I confess, I have been a bit surprised at the number of people who are predicting a Sergio Martinez rubout, saying that the Argentine is going to whack Miguel Cotto around with the ugly stick, mercilessly, resulting in a stoppage win for the 39-year-old.
That's by no means a diss on Sergio...but I am mindful of the way his body has been betraying him the last few years, as it does us all if we are lucky enough to wake and soldier on another day. That said, when looking at the two men Friday, at the weigh in, Martinez looked a weight class larger to me, and yes, I do believe his strength edge, his size edge, could prove to be the difference-maker against a guy who I think left a measure of his power back at 140 pounds.
Anyway, Sergio looked in fine form, and that doesn't surprise me in the least, because he's fortunate enough to have superstar chef Chris Santos, who many of you Food Net watchers know from "Chopped," advising him on nutrition.
I checked in with Santos on Monday, as we both watched Martinez get a nice lather going during a media/fan appearance at Modells in Times Sq., NYC. Santos, it seems, is a mega fight fan. Like, borderline crazed. The restarauteur, who owns The Stanton Social as well as Beauty & Essex, both in NY's Lower East Side, got addicted to the sweet science "on my grandfathers' knee as a kid." He grew up in Providence, Rhode Island, and has been in NYC for twenty years now.
Santos, who has actually trained and sparred with pros a ton, knew grand-dad fought as a pro, and has fond memories of listening to Holmes-Cooney on the radio. He recalls the swirl of energy in his house when Larry Holmes and Ken Norton clashed, back in 1981. His office, he told me, is "a shrine to boxing," and he has every The Ring magazine from 1980 on, and has about a thousand fights on DVD.
So, basically, you know it's a distinct honor for him when Martinez pops in to one of his joints, and orders high-protein stuff, as he gets his body into fighting trim. Lots of egg whites, and fish, straightforward stuff for "Maravilla." But after the fight, presumably after getting the W, steak will be sizzling. Santos told me he was going to be tracking down the best cut of beef in the city for Martinez, to chow at the after party. Sergio will chomp a massive ribeye at Beauty & Essex, Santos said.
It's clear that this guy is simply digging what he does; the cooking scene and the fight game, he said, have some similarities, in that chefs do 12 hour days, and many see that grind as being like a 12 round fight.
Chef will be cheering on Sergio from the second row, camera side, on Saturday night. You know he's hoping Sergio chews up Cotto, and has his mug looking something like that ribeye, medium rare, by the end of the fight.
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