2014: The year of Sergio Martinez
By Bob Smith: Since the fight between Miguel Cotto and Sergio Martinez has been signed for June 7, various commentators have begun to make predictions about the outcome. Really, all of it depends on the degree to which his knee is a problem and the extent to which he has aged in the ring. The last round of his fight with Julio Ceasar Chavez Jr. was a costly war, and anyone who witnessed his match with Martin Murray, where he barely squeaked by with a hometown decision, can attest to the fact that he was not the same Sergio Martinez on that night.
And of course, the open question is which Sergio Martinez will show up – the explosive one from 2009 to late 2012, that rocked Paul Williams, defeated Martin Murray and Darren Barker and totally outclassed Julio Caesar Chavez Jr. for 11 rounds until he succumbed to an unwise slugfest, or the much diminished recipient of a barely deserved decision against Martin Murray.
I argue that nearly all of the old Sergio Martinez will be back on June 7, and that he will completely outclass Miguel Cotto. Here are the reasons: first, when he fought Martin Murray, his knee did not have time to heal, and it was raining and wet that night, and also, most importantly, Martin Murray is the best defensive fighter in the division and at least as good as Matthew Macklin, if not as good as Darrin Barker, and maybe better than both. Second, Miguel Cotto did have a good comeback victory against basically a weak opponent in Delvin Rodriguez, but he was thoroughly outclassed by Austin Trout, and Sergio Martinez is a much better fighter than Trout. Moreover, Sergio Martinez will have the height, weight, reach, jab, mobility, defensive, and just about every other advantage against Cotto. Yes, it is true that Miguel Cotto is a Hall of Fame fighter, but as a junior middleweight, welterweight, and junior welterweight. He simply lacks the power to hurt Martinez, the speed to bother him, or the defensive skill to adapt to the unorthodox style of Martinez.
Why I am I seemingly the only one that can see this clearly? Miguel Cotto cannot compete with the best middleweight fighter in the world, and that is Sergio Martinez. While Miguel Cotto may score a knockdown or two if he is very skilled and/or Sergio Martinez is careless I see no possible outcome other than a clear UD win for Sergio Martinez.
Here then is where it gets interesting. Sergio Martinez will easily defeat Miguel Cotto and then will be willing to take on a game and very ready Gennady Golovkin in a middleweight superfight somewhere in the fall. He will not listen to the advice of his promoters and managers and will demand the Golovkin fight.
And he will wear Golovkin down and outbox him to win. How will he do it? He will do it in the same way that he defeated Julio Ceaser Chavez Jr., circling around the ring, jabbing, landing the left hand, and quickly moving out of harm’s way. Let us recall a couple of things before this is easily dismissed: first Sergei Dzinziruk was also never knocked down or out professionally or in the amateurs, but Sergio Martinez knocked him down five times in a TKO win. Also, Golovkin does not have anywhere near the handspeed of Sergio Martinez, and his defense leaves much to be desired. Curtis Stevens rocked him several times, and Adama was able to keep him at bay for several rounds with his long jab and movement. And Adama, while a world class fighter, is nowhere near a prime Sergio Martinez in skill. Also, if you have watched Gennady Golovkin’s fights carefully, though his conditioning is strong, he does tire after a few rounds, and by the time he gets to Sergio Martinez late in the fight, though he may knock him down once or twice, the punches of Golovkin will not have the sting that they might have in the first six or seven rounds. Finally, Golovkin has never really been tested against the best middleweights in the world – I accept that Barker and Sturm and Murry and Quillin and Geale have avoided him like the plague as he contends, but none of these fighters are as good as Sergio Martinez. In sum, though Golovkin clearly has more power than Sergio Martinez, Martinez can use his speed, power, movement and unorthodox angles and style to frustrate Golovkin en route to a UD victory.
This brings up part 3 of 2014 for Sergio Martinez. After he defeats Cotto clearly and gets a hard fought but convincing UD win against Gennady Golovkin, there is only one fight that he will demand: Floyd Mayweather at 154. And the public outcry will be so great that Mayweather will be forced to take it. After all, he will be fighting a 40 year old man, or someone close to it! And in mid-2015, I say that Sergio Martinez vs Floyd Mayweather at 154 will be a toss up.
Of this I am sure, however, Sergio Martinez will defeat Miguel Cotto. And if he defeats Miguel Cotto handily, as I think he will, it is very realistic that he takes on Gennady Golovkin, and very possible that he wins. And then, finally, a showdown for Mayweather with a true champion at 154. In any case, after his two fights of 2014, Sergio Martinez should be ranked #3 on the pound for pound list by the end of the year.