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Cotto is the legitimate middleweight champion!

martinez2222By Bob Smith: My first reaction to the Martinez-Cotto fight, like many others is: wow! How could Miguel Cotto (39-4, 32 KO’s) be so dominant? How could he knock down WBC middleweight champion Sergio Martinez (51-3-2, 28 KO’s) three times in the first round, when Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. could not do this in 11 rounds? Why was it that Martinez was not able to hurt Cotto significantly even once? And what was behind that massive left hook early in the first round that sent Martinez flying, from which he never fully recovered, in that round or after it?

I think first and before anything, we have to give Cotto his due. This version of Cotto would have defeated Martinez if he had fought Martinez at the time of Matthew Macklin and Darrin Barker. It would not have been a blow out, and he would not have gotten four knockdowns, but this version of Cotto would have caused Martinez enough problems to control the action. While it is true that Sergio used speed, movement, and power defeat the much larger and slower middleweights Pavlik and Cesar Chavez Jr., he never faced a ring technician with experience against true superstar competition as Cotto had. Yes, Macklin faced Felix Sturm, but there is no question that this Cotto would have defeated Matthew Macklin or Darrin Barker. This Cotto was powerful, cut off the ring, was quick and very accurate, followed his game plan well, and showed masterful defense. While this Cotto would likely lose against Pavlik and would definitely lose against Chavez Jr., he would defeat the small and national class (as opposed to world class) middleweights.

Before the Sergio Martinez hysteria, during which I was actually wrong about this decline in several articles, not just my most recent, one, I stated that Cotto would be a good match for Alvarez, but would edge him out due to superior technique and ring generalship:

I stand by this prediction after both of them had dominant wins this year.

though I obviously I was quite wrong about Sergio dominating Cotto:

Yes, it is true that Martinez was not fully recovered from his knee injuries and perhaps his shoulder and hand injuries also. But Martinez definitely underestimated Cotto – who would have thought that Cotto would bring such power up to 160? And who would have thought he would be so fresh and precise after all of the wars that he has been in with Margarito and Pacquaio and others? You have to give credit to Freddie Roach for making him the best Cotto he can possibly be. But how was it that Martinez was not able to significantly hurt Cotto in 9 rounds of boxing? He had enough power to hurt Chavez, and even a Martinez with imperfect knees I though would be able to hurt Cotto seriously.

The conclusion to draw from this fight is that Cotto is the legitimate lineal middleweight champion of the world. Would he stand a chance against GGG? I don’t think so. Will he even fight GGG? Probably not. Would he lose to Curtis Stevens or Peter Quillin? Almost certainly. But can he beat most other top middleweights, including Marco Antonio Rubio, Matthew Macklin, Felix Sturm, Adama, and others – I say this version of Miguel Cotto can.

So, for now we will anticipate the winner of Lara vs. Alvarez fighting Cotto, unless Cotto fights Marco Antonio Rubio or Sam Soliman first. A Golovkin Cotto fight would look a lot like the Golovkin-Rosado fight, so while I still view Golovkin as the top middleweight, until he beats Cotto, Cotto inherits the middleweight crown, and in any case has become the first Puerto Rican fighter to win titles in four divisions!

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