Martinez will easily TKO/KO Cotto within 9 rounds
by Bob Smith: How anyone could pick Miguel Cotto over Sergio Martinez without actually working for Cotto or being Puerto Rican is beyond me. Martinez possesses nearly every single advantage – speed, power, athleticism, technique, experience, size, skill, and so on. Martinez has faced better opponents than Cotto with the exception of Mayweather and Pacquiao, two fighters who Cotto lost to. And he has done so being the smaller man, but the harder puncher.
The plan for Cotto appears to be to come in and bludgeon the body of Martinez and throw a lot of left hooks, but the jab of Martinez, along with his movement, power, and quick in and out combinations, will completely frustrate and wear down Cotto. For me it is almost unthinkable either that Cotto wins or that the fight even goes the distance. So, I’ll devote the rest of the article to trying to understand why Cotto is relatively overrated coming into this fight, and Martinez is relatively underrated. I’m not exactly sure why anyone thinks of this fight as potentially being close, but here are my suggestions:
(1) Recency bias/improvement of Cotto/fading of Martinez – If there were any potentially valid reason to see the fight as anything other than an easy TKO/KO for Martinez, it would be in this family of reasons. Recency bias is usually a poor betting strategy, but there are times when it can be valid – for example, Roy Jones was a much lesser fighter later in his career than in his early career and in his prime. Some argue that Martinez is about to be exposed in a similar way, but I highly doubt this, and until it does happen, he is the legitimate linear middleweight champion. More mundane applications of this “theory” for example, that Bradley will defeat Pacquiao because Tim Bradley defeated Marquez who defeated Pacquiao; or Angulo will knock down Saul “Canelo” Alvarez because he did so several times to Lara, who has better movement; or Guerrero or Maidana will defeat or be major threats to Mayweather because of impressive previous performances, typically fails in spectacular fashion. In fact, Mayweather understands this principle quite well, which is why for the past 6-7 years he has made very good money blasting would be A-level fighters back to the B-level they belong after the fighter has had the biggest win of their career – see Victor Ortiz, Robert Guerrero, Marcos Maidana, etc. Cotto is a good fighter, but Delvin Rodriguez is nowhere near the level of Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather – of course Cotto will look to be in his prime/vastly improved against Rodriguez. Since there is no evidence of the injuries to the knee of Sergio Martinez being permanent or debilitating, and since the other members of this family of reasons is invalid, really none of these reasons should provide a rationale for a Cotto upset.
(2) Cultural Imperialism against Martinez /popularity of Cotto – this two-pronged reason provides for me the best rationale of why some pick the fight to be close, or some even favor Cotto. As far as cultural imperialism, American and/or English speaking fighters will always have the popularity and media advantage in a big money fight on American TV and be relatively underrated – this extends to the Klitschkos, because although they speak English they are more comfortable in German, and are German-based fighters; Maidana, who gave Mayweather the toughest fight he has had in years, and maybe ever, was an exclusive Spanish-speaking; and Martinez also exclusively and stubbornly speaks Spanish only. These are only a few examples, I’m sure the reader can think of more – Marquez actually qualifies in the category in his rivalry with Pacquiao for instance, for he is a Spanish-speaking person with strong ties to Mexico. The reason for this is not only the need to appeal to an American audience, but also that the major promoters and network management view these regions as rival regions – the EU or the Russian autocracy or the Vatican-dominated Latin America – and do not have nearly the media and political pull there that they do in the US. I”m a fluent Spanish speaker, so I can pick up on these things more than most – I am able to understand the media from both sides and in both languages. Hence, a foreign born fighter like Gennady Golovkin or Pacquiao can be very popular by moving to the US and learning English, because the Kazakh or Philippine media infrastructure will never be a realistic threat to HBO or Showtime like a German or Russian or Pan-Latin American channel would be. And on the positive side, there are a lot more Puerto Ricans than Argentinians in New York and in the US, and as Miguel Cotto is a great fighter, he has much more of a fan base than a Martinez. As big a fan as I am of Martinez, he should be the B side fighter, because it will be Cotto who will bring the fans in to MSG.
(3) Underestimation of Martinez – this is the most surprising one for me to even have to discuss or explain, as amazing as Martinez has been over the past 5-6 years, but I feel the need to do so, especially given a foolish recent article that said that Cotto has a chance, and another one that parroted the propaganda of Freddie Roach. If Miguel Cotto were foolish enough to pay me to train him, I would be perfectly willing to say he was way stronger than Chavez and will crush Martinez, but that does not make it any more true. Martinez has accomplished some truly amazing things – his KO of iron-chinned Paul Williams was amazing; he made Sergey Dzinziruk, who had never been knocked down as an amateur or a professional, look like a little girl; he demolished a much bigger Kelly Pavlik; he beat solid world-class British fighters, and of course he truly beat up Chavez for 11 rounds. Cotto has never done a single thing as impressive in his own weight, much less against a bigger middleweight. Cotto does not have the power, speed, technique, or experience to handle Martinez. Even Floyd has run from Martinez at 154 for 4-5 years, and his father has stated openly that Martinez will crush Floyd, because he is too big and too strong. Now Martinez-Golovkin is a good fight between rough equals, and maybe it will take place, but Martinez-Cotto is a big paycheck for both, and another world champion down for Martinez. Canelo would have a much better chance against Martinez, and I think that it is likely we will see this fight before we see Golovkin-Martinez, for many reasons, but again Cotto-Martinez as a competition is not even worth discussing seriously, except only to speculate on the dynamics of reasons for underrated/overrated boxers.
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