Miguel Cotto came out in round one on Sergio Martinez like a cop at an Occupy rally, knocking down the Argentine three times in the main event at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, June 7, 2014. Sergio had no pop, and his legs look fairly weak, as the Puerto Rican threw power punches through nine rounds. After a nasty ninth, in which he went down again, the Martinez team pulled the plug.
Six seconds elapsed into round ten, and the crowd hit a vicious decibel level as Michael Buffer handed over the middleweight baton.
It was a stunner, even for this sport we revere, as the theater of the unexpected.
After, Cotto said he wanted a rest, and then said to Max Kellerman he will listen to Freddie Roach on what's next. Sergio to Max didn't want to offer any excuses. He said he agreed with his trainer Pablo Sarmiento pulling the plug.
Cotto went 212-395 to 100-322 for the loser, outlanded in power shots 158 to 60.
Top Rank and Lou DiBella promoted the event, for the record.
Martinez, for the record, didn't win a single round on the cards of Tom Schreck, Max DeLuca and Guido Cavalerri.
Roach after said he was proud of Cotto, and cracked, "I think we passed the audition...We won every round." Of Sergio, Freddie said he's "got a lot of balls" for getting up three times in the first. He said Miguel's defense was great. He loved his head movement and how he controlled the ring.
HBO showed the mainer and select fights on PPV.
Martinez, 40 in February, entered 51-2-2, having been droped once in his last three bouts (Matthew Macklin, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Martin Murray). Cotto, age 33, loser of two of his last three, to Floyd Mayweather and Austin Trout, came in at 38-4.
Cotto, the ex 140, 147, 154 pound champ came to the ring first, to no walkout music, and the buzz was minimal. Then Martinez came out, to music and a solid buzz.
In the first, down went Sergio. He went down again, on his butt, at the minute mark. And again, on his butt. Three knockdowns for Cotto and the roof was almost blown off.
In the second, down went Sergio, but it was a slip. Sergio circled to his left, jabbed some, and did better slipping left hooks.
In the third, they banged heads. The jab touched Cotto, and Sergio slipped better. His left was getting in and this round was a Martinez frame.
In the fourth, Cotto worked the left hook, buzzed Sergio midway through. The champ yelled to c'mon and Cotto did. Sergio circled left the whole time, into the right, but Cotto still landed that left. Serge's pop was pretty weak, to this point. Sergio wasn't moving as much laterally by now.
In the fifth, it was a tighter round. Sergio pecked at Cotto, who didn't have as much luck with his rushes.
In the sixth, Sergio dictated distance but then Cotto came on late, as the gap closed.
In the seventh, SM was busier early. Did Cotto win the round, with his better power in the last minute, or did Sergio's boxing in the first two thirds take it?
In the eighth, Martinez' lack of power was again noticeable. He jabbed OK, but every time Cotto threw power, the crowd went ballistic.
In the ninth, Cotto was a mean brute. Cotto had a another knockdown when Sergio hit with a knee. The Cotto jab was landing clean and hard and Sergio had no pop to dissuade.
His corner pulled the plug before the tenth started.
It was one of the more stunning events seen at the Garden in recent memory, with so many experts talking about how ugly this could be, in favor of Martinez. There will be no shortage of folks who will opine that Sergio should call it a career. What say you, readers?