Sergio Martinez has admitted that suffering defeat to Antonio Margarito in his first foray into world-class in 2000 made the Argentinian re-evaluate his career and make the necessary changes to turn himself into a champion.
The 39 year-old was stopped in seven rounds against the hardened Mexican at the Mandalay Bay on Erik Morales v Marco Antonio Barrera I, before returning home, rebuilding and embarking on a nine-year unbeaten streak until he ran into an in-form Paul Williams.
“My loss to Margarito was probably the best thing that happened to me. It humbled me and made me realize that this is a serious sport and I needed to mature as a fighter and as a person,” said Martinez.
“It also made me realize that I needed to change. I had to cut out the negative people that surrounded me at that time and find people that would be positive for my career.
“I knew that I would return to Vegas and be a champion after that loss because I had the desire to be a champion and was willing to put the time and effort to get to that level.”
‘Maravilla’ is now widely recognised as the best middleweight in the world down to his achievements over the past half decade, with the late bloomer attempting to cling on to what time he has left at the top in his advancing years against Cotto.
“I never would’ve imagined reaching this level of notoriety. That has to be attributed to my current team of Sampson Lewkowicz, Miguel Angel Depablos and Nathan Lewkowicz who have worked very hard in furthering my career. Without having a solid team behind you then it would be difficult to get to this level and sustain it,” he added.
Cotto vs. Martinez happens Saturday, June 7 live on pay-per-view beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. The fight is also live on BoxNation in the UK. Subscribe at BoxNation