Miguel Cotto and Sergio Martinez face off Saturday for the Ring and WBC middleweight titles in New York’s historic Madison Square Garden in one of the biggest fights of 2014.
Martinez (51-2-2, with 28 wins coming via KO) is looking to defend his titles for the seventh time and coming off a unanimous decision over Martin Murray.
Cotto (38-4, with 31 wins by KO) is coming off a third round TKO of Devlin Rodriguez after losing two straight unanimous decisions to Floyd Mayweather (lost the WBA Super Lightweight title) and Austin Trout (for the WBA Light middleweight title).
I haven’t stayed up on boxing like I used to, but the big questions heading into this fight are:
1-Is Sergio Martinez still a machine like Bernard Hopkins? Martinez is 39 and most importantly, coming off a serious knee injury. He’s had two knee surgeries and he’s also had his left hand broken twice, this will be his first fight since the Murray fight on April 27th of last year. He’s been away from the ring for 13 months and Cotto last fought in October of last year when he defeated Rodriguez.
Martinez has been knocked down in his last two fights, against Martin and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, both fighters don’t have close to the power Cotto can bring. That may have something to do with the knee injuries Martinez has sustained.
Chavez has some power, but he hasn’t been in the ring with the likes of fighters that Cotto has. Cotto has fought a who’s who of boxing in Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, Shane Mosley, Zab Judah, Antonio Margarito, and Ricardo Mayorga.
2-The question for Cotto is he is fighting at a weight that is above where he is most comfortable. He’s had the majority of his success in the light welterweight and welterweight classes. Is he going to lose any power at middleweight? He has KO’ed Yuri Foreman, Ricardo Mayorga, Antonio Mayorga and Rodriguez in his four victories, but he’s stepping up in competition against Martinez.
Cotto is not a fighter you want to have to face coming off injury. He’s a very good puncher who can box and he can make another boxer pay if he is at less than 100 percent. Both boxers are probably past their prime and in the twilight of their careers, but Cotto is not somebody that will mail it in. He’s looking for his last real chance at a title
Cotto doesn’t have the elite quickness to beat guys like Mayweather and Pacquiao, but Martinez isn’t that mobile with his knee injuries. This is going to be a fight in the middle of the ring in my opinion, Cotto can bring the power to Martinez like he hasn’t seen in a while and Cotto is a well-known body puncher. Cotto can wear down Martinez and take him out (even if he was 100 percent).
My pick: Cotto via TKO in the 8th round.
I think Cotto will work the body and knock down Martinez several times during the course of the fight. I think he’ll catch Martinez late in the fight, forcing the referee to stop the contest.
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