There was no need for a decision, judges counting scorecards or controversy as Miguel Cotto pummeled Sergio Martinez into submission, winning The Ring and WBC Middleweight titles from the Argentine, knocking him down four times during the fight and winning with a 10th round Referee Technical Decision.
It wasn’t the referee that stopped the fight – it was Martinez’ corner. Pablo Sarmiento, his trainer, wouldn’t let him continue, as the bell for the 10th round was already heard, but Martinez remained sitting on his stool. Referee Michael Griffin probably thought about stopping the fight a lot earlier, but finally got the go ahead to stop an entertaining, but completely one sided bout between two great champions.
Martinez has had two surgeries done to his knee, and it showed. Suddenly, he looked every bit of his 39 years. He didn’t keep his right hand up, which meant left hooks and body shots from Miguel Cotto all fight long. It has worked for Martinez in the past. Taking shots, getting cut, even knocked down to the ground before coming back with some stunning boxing. But after 14 months without fighting and his knee simply not allowing him to move like he used to, there was no chance his risky approach would work against a quality fighter like Cotto.
Cotto becomes the first Puero Rican fighter to win a title belt in four different weight classes, surpassing Wilfred Benitez, Wilfredo Gomez and Felix Trinidad, who are all hall of famers. He knocked down Martinez three times in the first round which almost got us a very early stoppage and knocked Martinez down for a fourth time in the ninth round, which probably was the final straw that ended the fight in terms of Martinez’ corner.
Cotto fought with Freddie Roach in his corner for only the second time. It’s been a rough couple of years for Cotto, who lost to Floyd Mayweather and followed that with a loss to Austin Trout, which made him change his approach and trainers. He took nearly one year off before beating Delvin Rodríguez with an impressive 3rd round TKO, and preparing well for the next eight months before appearing in front his home fans in Madison Square Garden.
Cotto landed 54% of his punches, connecting with 212 of them. Martinez wasn’t even close, connecting 100 times with only 31% accuracy. He didn’t try to make this about his knee after the fight. He conceded that since getting knocked down in the first round, he simply couldn’t get back into the fight, and was pretty much fighting against getting knocked out for the next nine rounds, although it didn’t work well for him according to how his face looked by the time it was over.
Maybe its the Middleweight class, or maybe it’s simply being with a new trainer. Miguel Cotto looked fresh and sharp all through the fight, very different than his previous big time appearance against Austin Trout. It wasn’t just the home fans that brought Cotto to look like the guy from before the pummeling he took against Antonio Margarito (the first fight) and Manny Pacquiao, but simply boxing a lot better than before.
What’s interesting now is his next fight. It seems like Top Rank and Golden Boy are no longer in a feud, as Bob Arum and Oscar De La Hoya are getting a little bit chummy. It means it is time to start considering fights between guys from both promotions. The names of Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin, although no one wants to fight the latter. Alvarez is fighting in July and Cotto will likely fight next in December. This year it probably won’t be something huge. Next year? More likely.