By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Promoter Bob Arum obviously wants Miguel Cotto to upset Sergio Martinez on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.
A Cotto win would initiate plenty more big business for the 33-year-old Puerto Rican icon, who’s co-promoted by Arum’s Top Rank Inc. Arum is well aware, though, that the slower, smaller Cotto is about a 2-1 underdog against the Argentine southpaw for a reason.
Arum also realizes that if Martinez is still nursing a right knee that has been surgically repaired three times and required a 13-month layoff, Cotto could have a much better shot at becoming Puerto Rico’s first four-division champion than most realize.
“It’s a terrific fight,” Arum said. “A lot of it depends on Sergio’s physical condition. Will he break down? Cotto is in the best shape that I’ve seen him. [Trainer] Freddie [Roach] has brought back a new Cotto, which is the old Cotto, a guy who’s a vicious body puncher, has great stamina.
“I think you’re going to see an unbelievable Cotto. Is that enough to beat Martinez, who’s been one of the great fighters of our era? I don’t know. But if Martinez isn’t 100 percent, Cotto will knock him out.”
Their 12-round fight for Martinez’s WBC middleweight title will headline HBO Pay-Per-View’s four-fight telecast Saturday night ($64.95 in HD; 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.