By Chester Rivers: There’s a saying in boxing that every great fighter has at least one great fight left in them. This was evident when Shane Mosley blasted a red hot Antonio Margarito, George Foreman knocked out Michael Moorer, Bernard Hopkins shuts out Kelly Pavlik and last night when Miguel Cotto dominates Sergio Martinez.
The underlying question coming into last night was “which of these two past their prime fighters would look the oldest?” That question was answered almost immediately by Martinez. Sergio didn’t have the familiar bounce in his step or shoulders. The spry smile that he normally displays was absent replaced with the tension and stress that comes with age.
It looked as though it was over before either fighter exited the locker room. Martinez’s mobility and awkwardness that made him a danger and fan favorite was gone as he crumbled to the canvas in submissive state three times in the first round. The Miguel Cotto of old would have smelled blood and finished Martinez but this is the 2014 version of the exhausted warrior Cotto who played it cautious and stuck to the planned attack.
What was the Freddie Roach effect? Roach, in my opinion, is not a master trainer but a master handicapper of fights. Most of the fighters he trains always demands certain request that’s to their advantage and it’s seemingly against opponents who do not have the star power to trump their demands. Case in point, Manny Pacquiao always demands that opponents play by his rules in regards to weight or regulated testing. Floyd Mayweather Jr. held the bigger trump card over Pacquiao and the fight was off. Sergio Martinez had several complaints about Cotto’s demands leading up to this fight. Cotto himself stated that he was the “A” side and Martinez was the “B” side during HBO taping of Face off.
Freddie Roach also knows which fighters to pick and when to catch them at the right time. There’s a Youtube video of Roach being interviewed by Radio Rahim of Seconds Out when he [Roach] admits to preferring Danny Garcia to fight Pacquiao rather than Ruslan Provodnikov because Ruslan is a tougher fighter with one punch knock out power. Coming into this fight Saul “Canelo” Alvarez offered Cotto a guaranteed 10 million dollars and the PPV would have been bigger.
Cotto and Roach opted to take less money to face the much more vulnerable, aging and inactive Martinez who haven’t fought in nearly a year and a half and was injured and not that impressive in his last fight rather than fight the young Mexican with the bigger that looked impressive in his last fight. Was Roach and Cotto afraid that the cinnamon haired Mexican might have rained on their Puerto Rican Day parade?
Styles make fights and fights make legends. Cotto put on a historic performance that was legendary but not surprising