After Miguel Cotto’s impressive win over Delvin Rodriguez I speculated that his next bout would be a contest with either Mexican superstar Saul Alvarez or 160lbs ruler Sergio Martinez. Over the past few days the news that has come out appears to indicate that Martinez and Cotto will match up when Martinez returns from his injury enforced layoff.
So Team Cotto likes the fight, but what about Martinez and his handlers? Count him in, adviser Sampson Lewkowicz told ESPN.com on Monday. He said Martinez definitely wants the fight.
“I won’t negotiate the fight through the press, that’s not good,” he said. “So the only thing is that Sergio will accept the fight because he wants to fight the best and Miguel Cotto is one of the best. There is no question about it, and it would be a competitive fight. We’d love it. We have a Plan B, but Plan A is definitely Cotto.”
The timing of having the fight in June works well for Martinez, Lewkowicz said. Martinez is recovering from knee surgery and is expected to be able to fight by April, but he would happily wait until June, Lewkowicz said.
The article goes into further details of a supposed “grudge” Martinez has against Cotto for disrespecting him when they met a few years back but frankly, I struggle to believe a word of it. The reality is this is a good bout for both boxers whether held at 154lbs, catchweight or 160lbs. For Martinez, now that Chavez Jr has moved up to at least 168lbs (if not more) which discounts a rematch, there are a lack of real high profile bouts from current 160lbs boxers and any move to face Canelo by him would struggle as the two are contracted to different TV Networks (Martinez to HBO and Canelo to Showtime). As the TV ratings for Cotto’s latest bout show he’s one of the biggest US draws out there.
As for Cotto it would likewise give him a high profile bout. In addition, I think Martinez is a winnable fight for him. Martinez looked distinctly underwhelming in his last bout and more than that these days struggles to get through a 12 round bout without picking up an injury. He would be coming into the Cotto bout after being out of the ring for over a year which raises the possibility to rust. Moreover Martinez’ style depends to a large extent on his speed and reflexes with his technical ability being limited in comparison. At 38 he’s at the age where that athleticism can disappear and once Martinez can’t move away from an opponent he becomes a lot more vulnerable… especially to a boxer with as ferocious an inside attack as Cotto.
In essence, it’s a good fight that makes sense and should be (relatively) easy to put together.
Which is a good thing to see in boxing.