Ahead of this weekend’s history-making middleweight world title clash between Sergio Martinez and Miguel Cotto, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum has given WBN his views on the imminent fight.
The respected promoter, who looks after the affairs of Manny Pacquiao, Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez, amongst others, is expecting a close battle between the pair as Puerto Rico meets Argentina in a 159lb grudge match.
Three-weight world title holder Cotto and current WBC 160lb champion Martinez have had plenty to say in the build-up – on the back of awkward back and forth negotiations to finally get the fight made, and Arum says it all adds to the spectacle that is set to go off at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night.
“Cotto has the ‘A’ promotional side because he has an enormous following, particularly with Puerto Ricans,” Arum told WBN over the phone this week.
“He was irritated by Martinez who was saying he should get more of the accolades as he is the champion, the middleweight champion. That started the animosity and it has continued throughout the promotion.
“Regarding the catchweight, the 159lbs limit was something just to get under Martinez skin. Martinez felt disrespected and I think that is going to make it a more intense and interesting fight on Saturday.”
There has been plenty of talk of the weight issue since the solitary pound stipulation was announced for the bout, with some suggesting that Cotto will have a considerable size disadvantage against Martinez on fight night, something Arum decidedly disagrees with.
“I think Martinez has always been a small middleweight so I can’t see it being a factor,” said the 82 year-old.
On the PPV side, Arum’s understudy Todd DuBoef said that there is no pressure on Cotto v Martinez to make over one million buys, although Arum is of the belief that the fight has lots of potential to do good business.
“I think the pay-per-view is going to do very, very well. At least that’s what HBO is telling us,” he stated.
“It looks like it will do extraordinarily well as far as buys are concerned, primarily because Cotto is a big pay-per-view star,” added Arum.
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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