|Hall of Fame Weekend for Cotto in New York|
Sergio Martinez was violently mugged in New York City by a Puerto Rican assassin named Miguel Cotto. The culprit made off with his WBC World Middleweight Championship belt at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night in the flower district, perhaps a fitting location for Cotto's pink ring attire and Martinez with his, shall we say, Maravilla-ness. Cotto put the "diva" issue to bed on his ring walk to challenge Martinez by being the first of the pair to do it, with no pre-walk introduction, and no music. Martinez then appeared and was introduced second as is boxing tradition for defending champions. Who's the diva now should be the question on the lips of critics who dismissed Cotto as a faded prima donna with too many "A-Side" demands, including top billing and a silly 159-pound catchweight.
|Looks can be deceiving|
Yet even more truth is the undeniable fact that Martinez is a broken fighter at 39 years of age. His late blossoming career now looks to be in serious peril, if not totally finished. The athletic cyclist-turned-pugilist finally pushed himself too hard and the crash was a gruesome spectacle, one that was hard to turn away from. Out of gloved competition for nearly a year and a half with myriad injuries, Martinez finally flipped himself over his handlebars and damn near broke every bone in his body. Not unlike my first used car, a 1976 Olds Cutlass Supreme with the standard stroke 350 Rocket under the hood, this little Argentine engine that could, can't. Not anymore. The whole exhaust system fell off, the brakes are grinding metal, and the transmission fluid leak—is massive.
There might not be a mechanic in the world who can put Martinez, 51-3-2, 28 KOs, back together now.
|Dressed in pink, Cotto makes off with the green belt|
At 33, Cotto, 39-4, 32 KOs, is apparently reborn under the training and motivational techniques of Roach. "I lost to Martinez with Chavez Jr but this time I had the right guy in Miguel. Ring generalship is a lost art in boxing. I never thought Martinez was a very good boxer," said the trainer responsible for preparing Cotto's plans.
|Quién es mas Macho Maravilla?|
It hardly mattered. Cotto was busting up Martinez real bad and Sarmiento could see it clearly.
In the end, what Martinez really needed was compassion in his own corner and he was lucky to find it there, even if he was unlucky in every other way on this late night at Madison Square Garden. That's the thing about muggings, when they're done by real professionals, they're fast and furious, leaving the target disoriented and confused. Done right, you never see it coming. After three first-round knockdowns, Martinez was, as the late great Puerto Rican trash talker Hector Camacho once said of a bewildered opponent—"on Queer Street trying to pick up a fag."
Classy promoter Lou DiBella addressed the media on behalf of his beaten ex-champion, ensuring the skeptical New York City boxing press corp that it was the knockdowns Martinez couldn't recover from, not an injury, or even an excuse.
Quiet Top Rank promoter Bob Arum wore the look of a man who knew this moment would surely come.
|WBA champ GGG looks ready for the B-Side in NYC|
With the promotional skids now greased up good between Arum and Oscar De La Hoya, the fight is just a peace pipe away. I can see the promotional posters now: Top Rank vs Golden Boy for the middleweight championship of the world, but which promoter plays the A-side to a T and who settles for the B?
KO Digest Credentialed Ringside Report by Jeffrey Freeman