"You can run, but you'll only die tired."
'O how I loved that quote from my old Star Wars friend and villain. Prescience and farsightedness are as admirable as they are rare, and the tandem of Freddie Roach and Miguel Cotto knew something about Sergio Martinez well in advance of what will be a memorable encounter tonight.
By all accounts Sergio Martinez, the almost seemingly erstwhile WBC middleweight champion in pursuit of glory, is in spectacular condition and has had a "Maravilla" of a training camp. He is injury free for the first time since his cliffhanger of a title defense over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and is ready to deliver a pound for pound worthy perfomance tonight at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
But see the funny thing about life is, just when you think its become a bitch - it decides to have puppies.
MIGUEL COTTO VS. SERGIO MARTINEZ
The only thing that went wrong during Miguel Cotto's training camp were the ball hugging and chick booty grabbing Speedo's he wore on HBO's 24/7. He knew he'd be on national television, and it was a rather disturbing turn of events. I mean, my daughter was traumatized watching him jump rope in that wretched attire.
Anyway, all jokes aside, I don't think Cotto has ever been more ready for a major title fight in his entire career. The fight with Delvin Rodriguez was only a pre-cursor to what he could do against Martinez, and it is my belief that he may have actually been preparing for Martinez in that fight.
There are a number of reasons why I don't think Martinez can beat Cotto. For starters, he got his ass kicked in negotiations. The "Face-Off" with Max Kellerman was revealing in terms of the bitterness he displayed. The tension between them was very real, but Cotto's stoic demeanor and unshakeable confidence trumped the arrogant petulance of the champion.
Cotto managed to get top-billing and the A-side of the promotion. He is going to be introduced last and walk to the ring last as the challenger. The fight is essentially a home fight at the Garden in New York, where he generally performs well. Miguel Cotto will get a guaranteed purse of 7 million to 1.5 for uh, the champion. He ceded all of this because of his desire to get a win over a name opponent and to avoid what he knew would be a disaster in facing Gennady "GGG" Golovkin in his first bout back.
He should have been more careful for what he bargained for.
He got punked at the negotiating table, and he's going to get punked in the ring tonight as well. The 158lbs or so he weighed will probably turn into about 170 tonight, and I expect the 155lbs or so that Cotto weighed to become about 165. Both of them are battle worn for different reasons, but Martinez's style will cause him to re-encounter the same physical ailments that derailed from the sport for the past two years - because of Cotto's style.
Its not lost on me what a plodding Chavez Jr. (who has 1/2 the talent of Cotto) was able to endure and almost do in the 12th round nearly 2 years ago. If he had the type of training camp that Miguel just had with Freddie, I think he stops Martinez in about 10 rounds in a fairly even fight prior to stopping him.
Martinez is - even at 40, a spectacular athlete with incredible stamina, but there's only so many times he can cheat fistic death. Cotto can hit him almost as much as Paul Williams did in their 1st encounter without getting hit nearly as much in return. "Maravilla" will find him to be much more than a one-dimensional plodder the way say Kelly Pavlik was, and he'll be forced into a much more conventional fight.
He won't be able to drop his hands and slap Cotto around the ring. He'll find out very early on that he'll have to raise his hands or pay for it, and this while being in constant motion which will absorb energy. He'll be hit to the body in ways he's never been and gradually fade down the stretch.
I do expect him to bust up Cotto somewhat, who is no stranger to bleeding and swelling, but he's a serious upgrade to the likes of Darren Barker, Matthew Macklin, Martin Murray, and Chavez Jr.
In a fight that will more than live up to its considerable hype and pre-fight drama, Miguel Cotto will finally win an action packed superfight in front of a rowdy Puerto Rican crowd of supporters. The pick here is Cotto by an electrifying 11th round TKO to win the WBC middleweight title in the most impressive performance of his proud career.