“Cotto isn't going to make it to the ninth round,” - Sergio Martinez.
When I first heard this fight was going to take place I thought Martinez is going to kill Cotto. When you look at the overall skill of the two men Martinez is clearly the faster and stronger boxer. In the past when Cotto had these big fights he always came out on the losing end. Martinez on the other hand won the big fights when they came his way.
Bad Blood Driving Martinez Ahead of Cotto Fight
Cotto has hired Freddie Roach as his trainer. Roach's abilities to turn a struggling fighter around are legendary. He's been in the opposite corner as Pacquiao's trainer against Cotto. Going into that fight he studied Cotto, and he knows the strengths and weaknesses of his new fighter. I believe this gives Cotto a chance that I didn't originally think about.
How Roach Has Resurrected Cotto's Career
Freddie Roach is an incredible trainer. He was voted trainer of the year six times. (2003, 2006, 2008, 2009,2010 and 2013) Roach has trained 27 world champions and he gives Cotto a chance to upset the heavily favored Martinez.
Sergio Martinez: Keys to Victory
Martinez is one of the best middleweight fighters of this era. Most of the time he came in the smaller fighter and he always found a way to win. His style is predicated on being the faster puncher. He fights with his hands down at the waist. It's designed to lull his opponents into a false sense of security, and then he beats them to the punch. Half the time he catches them for the knockout, but if he fails to deliver the KO he manages to beat them to the punch and on the scorecards.
Having the hands low will prevent Cotto from landing the body shots that could win him the fight. There will be plenty of countering opportunities for Martinez as Cotto has trouble defending the middle. Floyd Mayweather picked him apart with counter punches. Martinez should be able to do something similar on Saturday night. If Cotto come right at him then Martinez will pick him apart. Martinez knows how to control the ring and get the right kind of spacing and gets his opponents in awkward angles where he destroys them.
1) Keep the Proper Distance - Cotto likes to fight on the inside and goes to the body very well. At the right distance he won't be able to do what he wants.
2) Use the Jab - Martinez has the ability to pick fighters of with a straight left, and doesn't always have to set it up with the jab. I think he can find Cotto with the jab.
3) Put Cotto on the Ropes - Miguel Cotto is willing to lay against the ropes and take a beating. If Martinez can get him there then that KO prediction may happen early in the fight.
Miguel Cotto: Keys to Victory
Martinez fights with his hands down. He relies on his legs to get him out of trouble, and those legs are suspect. Cotto should pressure him and force him to move around. He can't forget to use good defense but he needs to test the weak knee. Martinez will have his hands low, so there will be plenty of opportunities to throw some punches. Cotto must get inside Martinez's punching range. If he gets caught on the outside he will not find success with Martinez.
1) Defense - I know Freddie Roach has worked diligently with Cotto on his defense. If he's going to find success he'll need his defense at top form.
2) Test the Knee - It was announced that Martinez was not going to be allowed to use his knee brace. So the knee is bad and he wanted to protect it. Cotto has to test the knee.
3) Stay Off the Ropes - Cotto has a habit of going to the ropes to escape danger or get a break, but he cannot do that against Martinez if expects to win.
Most boxing fans believe that Martinez is going to easily beat Cotto, but with Freddie Roach in his corner Cotto has a chance. His defense has been improved upon I'm sure of that, and he'll need to keep the damage to a minimum as he gets inside with Martinez. We all know Cotto can bang on the inside and provided a chance I think he'll try going to the body.
If the knee holds out for Martinez then Cotto has little to no chance. I believe Martinez will consistently beat Cotto to the punch. If he keeps him outside at the end of his punches then Cotto may lose this one by KO. Sergio is a smooth operator and can make Cotto do things he doesn't want to do. If he moves into the good punching angles he's known for Cotto is in trouble.
Both fighters have been in there with the best. Cotto has faced some of the best fighters in a losing effort. Martinez has shined in his big fights and that includes a brutal knockout of Paul Williams in 2010. Cotto has fought Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, Shane Mosley, and Showtime's Paulie Malignaggi. They've both been battle tested.
Martinez by KO in the 7th round.