In an extraordinarily dominant performance, Miguel Cotto stopped the 39-year-old Martinez (51-3-2, 28 KOs) six seconds into the 10th round to capture the WBC middleweight championship on June 7 at Madison Square Garden.
Meeting at a maximum weight of 159 pounds, the 5-foot-7 Cotto (39-4, 32 KOs) sacrificed size, speed and power against the 5-foot-10 Martinez (51-3-2, 28 KOs).
Nevertheless, the 33-year-old Cotto floored Martinez three times in the first and once more in the ninth and was ahead 90-77 on all three scorecards when trainer Pablo Sarmiento mercifully halted the beating.
“Against Cotto, Sergio was badly hurt in the opening round from the first left hook that landed. After that, he remembers only pieces and had very little control of his body and especially his legs. He fought entirely on instinct. It was the worst night of his entire career and he is coming back to prove he is a superstar fighter who just had a bad night.”
In stark contrast to “Maravilla,” looking reenergized and throwing fists with a noticeable confidence, Cotto and Freddie Roach devised an aggressive plan to bully Martinez.
Cotto, who became the first Puerto Rican boxer to win world titles in four weight classes, is in the midst of a renaissance under the tutelage of Roach.
Meanwhile, also a past professional cyclist and soccer player, Martinez is graying, shopworn and simply finished.
Dismissing claims to the contrary, Martinez’s mobility was compromised by his twice surgically repaired right knee.
Still, despite getting pulverized, Martinez exhibited surreal testicular fortitude to last 27 minutes with Cotto.
A southpaw who earned the 2010 “Fighter of the Year” award, Martinez is a Hall of Fame boxer.
Possibly of greater importance, Martinez represents everything that is right with the sport.
Unfortunately, nowhere near “100 percent healthy,” Martinez has chosen the squared circle over Del Boca Vista.
The extremely likable Sergio Martinez will never again be a “superstar fighter.”