A new “Raging Coto”?
Although he didn’t promise a knockout like his opponent Sergio Martinez did, Miguel Angel Cotto tore through all of Martinez’ defensive and offensive barriers, with speed, power and with every type of punch in his arsenal last Saturday.
He pressed with his left hook as per the strategy planned by his trainer Freddy Roach and knocked out Martinez in the 10th round of this exciting and emotional championship fight for the W.B.C. 160 Pound Crown.
Cotto made boxing history June 7, in the sold out Madison Square Garden arena here in New York City to the delight of his personal family, his wife, his mother, and children, and of his frenzied screaming fans.
Some had traveled all the way from Puerto Rico to witness their boxing hero win his 5th coveted world boxing crown — the World Middleweight Championship (WBC).
Miguel Cotto most assuredly will be a slam dunk candidate into the International Boxing Hall of Fame just like his fellow country man Felix Trinidad who was inducted Sunday, June 8, 2014, making him only the 8th Puerto Rican in Boxing’s Hall of Fame.
Still, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s discuss this magnificent display of boxing by a courageous warrior, Cotto, who was not given an outside chance to defeat this monstrous 160 pound champion from Argentina, Martinez. The champ had knocked out or defeated everyone in his path defending his crown.
The fight experts felt that Cotto was no match for Martinez because the champion was too fast, a south-paw, taller, and a harder puncher.
Adding insult to injury, the champ had kept insulting and threatening Cotto, like a school yard bully; Cotto absorbed without a response.
Trainer Roach devised the plan that converted Cotto into a raging bull similar to Jake La Motta, middleweight champ of yesteryear, who would stalk his opponents around the ring. La Motta handed Robinson his first defeat.
Even during the official weigh-in before Cotto vs Martinez, no one noticed how much physically bigger Cotto was than Martinez; Cotto weighed only 155 pounds — but Martinez, at 158, ironically appeared gaunt.
After the referee’s instructions, immediately after the first bell, Cotto attacked Martinez with a vengeance perhaps releasing all of the stored venom towards Martinez from the insults.
Cotto, 39-4, 32 knockouts, slowly stalked and battered Martinez, knocking him down 3 times in the 1st round to the shock of his Argentine fans.
In a technical sense if this fight had been a non-title fight, the fight would’ve stopped because of the 3 knock downs in a round rule.
As the rounds progressed the one-sided battering continued with Cotto actually scoring 5 knock downs but the referee, Michael Griffin determined that the fourth one was a slip.
From round 4 through round 6 Martinez appeared to be gaining some control of the fight jabbing at Cotto’s head and body, bloodying his mouth. That was only short term as Cotto plodded forward punishing Martinez and forcing him to hold on in a survival mode.
After the 9th round knockdown, the bell sounded and as Martinez staggered to his corner, his trainer, Pablo Sarmiento signaled to the referee that he was stopping the fight.
The official stoppage time was 6 seconds of the 10th round.
All 3 fight judges, Guido Cavalleri, Max Deluca, and Tom Schreck, as well as this Black Star News writer, awarded all of the 9 rounds to Miguel Cotto.
During the post-fight interview Cotto, now the W.B.C. Middleweight Champion, expressed relief and pride in being the first Puerto Rican to win 5 boxing crowns.
He said he knew that if he used his left hook repeatedly to the head and body throughout the fight, he could beat Martinez easily.
He called it the “the greatest performance” of his boxing career.
There’s a possibility of fighting the top of the 160 pound fighting class such as: Saul “El Canelo” Alvarez; Russian middleweight, Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin; or a rematch with Mr. Pound-for-Pound, Floyd Mayweather. These are all pay-per-viewers.
Sergio Martinez, 52-3-2, 28 knockouts, although very down-cast, praised Cotto for his victory. He said he felt that he could continue, but because of the knock downs, “I got cold and could never recuperate and be myself. I just could not get untracked”.
Maybe the long medical leave lay-off due to his leg surgeries really damaged him.
Trainer Sarmiento said: “Sergio has been my friend and brother for years and as his trainer I was not going to let him get hurt further. He’ll rest and fight another day”.
The 21,000 fans in attendance brought in a gross gate of over $5 million.
The Fight Card: Jantony Ortiz-making his pro debut over Elio Ruiz 1:55 of the 1st Round; Jose Pedraza over Arturo Uruzquieta at 2:19 of the 1st Round; Felix Verdejo over Engelberto Valenzuela, 1:17 of the 1st Round; “Irish” Andy Lee’s, “surprise” left hook k.o. of John Jackson at 1:07 of the 3rd Round; and, Willie Nelson, 2:43 of 2nd round, knockout over Darryl Cunningham.
The rest of the fight card went the distance and were very competitive and entertaining.
Jose Lopez had a unanimous decision over Raul Hidalgo, while Javier Maciel had a split decision victory over Jorge Melendez. Marvin Sansona won a split decision over Wilfredo Vazquez, Jr.
EPILOGUE: The most amazing result of this boxing saga is the fact that all of the “diva” demands that supposedly Miguel Cotto asked for –last one to enter ring entrance, champs corner, and being introduced last– never materialized since they were all rightfully conceded to Sergio Martinez, the champ. Cotto entered the ring as just the opponent.
Martinez was even permitted to wear protective sleeves over his surgically repaired knees. So you see things have a way of working themselves out.
Will Miguel Cotto finally be regarded as an elite pound-for -pound fighter as others with lesser credentials are labeled?