Miguel Cotto is a funny guy.
I’m not saying he could do stand-up at the Comedy Club or that he’d be great in a skit on Saturday Night Live. He’s no Steve Martin.
But he is funny in the same way a guy stumbling over a log or walking into a spider web is funny. It’s all in good fun as long as no one gets hurt.
Of course, I’m not the only guy who thinks Cotto has a pretty good sense of humor. I’m guessing WBC middleweight champ Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez of Argentina also thinks Cotto is a comedian.
The two fighters are scheduled to face each other on HBO pay-per-view on Saturday (June 7) at Madison Square Garden in New York City, and that’s where Martinez sees the real humor.
“This fight will happen because, despite (my) being the champion, I will be the first to enter the ring,” Martinez said not long after he agreed to put his title on the line against Cotto. “Because if not, Cotto wouldn’t take the fight.”
“They will also announce me first in the ring, despite my being the champion (champions are always announced last) because if not, Cotto wouldn’t take the fight.”
That Miguel Cotto. What a jokester.
Cotto, the Pride of Puerto Rico, also wanted top billing on all posters and advertising and a bigger share of the purse. Or else – you got it – he wouldn’t take the fight.
According to Martinez, those were just some of the things Cotto demanded ifhe was going to take the fight.
Now here’s where Martinez shows his humorous side.
“I imagine that (Cotto) will ask for a trail of rose petals to get into the ring (on Saturday),” Martinez said. “Or else Cotto won’t fight.”
Rose petals? That’s a good one, Serge. You’re a pretty good joke teller yourself.
“You’d have to ask the promoters about the other things Cotto wanted,” he said. “But it was ridiculous.”
I checked and there’s no truth to the rumor that Cotto insisted Martinez wear 16-ounce gloves, an eye patch and street shoes.
All joking aside, these two guys don’t seem to care too much for each other.
Martinez says he was slighted by Cotto when the two met on a TV boxing show several years ago, and Martinez hasn’t forgotten about it.
He says it wouldn’t be so bad if Cotto had just been rude to him at the TV station. Snubbing a guy you might be facing in the ring at some point in the future is just part of the fight game. It’s expected.
But Martinez says Cotto was rude to everyone he saw at the station and that makes him, well, not a nice person.
“I just didn’t like his demeanor,” Martinez said.
Sometimes a little bad demeanor is all it takes.
Martinez sounds like a guy you’d want to go have a few beers with. Cotto sounds like someone you wouldn‘t invite in out of the rain.
But like him or not, Cotto has been in the ring with some of the best (he’s a three-division world champion) and he’s a tough, durable fighter if he’s anything.
But so is Martinez, which could make for a pretty good fight.
Finally, there’s that motivation thing. Somebody pokes you in the eye with a stick enough times, you tend to grow mean and surly. If Martinez has a chip on his shoulder, Cotto put it there and made it grow.
Still, on a recent conference call, Martinez wouldn’t say anything bad about Cotto. He said the time for talking is over. It’s close to fight time and he’s focused.
How focused? He doesn’t see the fight going 12 rounds. And he sounds pretty sure of himself.
“I know Cotto is working very hard for this fight (with trainer Freddie Roach),” Martinez said from his training camp in Miami. “But there is no doubt in my mind that this will definitely be his farewell fight to what was a great career.”
Even bad-mouthing Cotto, Martinez pays him a compliment.
If you’re looking for a tiebreaker, it might be size. Cotto, a healthy welterweight or junior-middle, is naturally smaller than most of the fighters Martinez has been facing as a middleweight. That’s why the two camps agreed on one of those convenient, silly, asinine catch-weights, this one at 159 pounds.
Fortunately, the catch-weight shouldn’t be a problem for either fighter, though I’m guessing there wouldn’t be a fight if there wasn’t a catch weight of some kind.
He’s a funny guy all right.