Sergio Martinez looked an aged fighter at Madison Square Garden as the Argentinian was systematically taken apart by Puerto Rican star Miguel Cotto in surrendering his WBC middleweight title.
The 39 year-old, who has been through several surgeries on injuries to his knee and shoulder during fourteen months of activity, was spectacularly put down three times in the first round as Martinez struggled with get out of the way of Cotto’s bombs.
Left hooks reigned in at veteran Martinez, whose knee’s were protected by sheaths, as ‘Maravilla’ barely made it through the round with Cotto pummelling him around all four corners of the ring.
Another good round for Cotto followed, and what looked to be a fourth knockdown, although referee Michael Griffin failed to score it and Martinez was spared a further 10-8 round on the back of the 10-6 first.
Martinez had all his senses back in the third and did pretty well in the session, but Cotto came right back in the fourth and clocked the champion twice with punishing left hooks. The fight wasn’t even at the halfway point and Martinez was already needing a knockout to retain his title, but just could not generate the power in his punches to keep Cotto off due to the fragility of his legs.
Cotto, 33, was relentless coming forward and stalking Martinez for the next couple of rounds and held a massive advantage heading into the second half of the contest on my scorecard. A hard right in the seventh had Martinez rocked again as Cotto stayed in complete control – showing all the determination needed to claim that fourth weight world title.
A closer eighth lead into a Cotto-dominated ninth as ‘Junito’ hurt Martinez on more than one occasion to further cement his superiority in the fight. Towards the end of the round, a straight left saw Martinez apparently touch down and Griffin gave him a standing eight count – the fourth knockdown in total.
As soon as Martinez sat on his stool after stumbling to the corner, his team decided they had seen enough though and stopped the fight before the start of the tenth round, declaring Cotto the new 160lb title holder.
Dream achieved, Cotto celebrated his defining night and a fifth championship in four weight divisions as Martinez is left to contemplate retirement due to the fact that his body doesn’t seem able to cope with the demands of the sport anymore.
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