NEW YORK – Madison Square Garden was the whereabouts in which history was made this past Saturday night. More than 21,000 fans filled the arena to witness a display of brilliance from its favorite Puerto Rican boxer Miguel Cotto now (39-4, 32 KO's). Supposedly, what was deemed by some to be all out war against his Argentine opponent Sergio Martinez (51-3-2, 28 KO's) turned out to be a complete wipeout.
The odds coming into this fight highly favored Martinez who was a natural middleweight and held the WBC title belt. Cotto moved up to the middleweight division for the first time in his career and seized the moment in great fashion. He's the first Puerto Rican fighter to ever win titles in four different weight classes. It was a historic event that will not soon be forgotten.
During the opening bell Cotto came in throwing powerful blows at Martinez. His speed and power shocked almost everyone watching. He knocked Martinez down three times in the first round. It was the Puerto Rican's left hook that did all the damage early on in the fight. Martinez said, "He never fully recovered from the punishment he took from those first round knock downs."
Fight fans were amazed how easy Cotto handled Martinez. He pushed the bigger fighter back with his strong jabs using angles with superb footwork and excellent balance. Something he said him and his trainer Freddie Roach worked on throughout their training camp to prepare for the fight. He said, Martinez kept dropping his arms which made it an easy target to land the big powerful left hooks.
Roach said, "He was very proud with the way his fighter conducted himself in the ring. His defense was so solid; he barely got hit with anything in the fight." The fight was one-sided from the beginning. During the end of the ninth round, Martinez was knocked down again by heavy blows from his opponent.
By the time the fighters approached the tenth round, Martinez's trainer Pablo Sarmiento said, he had seen enough. The trainer had been trying to get his Argentine fighter to move to his left for the entire fight, but those simple instructions seemed impossible. Sarmiento made the decision a few seconds into the tenth round to throw in the towel. He said, "He did not want to see his fighter take anymore punishment."
During the post-fight interview, Martinez did not make any excuses for his loss against Cotto. When asked by HBO boxing analyst Max Kellerman what happened, he replied, "I was beaten by the better man tonight." The 39-year old Martinez has to do some serious soul searching in regards to where his career goes from here. At this gesture, retirement might even be a thought.
Miguel Cotto's spirit is soaring high right now. He and his trainer, Roach are very satisfied with his performance from Saturday night. Since bringing on his new trainer, he is 2-0 and once again excited about his future in the sport. He said he will go back to his homeland and relax with his family before deciding what's really next on the agenda; right now he's just going to enjoy his victory.
It was a huge celebration this past weekend at The Garden, and the big victory received from their fighter could not have been a better gift to kick off The National Puerto Rican Day Parade held the very next day. It's a tradition their ethnic group celebrates to highlight outstanding contributions of the Puerto Rican Community in New York City.