For years Sergio Martinez has been a shark circling the waters of the junior middleweight and middleweight divisions, calling out every fighter that could bring a substantial payday and enhance his legacy. Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, and Miguel Cotto, the top 3 draws in all of boxing paid no attention to the Argentine champion.
Martinez took the next best option, fighting the biggest fish he could. It took a year and a half to happen, but Martinez was able to secure a fight with the Boy Wonder, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Chavez promised him a significant monetary reward (with little added to his legacy.) Martinez’s age and experience allowed him to befuddle Chavez Jr and dazzle the crowd for 11 rounds. In the 12th round, a last ditch effort at… effort by Chavez Jr. sent a reckless Martinez to the canvas. Though Martinez would win the fight, the same age and experience that granted him victory backfired on him.
Martinez’s body began to break down. His next fight with Martin Murray was more of the same. The injury count: 2 broken hands, a torn menisicus, a broken femoral capsule, chondoromalacia patellae, torn cartilage, post-op infection, artheroscopic surgery, 8 stitches in his head, 2 staples in his head, and constant joint, knee, and shoulder pain.
Now, it appears that Miguel Cotto, who once ignored a challenge from Martinez, is the shark who smells blood in the water.
On June 7th, from Madison Square Garden, Sergio Martinez defends the WBC and lineal middleweight championship of the world against Miguel Cotto live on HBO pay-per-view.
Miguel Cotto was born for boxing. From a very young age he was surrounded by figures in the boxing community and as a result began training at a very young age in his hometown of Caguas, Puerto Rico. At the age of 17 he had developed into one of the top amateur boxers in the world. Cotto, through consistent exciting performances and a quiet confidence, has earned his spot as one of the top draws in all of boxing and one of the most sought after opponents from welterweight to middleweight.
Martinez is a famous ‘late-bloomer’ in the sport. He began boxing at the age of 22 after doing cycling and soccer (neither on a professional level.) After some success in Argentina, Martinez went to America to face Antonio Margarito. He came up short, went back to Argentina for a few more fights before ultimately skipping town in 2002. He left for Spain after being unhappy with the lack of opportunity he had found in Argentina.
In Spain he met his future surrogate trainer Pablo Sarmiento. It may have been fate. A guy in a nightclub gave Sergio a piece of paper with a phone number on it. The number belonged to Pablo. A young boxer himself, Pablo put Sergio in contact with his brother and trainer Gabi. Martinez called Gabi and began a partnership. Gabi would give Martinez jobs as a bouncer, a model, a boxing teacher, and a dishwasher. Gabi initially trained only his brother Pablo, but Pablo tricked Gabi into taking on Sergio. There began one of boxing’s most dynamic duos.