Cotto Destroys Martinez
On the eve of the annual Puerto Rican parade in New York City, Miguel Cotto gave his countrymen something to really celebrate about: The WBC Middleweight title and a 9 round beating that Sergio Martinez had never experienced before.
Cotto dominated the bout right from the opening bell. He staggered Martinez early on with a left hook that sent the Argentinian champion down for the first time in the bout. Martinez was able to get up, but Cotto nailed him again, this time with a right hand, a few seconds later. As Martinez stood up, he shook his head, as if he never knew what hit him. Cotto knocked Martinez down a third time with a body shot before the first round was over. And while Martinez survived the initial salvo, the win was never within his reach.
Promoter Bob Arum said that Cotto was “absolutely sensational”. Arum went on to praise the work Freddie Roach has done with Cotto and said that it was a “waste” that Cotto “didn’t get to Roach earlier in his career.”
This was only the second fight that Roach has worked with Cotto, but the maturity in Cotto’s game was unbelievable. After he knocked Martinez down three times in round one, Cotto kept his composure and controlled his emotions. Cotto said that “his maturity as a professional fighter” was on display in the fight. Cotto added that he never went wild and out of control when he had Martinez in trouble early. Cotto slowly picked Martinez apart with the perfect game plan.
Wear and Tear of Maravilla
Before the fight, the master trainer Freddie Roach said that they will be exposing the “wear and tear” of the 39 year old Sergio Martinez. Martinez had suffered knocked downs in each of his last three fights although he won all of them. But he’s had knee surgery and had taken more than a year off the ring prior to the fight with Miguel Cotto. The game plan was brilliant.
Cotto moved forward, stalking Martinez like his prey while controlling the fight in the middle of the ring just as Roach instructed. He kept Martinez backpedalling on his questionable knees and prevented him to land his powerful left straights. The question on Sergio’s mobility was quickly answered. His knees buckled the moment Cotto landed a left hook flush in his head.
Martinez refused to blame his twice surgically repaired right knee and offered no excuses. He said he was hit cleanly with the left hook in the first round and he never recovered. Martinez started to pepper Cotto with stiff jabs in the fourth round as the Argentines in the crowd chanted his name. But Cotto was all-focus. He kept coming at Martinez and continued to force the champion to back pedal all throughout the fight.
In the ninth round, Cotto staggered Martinez again with another left hook. Referee Michael Griffin incorrectly ruled a knockdown, stating that Martinez took a knee but it appeared that he didn’t. But that did not matter much. Cotto was way ahead in all the judges’ scorecards. All scored the bout 90-77 at the time of the stoppage.
One More Round
In his corner, Martinez was begging for one more round. But his trainer Pablo Sarmiento would not let him continue. Sarmiento told Martinez that his knees weren’t working and that it was his responsibility to prevent more damage. Sarmiento added that Martinez was unstable and was not responding. He confirmed that he was hurt in round one and never got better.
Lou Di Bella, the promoter for Martinez, said that it was only bravery that kept Martinez up. Martinez was hurt and never recovered. Di Bella agreed with Sarmiento in stopping the fight to protect Martinez from further damage in a fight he could no longer win.
End of the Road
The fight could have been the last for Martinez who had not fought in 14 months.
Di Bella however said that today was not the day to make that decision. He said that he’ll leave that up to Sergio Martinez himself. Di Bella, who is close to Martinez, said that the loss hurt but praised Martinez for his bravery by saying most guys wouldn’t have fought on after the first round. He said Martinez kept apologizing to him about the loss. But he told the fallen champion that “it’s been a great ride.”
And while Martinez may have seen the end of the road, Cotto has never looked better. He looked like the scary Miguel Cotto of old but had more patience and focus. Moving up to middleweight was never a problem, and he has brought his power with him.
With the win, Cotto may have secured a fight with Canelo Alvarez should the Mexican star defeat Erislandy Lara next month. Another option could be Gennady Golovkin, but he too has a fight to win against Daniele Geale next month. But with this historic win, sky is the new limit for Miguel Cotto.
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