Picking The Winner Of Cotto-Martinez Isn't A Forgone Conclusion
Wladimir Klitschko versus any heavyweight in the top-10, is there really any doubt as to the outcome? No.
Floyd Mayweather versus the opponents of his choice, no there's not a shred of drama or doubt as to who'll win.
Gennady Golovkin versus any of the top middleweights in the world, no, we know who's probably gonna a win, it's just a matter of in what round the fight will end.
And believe me, that's not an indictment on any of the three fighters mentioned. The truth of the matter is, today's heavyweight division is extremely pedestrian and Wladimir brings a lot to the ring as a fighter and is no walk in the park.
Mayweather is an authentically great fighter who must retire undefeated (or he'll be most remembered for his lone loss) and happens to be the most risk averse great we've ever seen, at least in my lifetime. His greatness limits the pool as to who can really challenge him, and the two or three fighters near his weight who could challenge him, Manny Pacquiao, Sergio Martinez and Gennady Golovkin, he won't fight without a gimmick or stipulation that tilts the result in his favor.
As for Golovkin, the middleweight division isn't pedestrian, but a lot contenders from the 1970s/1980s would definitely be a major belt holder today. So in reality, Golovkin isn't necessarily running on the fastest track either.
The point is, recently we've seen the bigger name fighters who are on everybodys' radar partake in a lot of mismatches. How many times is a major fight announced that you don't know right off the bat who the winner will be? Or at the least there's an overwhelming case to build for one fighter over the other. And for that reason boxing fans should welcome the upcoming middleweight bout on June 7th between WBC title holder Sergio Martinez 51-2-2 (28) and three division title holder Miguel Cotto 38-4 (31).
What a welcome change it is to see that a major fight is taking place and picking the winner is very tough and by no means a forgone conclusion. There is a case to be made for both sides. The case for Cotto is, I get the sense that Martinez is not quite there physically anymore having been down in his last three fights. He's had too many close calls in his last few fights versus fighters who aren't technically solid and he can be trapped on the ropes, which will get you hurt against Cotto. He may look good early, but how long can he last? If Martinez's legs aren't 100% (and I don't think they are anymore) he's lost his biggest advantage in the fight. Martinez without his legs isn't really Martinez and will be forced to fight it out and trade on the inside, advantage Cotto.
The case for Martinez is, he still may have his legs and will be able to pot-shot Cotto on the way in. Miguel is very durable but he tends to swell up and cut. In order for Cotto to win he has to force the fight without getting peppered with Martinez's unorthodox punches from his southpaw stance. Cotto has gone rounds with fighters who were bigger punchers than Martinez, but Sergio is very accurate when the target is pursuing him. And if he makes Cotto pay a steep price on the way in, especially in the early going, that'll certainly impede Cotto's aggression - and once that happens, Cotto isn't nearly as effective as he normally is when he pushing the fight.
As for the size, you could look at it two ways. The first being that Martinez is the bigger guy and has been in there with big middleweights like Kelly Pavlik and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and wasn't manhandled or pushed around the ring. Sergio isn't the strongest middleweight around, but he's definitely stronger than he appears. The other side of the coin pertaining to their size is that Martinez isn't a genuine middleweight and used to fight as a big welterweight/junior middleweight. The catch-weight of 159 isn't a big deal this time because Martinez usually comes in under the middleweight limit. So basically, the size and weight isn't really much of a factor. If pushed to chose who the weight favors more, I'd say Martinez because he is definitely the bigger man, but he doesn't really fight like a big strong middleweight.
Another thing that makes the fight intriguing is, both fighters have a very strong mental constitution and cannot be convinced that they're out of a fight because they've been beaten up or lost a few rounds. Both Martinez and Cotto have rescued fights where it looked as though it might not be their night. And there's not an ounce of dog in either fighter and both will be around until someone else stops it.The Martinez-Cotto clash is one fight that boxing fans should embrace. What a pleasure the promotion is going to be--two adults, two professionals, no name calling, no bullsh*t. Both Martinez and Cotto are real pros and represent all that's good about professional boxing.
Not only are both guys upper-tier world class fighters who have never backed away from a challenge, they're both fighting to become the next leading contender in the Floyd Mayweather sweepstakes. Cotto has made more money than Martinez, but no doubt wants another shot at Mayweather and the pot of financial gold that comes along with it. As for Martinez, he would love to get a shot at Mayweather for both the notoriety and fame along with the money that fighting Floyd brings.
I have no doubt both fighters will be very motivated to face each other for all the above reasons. And you can bet that Mayweather will be scouting both guys as he looks to find a viable opponent to meet later this year. The only sad thing about that is, we already know Floyd can beat Cotto, and if Martinez wins, Mayweather will not face Sergio at 159, because that would make the bout legitimate. No way Mayweather will go for that. I'm thinking if we get Mayweather-Martinez, Floyd will insist that the catch-weight is somewhere in the vicinity of 154/155. Which of course means we will again know the outcome before the ink dries on the contracts.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com