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, 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.
“Happiest day of my life,” said Cotto, 33, who became the first Puerto Rican boxer to win world titles in four weight classes. "This is the biggest achievement of my professional career."
Looking reenergized and throwing fists with a noticeable confidence, Cotto and Freddie Roach devised an aggressive plan to bully Martinez.
"I'm proud of Miguel. He worked so hard," said Roach, 54, who has been voted Trainer of the Year on six occasions by the BWAA. "He deserved this historic victory."
Meanwhile, also a past professional cyclist and soccer player, Martinez is graying, shopworn and simply finished.
Despite getting pulverized, Martinez exhibited surreal testicular fortitude to last 27 minutes with Cotto.
"I got hit with the punch and I was cold and I never recovered after that," said Martinez, 39, whose mobility was compromised by his twice surgically repaired right knee.
"I tried to do my best and I want to apologize to the Argentine fans and I want to thank all of the Puerto Rican fans for coming out. You've got to know when to win and you've got to know when to lose, and I give all congratulations to Miguel 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, it is time for Sergio Martinez to forever vacate the squared circle and relocate to Del Boca Vista.
In stark contrast to “Maravilla,” Cotto’s “professional career” is in the midst of a renaissance.
Focusing on throwing more left hooks to the body, the team of Miguel Cotto and Freddie Roach will continue to thrive in the rugged world of pugilism.
Miguel Cotto and Freddie Roach annihilate Sergio Martinez