HBO has provided a training blog taken from an interview with Sergio Martinez in advance of the RING/WBC middleweight champ's June 7 title defense against Miguel Cotto at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Martinez (51-2-2, 28 knockouts), who turned 39 in February, is 35-1-1 with 22 knockouts since being stopped in the seventh round by Antonio Margarito in February 2000.
The Argentine veteran has been champion for four years since defeating Kelly Pavlik by unanimous decision in April 2010, and has not lost since falling by majority decision in December 2009 during a "Fight of the Year"-caliber brawl with Paul Williams that featured first-round knockdowns by each fighter. Martinez is 7-0 with four stoppages since falling to Williams, a loss he avenged by stopping Williams in the second round in November 2010.
Martinez has not fought since last April when he rose from an eighth-round knockdown for a unanimous decision over Martin Murray in Buenos Aires.
Question for Sergio Martinez: After your loss to Margarito in 2000, did you ever imagine that your career would be like this?
"My loss to Margarito was probably the best thing that happened to me. It humbled me and made me realize that this is a serious sport, and I needed to mature as a fighter and as a person. It also made me realize that I needed to change.
"I had to cut out the negative people that surrounded me at that time and find people that would be positive for my career. I knew that I would return to Las Vegas and be a champion after that loss, because I had the desire to be a champion and was willing to put in the time and effort to get to that level.
"I never would’ve imagined reaching this level of notoriety. That has to be attributed to my current team of Sampson Lewkowicz, Miguel Angel Depablos and Nathan Lewkowicz, who have worked very hard in furthering my career. Without having a solid team behind you, then it would be difficult to get to this level and sustain it."
COTTO ON THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING A FOUR-DIVISION TITLEWINNER.
HBO has provided a training blog taken from an interview with Cotto in advance of his fight with Martinez.
In rising to face Martinez, Cotto (38-4, 31 KOs) ascends to a catchweight of 159 pounds to target a title in his fourth weight class. The three-division titleholder scored a third-round knockout over Delvin Rodriguez in his last fight in October.
Question for Miguel Cotto: How important is it for you and Puerto Rican boxing you win this title and become a four-division champion?
"Puerto Rico has been a hot-bed for boxing for a long time and has given the Island some of its most memorable moments in sports. The people there love their boxing and their boxing history, from the first world champion in Sixto Escobar to the more than 50 champions that have come after him. The people of this tiny island have supported us without reservation.
"My beautiful Puerto Rico, for a long time, has been one of the greatest boxing nations in the sport. We have a big legacy from big fighters that were the inspiration of many generations. I have always wanted to write my own history with my own hands. I will never pretend to be better than anyone. I just want to be the one who accomplished a feat that other legends could not.
"Some of our best fighters are not only Puerto Rican greats, but all time-greats of the sport. Carlos Ortiz, Wilfredo Gomez, Wilfredo Benitez and Felix 'Tito' Trinidad and many others have made Puerto Rican boxing what it is today, and I am only an extension of their greatness. So to have an opportunity to become the first four-time world champion in different division is very special to me.
"This feat would not only be a great achievement for me, but for all Puerto Rican greats that have come before me and for the great fans that have supported me throughout my career and the many that love their boxing history and tradition in Puerto Rico. This is for all the fans boxing in my country, and to have the opportunity to do it in New York in Madison Square Garden, my second home, will make it even more special. June 7 will be night to remember for Puerto Rican boxing."
HBO TO AIR SERGIO MARTINEZ-MIGUEL COTTO 24/7 ON SATURDAY
HBO's telecast of 24/7: Cotto-Martinez will air on Saturday at 11:15 ET/PT in advance of their fight, the network announced on Monday.
CARL FROCH HAS UNFINISHED BUSINESS WITH GEORGE GROVES
IBF super middleweight titleholder Carl Froch said George Groves has been "dining out on his round one knockdown against 'The Cobra,'" referring to his having been floored in the initial round of their first fight — Froch's ninth-round knockout of Groves in November in Manchester, England.
"George Groves has been going to the opening of an envelope, dinning out on his round one knockdown against The Cobra and giving it large. But that's his prerogative. If he is enjoying the moment his little time, his little five minutes of fame, then you know he should do it, he should enjoy it. But really he should be concentrating on his fighting and his boxing," Froch stated in a press release.
"I wasn’t feeling sharp I didn't really want to get in the mood. I didn't really want to warm up or want to be on the ball. I was just like 'let’s get this fight out the way,’ and I’ve been there before in my career and I just want to get it done and dusted. My A-game, it wasn’t there that night, for many reasons."
Froch (32-2, 23 knockouts), who turns 37 in July, vows that things will be different in Saturday's rematch with the 26-year-old Groves (19-1, 15 KOs) at Wembley Stadium in London.
"I hit George Groves with an over hand right hand that he didn't see coming, and his legs stiffened and he stumbled towards me. He grabbed my legs, the ref saw that and I saw it. George was gone. He was in serious, serious trouble. I shoved him off of me, backed him up against the ropes, landed a right hand, a left hook landed, another right hand, another left hook," said Froch, recalling their first fight.
"He was stumbling, looking like he was trying to do something, and he was gone, looking at the floor. His arms were slumped and his head was slumped. I would have preferred the fight to have gone on longer because I was on top, I was in control, I was doing what I do. I was punishing him and lining him up for the big finish."
GROVES: FROCH HAS BEEN FORCED TO TAKE A FIGHT HE DIDN'T WANT
HBO has provided a training blog taken from an interview with Groves in advance of his return bout with Froch.
Question for George Groves: Can you discuss the first fight?
"'Everything happens for a reason' has been my mantra throughout this training camp, and I strongly believe in its message. Everything I have done during preparation, whether in the gym or at press conferences, has been for a reason.
"Every punch I throw on May 31 will be for a very specific reason. And the fight itself is happening and was mandated by the IBF for a very good reason. Anybody who saw our first fight will know why the rematch is happening.
"Only the referee Howard Foster believed the stoppage was correct. Even Carl Froch, the beneficiary of the stoppage, eventually agreed with the consensus opinion that it was wrong.
"Most importantly, though, the IBF deemed it unfair, and that's why we're getting ready to do it all over again. This time round, there will be no controversy and no need to argue.
"Carl Froch has been forced to take a fight he didn't want and, on May 31, we will all see why he was so keen to pursue so-called other options rather than face me again.
"He will realize what happened in our first fight wasn't a fluke, nor was it due to him simply overlooking me or taking me lightly. Instead, he will realize what happened the first time round owed more to the fact I am a far superior fighter; quicker with my hands, feet and brain.
"I am more mobile, stronger inside and the heavier puncher with one shot. There is nothing he can take from the first fight to give him confidence or hope going into this rematch. He can't improve aspects of his game that have been broken or non-existent since day one.
"Sure, he can train harder and focus more, but how will that erase his many technical deficiencies and flaws? Remember, he's 36 years of age, 10 years my senior, and I'm the one with room to improve.
"He's had his time, he's won his world titles, and he's taken hard punches from some of the best super-middleweights in the world. Well, on May 31 at Wembley Stadium, I'll happily dish out some more.
"And if he expects me to perform the way I did last time we met, he's sorely mistaken. Unlike Froch, I can and have improved. This time I'm leaving absolutely nothing to chance."
FROCH: 'I'M GOING TO GIVE GEORGE GROVES AN ABSOLUTE PASTING'
HBO has provided a training blog taken from an interview with Froch in advance of his rematch with Groves.
Question for Carl Froch: Can you discuss the first fight?
"For me to be involved in such a big event like this, it's a very proud moment. Through my whole career as a professional, I've never fought at a stadium. It ticks one of the boxes for me.
"Not many boxers get the chance to fight in an outdoor event, especially a stadium as fantastic as Wembley. We're going to get closure on this whole Carl Froch-George Groves saga.
"I'm really looking forward to putting on this display and putting him behind me in this fabulous stadium, in the capital city, on Sky Sports Box Office. It doesn't get any bigger than this for British boxing.
"I'm in a much better place this time, and there's certainly not anything he's going to say that's going to wind me up. It's impossible. The hatred started when George was being really disrespectful and playing down my performances and writing me off.
"I thought to myself 'Hang on a minute, I'm world champion. I deserve a little bit more respect.' But there's nothing he can say now that is going to get under my skin.
"You can slip into what we call the comfort zone where you are trying to do things comfortably just to get through the session sometimes. I always put the work in in the gym physically with what I need to do.
"But sometimes, your mind is not always there, and it's sort of just getting through the session rather than really digging in and then getting stuck into the session.
"So that's where I am at now. I'm getting stuck in and thinking about what I am doing and concentrating a lot more in the gym than what I did for the first fight. I'm guilty of not giving George Groves the respect he deserves in the first fight.
"It was difficult to, because he was talking so much trash. George Groves had not boxed anyone ranked in the top 15 in the world. That's the facts. He still hasn't beaten anyone ranked in the top 15 in the world.
"Because the only person he did fight was me and let's not forget that result. It was a Round 9 stoppage. But I do need to give him a little more attention, a little more boxing respect and go in there totally focused and totally prepared, which I wasn't in the first fight.
"I get to do it all over again, but this time I'll finish the job properly, finish it conclusively and leave no question marks. I'm so excited that I'm going to give George Groves an absolute pasting in front of such a big crowd on a massive event. I cannot wait."
JUERGEN BRAEHMER READIES FOR ROBERTO BOLONTI, WANTS BERNARD HOPKINS
Former light heavyweight titleholder Juergen Braehmer vows to make Roberto Bolonti pay a heavy price for his trash talking when they meet on June 7 at the Sport and Congress Center in Schwerin, Germany, before turning his attention to desired bouts such as one against IBF titleholder Bernard Hopkins.
"Clearly, I want some big, career-defining match-ups, preferably title unifications. Bernard Hopkins is sitting on top of that list, but with him being 49 years old, he may not have a lot fights left in him," said Braehmer (43-2, 32 knockouts), a 35-year-old who is THE RING's No. 4-rated 175-pounder. "That is why I am hoping for a quick consent to fight him. I am also open to compete with all other world champions at light heavyweight. I want to show that I am the best at this weight class."
Braehmer has won 12 straight, including seven by knockout, since falling to Hugo Hernan Garay by unanimous decision in November 2008, and is coming off last month's fifth-round stoppage of Enzo Maccarinelli. In advance of his bout against the 35-year-old Bolonti (35-2, 24 KOs), Braehmer addressed several questions in a release by Sauerland Events.
On whether the short distance between his bout against Maccarinelli and the one against Bolonti will be a problem:
"No, not at all. I see it more as an advantage to me. After enjoying a few days off, I went back into the gym after the Easter holidays. I did not start at zero and therefore I could lay my concentration more on technique and tactics.
"I said this ahead of my recent fights, but have no problem to repeat myself. I will only step into the ring being in shape at 100 percent. That is what I learned from my loss to Garay in 2008.
"I will not change my attitude now or in the future. I do perform well in training being and tip-top shape. There is a saying, by the way: If you do not use it, you lose it.
On Bolonti's assertion that he is battle-worn:
"Maybe he did not watch my last fights. My last real war inside a ring is so long ago I cannot even remember it. However, I can keep this delusion on his mind. I will charge him come fight night and it will not be cheap."
On Bolonti's abilities:
"He is a boxer with a typical Argentinian style, always fighting hard and with maximum effort, but not the most technically sound. That is what I heard from my coach Karsten Roewer.
"He is studying all my opponents in detail and adjusts my tactics. I only think about my own strengths. That works best for me. The only thing that is currently on my mind is beating him.
"I would love to make it an early night like the one I delivered years back against Francisco Antonio Mora. Let us see if he can take my hooks to the liver better than his compatriot did."
On fighting in front of partisan fans:
"It is always nice to fight on your doorstep, although the last time I did, I was a bit over-motivated when I defend the European Championship in Schwerin last August. I do not think that this will happen again. But I will show further improvements to my game. My family, friends and fans can look forward to an entertaining fight."