Miguel Cotto will look to win a world title in his fourth weight class, as he faces Sergio Martinez on Saturday night. The Ring and WBC middleweight belts will both be on the line.
It won’t be easy for Cotto to become the first ever Puerto Rican four-division champ. He knocked out Delvin Rodriguez in October, but lost to Austin Trout by unanimous decision 10 months earlier. Upon his return to Madison Square Garden, Cotto is expected to come up short.
The betting odds favor Martinez, who’s been given a moneyline of -225 at Bovada.lv. As the underdog, Cotto’s odds have been set at +175.
Martinez’s latest bouts make him the easy choice to be pegged as the favorite. He hasn’t lost since 2009, defeating the likes of Martin Murray and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in his last two fights.
The recent injury history of the Martinez, though, leaves the door open for an upset. In his victory against Murray in April of last year, the champ suffered a broken hand and torn ligaments in his knee. Martinez had gotten the same injuries in his previous fight, and he’s been to undergo knee surgery after each bout.
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The 39-year-old contends that he is completely healthy, but his age and injury history have some questioning how much can be expected of him.
"I am getting asked the same questions over and over again about my knee, and I know that the media is just doing their job," Martinez said at Wednesday's press conference. "I can assure you, though, that I am 100 perc ent. I am old, but not by that much."
"Right now I am just the same as when there were no knee problems. I have overcome all obstacles. It has been very painful and I have suffered a lot, but to be the best, these are the type of things that you have to go through and sacrifice. I feel great, and you will see that come Saturday night."
Whether Martinez is healthy or not, Cotto’s trainer doesn’t think his boxer will have much of a problem. Just days before the bout, Freddie Roach predicted a fourth-round knockout for Cotto.
“He has no defense,” Roach said of Martinez, via the Boxing Channel. “His hands are low, he’s so easy to hit. He’s a great athlete, but he’s not a great boxer. I got the way better boxer.
Despite what Roach, says Martinez has proven himself to be the better boxer. Cotto has more punching power, with 31 of his 38 career victories coming by knockout. He could get the victory if he lands one or two power punches at the right time, but his lack of speed will hurt him against Martinez.
As long as the champ isn’t hindered by his old injuries, he should be able to use his quickness and athleticism to get the victory.
Prediction: Martinez by unanimous decision