WBC middleweight champion Sergio Martinez has spoken out following questions surrounding the controversial sheath the Argentinian has been advised to wear on his suspect knee for his clash with Miguel Cotto.
Martinez was out for an extended period on the back of his victory over Martin Murray in April 2013 and has now been given special dispensation by the New York State Athletic Commission to use the protection on fight night.
Cotto and his trainer Freddie Roach have been vocal in speculating that Martinez is not 100% fit as he prepares to put his green belt on the line at Madison Square Garden, although ‘Maravilla’ has defended himself in fight week.
“There are no issues with the sheath I will be using for my knee. Once the commission saw what it actually was I was using, they were completely ok with it,” assured Martinez.
“It was very hard for me to come back from this, but I have an excellent team behind me, and more than that I have my ego and that is what drove me to get back to where I was before the injuries occurred.
“It is not easy to prepare for a fight when you have some of the ailments that I have when preparing for a World Championship fight. I struggle with joint pains, knee pain, and shoulder pain. Without my physical therapist, Dr. Raquel Bordons, I would not be able to train today, and probably would’ve had to retire due to my injuries.
“Because I train 6 days a week for an average of 8 hours a day, I am always in constant pain. There are some days when I am so sore that I cannot even walk but I push myself because I know that I have to push myself to be the best fighter in the world. I know that I have to put in more hours than your average fighter because I didn’t grow up a boxer. I started very late in this sport, so that is why I have to train so many hours and put in a lot of work in order to perform at the level that is expected of me and for me to come out victorious.
“I am totally 100% healthy. My doctor who is here with me told me that I only need to wear it as a precaution, so I am following my doctor’s orders. 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. I can assure you though that I am 100%. I am old, but not by that much.
“I will never stop doing what I do. 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 don’t know who brought up the issue about the sheath I am wearing on my knee. Whether it was the commission or Cotto’s team directly I am not sure. The only one who will pay for it though is Miguel Cotto on June 7th.
“I feel great, and you will see that come Saturday night.”
Promoter Lou DiBella has also felt compelled to give his view on Martinez’s preparation and fitness by questioning the motives behind the negativity towards the veteran sporting the leg attire.
“We got a request a couple months ago that we had to have Sergio get a MRI on both his knee and hand. It is interesting that this have never come up before in the past. It was the commission’s request though, and we abided by it. I commend David Berlin and the NYSAC though as he came to a very quick decision and determined that the sheath is ok for Sergio to wear on fight night.
“Do I think people were messing with us regarding the whole issue with the knee and sheath? Yes, absolutely.
“When watching Sergio train in Miami, Sergio was working with a young fighter and he was telling him to think with his feet. A lot of fighters miss this concept. Sergio has perfected it.”
Finally, Martinez pointed out that Cotto has lost three times in the not too distant past, and the 39 year-old is confident with the tactics he has been working on to face the three-weight world title holder.
“It is not only Austin Trout that made it a difficult fight for Cotto, but Mayweather and Pacquiao as well. We have looked at all of those fights, and picked up on different things that have worked against Cotto,” he said.
“My trainer Pablo Sarmiento has come up with a great game plan and you will see me execute it perfectly on Saturday night.”
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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