Sergio Martinez "would love to fight" three-division titlewinner Miguel Cotto on June 7 at Madison Square Garden in New York, but THE RING/WBC 160-pound champ says "I need to be treated with dignity" through his advisor, Sampson Lewkowicz.
Martinez (51-2-2, 28 knockouts), speaking from Buenos Aires, Argentina, responded in the wake of Cotto (38-4, 31 KOs) having publicly informed Puerto Rican media members on Monday "I want to go with Martinez."
"I will fight him, with no problem, on June 7, and I'm waiting for the negotiations to be finalized," said Martinez, who turns 39 in February. "I'm very interested in the fight, but I'm the champion and Cotto is the challenger. I would love to fight Cotto, but I need to be treated with dignity."
Cotto, who has fought at junior middleweight since 2010, looked sharp and powerful stopping fringe contender Delvin Rodriguez in the third round in October, and was offered a deal worth in excess of $10 million by Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer to face junior middleweight standout Canelo Alvarez.
Although he is "a free agent," according to his legal advisor, Gaby Penagaricano, Cotto both fought Mayweather and lost to Austin Trout in December of last year while working with Golden Boy Promotions.
But Cotto aligned with Golden Boy rival Top Rank for his fight with Rodriguez.
Penagaricano could not be reached for an immediate comment and a widely reported $15 million offer for Cotto to face Martinez has not been confirmed.
"Cotto is a superstar and Sergio respects [him.] He deserves this fight," said DiBella. "But the champion is Sergio, and [he wants] to be treated as such.
At the time, Arum said he had no knowledge of a $15 million offer to Cotto, adding that his stepson, Top Rank President, Todd duBoef, was handling the Cotto-Martinez negotiations.
On Monday, however, Arum expressed satisfaction in the wake of Cotto's public statements about a potential bout with Martinez, according to elnuevodia.com.
"It's great news," said Arum, in part. "Sure to be a great show and one of the best fights of 2014."
In a text to RingTV.com, Nathan Lewkowicz, son of Sampson, indicated that talks are ongoing.
"Nothing confirmed with Cotto yet," wrote Nathan Lewkowicz. "DiBella is still negotiating many, many details with Todd and Gaby."
DiBella is similarly optimistic.
"Miguel wants the fight. Sergio wants the fight. Top Rank wants the fight. I appreciate Cotto," said DiBella. "I have a good relationship with Gaby and always negotiated smoothly with Todd. So I see no obstacle that prevents a satisfactory agreement for all."
Over the course of his last three fights, Martinez had to rise from the canvas during an 11th-round stoppage of Matthew Macklin as well as each of his past two unanimous decision victories over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Martin Murray.
After the Chavez fight, during which he regained the WBC's belt, Martinez received eight stitches to repair a cut over his left eye, two staples in his head, and suffered from both a broken left hand and torn ligaments in his right knee, the latter of which required surgery to repair.
Martinez required a second surgery after having damaged the knee injury, later determined to be a torn right meniscus, after his triumph over Murray.
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org