Bad blood in Martinez-Cotto matchup
NEW YORK (AP) — The upcoming fight between Miguel Cotto and Sergio Martinez does not need hype.
These fighters don’t like each other and the prefight banter this week is just stirring up the bad blood between them.
Cotto and Martinez held conference calls Thursday to discuss their June 7 world middleweight championship fight at Madison Square Garden.
“The judges are not going to have to do that much work on (that night) because this fight is definitely not going the distance,” said Martinez, the WBC champion.
Due to an injury, Martinez (51-2-2) hasn’t fought since defeating Martin Murray on April 27, 2013. Through an interpreter, Martinez said he “hasn’t felt this good in a long time.”
That’s physically. Emotionally, he holds plenty of animosity for Cotto (39-4).
According to promoter Lou DiBella, the Martinez camp had to make “concessions” to Cotto in order to get the fight signed.
“This was not an easy negotiation,” DiBella said. “We had to swallow some stuff we didn’t want to swallow.”
According to DiBella, those concessions included the fight being contested at 159 pounds; having to surrender top billing; and the photo placement of Martinez on the fight poster.
DiBella noted that Cotto was in the room when the demands were made, and believes the fighter was the driving force behind the “annoying” allowances. DiBella then stressed that Martinez is “fixated on giving Cotto a beating at Madison Square Garden.”
“The reality is this is a huge fight,” DiBella said. “This is in the biggest arena, the most famous arena in the world. It’s against the most proven pay-per-view fighter he’s ever fought, the biggest name fighter he’s ever fought. So in terms of Sergio’s legacy, I’m not going to pretend: This fight is huge.”
Not solely for Martinez. Should Cotto win, he will become a world champion in four weight classes. Previously, Cotto was the WBA super welterweight champion, the WBO welterweight belt holder, and the WBO light welterweight champ.
“We’re going to win this fight,” Cotto said. “I know what I’m capable of June 7.”
And what is that, exactly? Implementation of a power game.
Cotto and trainer Freddie Roach concede Martinez is taller at 5-foot-10 (1.78 meters) — Cotto is 5-7 (1.7 meters) —but think they’ll be able to get inside on the WBC champion.
“I don’t worry about his style. I worry about myself,” Cotto said. “I train for 12 rounds. I train for 12 hard rounds. I train for war.”