, and inactivity may have caught up with Martinez.