By Matt Richardson
Miguel Cotto looked different on Tuesday.
To most in attendance at the fighter’s open workout in Hoboken, it probably seemed like business as usual. Cotto was working out, sweating profusely and just going about his business calmly and composedly. His eyes rarely darted from the task at hand.
There was something unusual about Cotto (38-4, 31 KO’s) earlier this week, however. You only caught it if you paid close attention and knew the fighters history, but if you saw it, it was unmistakable.
Miguel Cotto, one of the most stoic and unperturbed fighters of modern times, actually looked happy working out. Occasionally, in the right light, you’d even notice a smirk.
Of course, that could be confidence sneaking through. Or the knowledge of the right game plan as Cotto heads into his middleweight title challenge this weekend against champion Sergio Martinez (live on HBO Pay-Per-View from Madison Square Garden).
Or maybe it’s something as simple as not having to worry about making a weight limit for the first time in a long time as Cotto, the former three division champion, will make his middleweight debut against Martinez (51-2, 28 KO’s).
“I’m feeling very good,” Cotto said after showering in the 90-degree gym. “The pressure I had before or any kind of awareness, if I’m going to make my weight or not, just disappeared. (It doesn’t make me more) confident, it just brings it up, the mental capability, to get focus 100 percent on my work.”
While the 33-year-old Cotto claimed to be in top shape for the fight, much of the pre-fight talk has centered on the 39-year-old Martinez, his year layoff and what the champion physically has left following knee injuries.
Cotto, however, said he is unfazed by the talk.
“I’m ready for the best Sergio,” stated Cotto. “I’m ready for him. If he doesn’t come 100 percent, he’s going to suffer for the whole fight. I’m ready for him no matter what. No matter what kind of mindset he’s coming on Saturday, I’m ready for him.”
One of the reasons Cotto said he is prepared is due to the work he’s put in with new trainer Freddie Roach. The Martinez fight will mark the second the pair has had since Cotto went 0-2 in 2012.
“Freddie is on top of boxing because he’s the mastermind behind a lot of boxers,” Cotto reasoned. “He make a marvelous plan for this fight, all I need to do is follow it. Training camp just was a wonderful experience. An amazing camp, we had. We just are 100 percent ready for the fight.”
As for predictions from Roach about a knockout victory for Cotto, the Puerto Rican shrugged.
“Everybody is going to see,” he said. “I’m obviously comfortable, I’m ready. Just waiting for Saturday. You’re never going to see Miguel Cotto talking trash about any of his opponents, you know. I’m a professional, always. I’m just ready for the fight. Freddie is the captain of the ship, you know. He knows what I’m capable of doing on Saturday and if he said that, OK.”
While Roach may indeed be the captain of the ship, Cotto actually is the vessel.
Whether the differences in camp and cutting weight have made Cotto feel better or whether he’s in for rocky seas, however, remains to be seen.
Matt Richardson covers boxing in New York. He is the secretary for the Boxing Writers Association of America, a voter for the International Boxing Hall of Fame and a former writer for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter: @MRichardson713 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org