It’s just over four years since Sergio Martinez won the middleweight world title by outpointing Kelly Pavlik for the lineal crown.
This weekend Martinez (51-2-2, 28 knockouts) seeks to prove that despite several injuries and advancing age that he’s still “Maravilla” when he meets Miguel Cotto at the famed Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Soon after Martinez upset Pavlik, he was in Mexico where he met Cotto. The two were introduced, but the word is Cotto was aloof towards Martinez, something the Argentine veteran hasn’t forgotten.
“We are both professionals and I have no ill will towards Miguel now,” Martinez told RingTV.com, “but before he was very cold to me when we were both in Mexico a couple of years back.”
“I believe it will be a very competitive fight in the beginning and Cotto will try to attack me from the start, similar to his plan of attack during the Delvin Rodriguez fight,” he said. “But my style is to counterpunch so if Cotto believes that this new style will allow help him win he is very wrong.”
Along with the Martinez-Cotto headliner, the HBO Pay-Per-View event includes junior middleweight action between Andy Lee and John Jackson, Jorge Melendez vs. former world title challenger Javier Maciel, and an interesting looking featherweight rematch between Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. and Marvin Sonsona.
SM – I believe it will be a very competitive fight in the beginning and Cotto will try to attack me from the start, similar to his plan of attack during the Delvin Rodriguez fight. But my style is to counterpunch so if Cotto believes that this new style will allow help him win he is very wrong.
AW – When you look at what Cotto brings to this fight, what do you see in terms of his strengths and areas you can exploit?
SM – Cotto will come well prepared to this fight and his desire to win will be one of his strengths but the area I will exploit is the fact that I’m the bigger, faster, stronger and smarter boxer than Cotto.
AW – We're expecting an amazing atmosphere at Madison Square Garden with your Argentinean fans travelling over to New York as well as Cotto's Puerto Rican supporters heading out to support their guy. What are your thoughts on this?
SM – I thrive when I am the underdog, and it fuels my adrenaline so I am looking forward to that atmosphere in Madison Square Garden.
AW – Because of injury you've been out of action for 14 months. Can you tell us about the knee and hand injuries?
SM – My rehabilitation went 100 percent and the rest was well needed as my body went through a lot in recent years.
AW – There seems to be a bit of animosity between you and Cotto. What is the back story between the two of you?
SM – We are both professionals and I have no ill will towards Miguel now but before he was very cold to me when we were both in Mexico a couple of years back. But once we step into the ring all that doesn’t matter and I will be looking to end his career.
AW – You're now 39 and have suffered some bad injuries in the past couple of years, how has training gone? Do you have to do certain things whilst training to prevent the injuries recurring?
SM – No, since my rehabilitation has been excellent we have been training like we normally do. Moving the training camp to Miami has been good so far, and being in the same time zone as where my fight will be taking place will be good for me.
AW – How much longer do you feel you are able to perform and continue your career?
SM – I feel I have a couple more fights left in me. I’d like to fight again in my home country as well as Las Vegas.
AW – For several years you have wanted a super fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Manny Pacquiao at a catchweight. Those bouts never came to pass. Does fighting Cotto make up for not getting those fights?
SM – Fighting those two fighters was to more solidify my standing in the pound-for-pound rankings and more to fight the best pound-for-pound fighters. Fighting Miguel Cotto at this point is to show that I am still one of the pound-for-pound best fighters.
AW – Over the past couple of years the middleweight division has gone from relatively weak to strong now. What are your thoughts on the division today?
SM – The division definitely has a lot of good fighters and I believe that the interests from the TV networks has definitely helped showcase some fighters that deserve the recognition.
AW – You've kept yourself busy whilst you've been on the injured list with your promotional company Maravilla Box. Tell us about that?
SM – We have been very busy with Maravilla Box and I’d like to thank Miguel De Pablos, who runs the day to day with the promotional company. We have some future champions, like Sergio Garcia, and our current world champion Kiko Martinez. We are also involved in managing some football (soccer) players as well as a professional motorcycle racer.
AW – Tell us about your life away from boxing?
SM – I truly enjoy the arts. Theatre and comedy are my main interests.
AW – In closing, do you have a message for Cotto and what fans can expect from the fight?
SM – I wish to Miguel that he prepares like I know he will prepare and to expect the same from me. For the fans, they shouldn’t miss this fight as it will be one for the history books.