COTTO VS MARTINEZ: GENTLEMEN FOR NOW

By  Luis Vazquez

The Miguel Cotto-Sergio Martinez press conference at Madison Square Garden’s Chase Square was conducted with great class. We had the defending WBC and Ring Magazine World middleweight champion Sergio Martinez and three division world champion, Miguel Cotto. The fight is scheduled for June 7th at Madison Square Garden and once again a Cotto fight in New York where he has always been successful and has set records for boxing events at the Garden,.

The media turnout was quite vibrant with Puerto Rican and Argentine contingents present and heard. The conference though had a sense of history about it. Symbolically there was a passing of the torch from Jose Sulaiman, who passed IN January of this year, after ruling the World Boxing Council for 40 years, to his son, Mauricio. “This is the first fight that I am doing as President.” When they say the president of the WBC, I still look to see where my father is coming from.” Mauricio explained. “I will do, every single day, the best to honor the word and image of my father.”

A new WBC Belt with the late Sulaiman's  face, along with former champions, Sugar Ray Robinson, and Cotto and Martinez was shown off. Bob Arum was there for Top Rank, one of four promoters for this contest along with Lou DiBella Entertainment, Tecate, and Miguel Cotto Promotions. “I remember how important the Latin market was here.” Arum explained “We had Davey Moore who wanted to fight at the garden. We weren’t selling a lot of tickets. I went to a friend Carlos Varga. You know what, you’re an idiot, sell all the ads in Spanish and the Garden was sold out, but poor Davey from New York, saw most of the crowd yelling in Spanish and was knocked out for the Junior middleweight championship.”

Cotto spoke briefly in his sharp blue suit and tie. He spoke respectfully about his desire to become the first Puerto Rican boxer to win titles in four weight classes. “The real winners of this fight will be the fans.” Cotto said. Sergio, by contrast in his black turtleneck, looked very fit for 39. He spoke with typical confidence about what he would do to Cotto. Later on, he was analytical about the fight. “I feel I have the advantage because I have had more big game fights.” Martinez explained. “My experience will make the difference.”

They both did the classic stare down pose with Martinez slightly taller. He started to talk but quickly pulled away and joked and both hugged and shook hands in a great show of respect. The best line came during the speech of Cotto promoter Brian Perez, who while mentioning Cotto was hungry for this title was interrupted by a fan who exclaimed, “No he’s not, he’s a millionaire.” The crowd erupted in laughter to that. All in all it was a nice event to set up the big show.

Martinez, 51-2-2 with 28 KO’s will be defending his title against Miguel Cotto who at 33 may be a little shopworn, but usually fights at a higher level at the Garden. He comes in at 38-4 and 31 KO’s.