By Jake Donovan
For two men who are generally viewed as humble and highly respected throughout the boxing industry, Sergio Martinez and Miguel Cotto wasted no time in turning their upcoming June 7 middleweight championship into a legitimate grudge match.
The fighters haven’t at all minced words in talking about the highly anticipated bout, which takes place at the famed Madison Square Garden in New York City. Martinez in particular has called out Cotto on a number of issues, including the Puerto Rican superstar’s demand for the fight to take place at a catchweight of 159 lb.
When finally given the opportunity to speak on the issue, Cotto and his team did their best to clear the air and hopefully shake loose the prima donna label.
“The (weight request) first came from Sampon (Lewkowicz, Martinez’ adviser),” Cotto suggested. “The first he said when we talked about the fight was that his fighter can weigh as close to my weight (154 lb.) but no lower. Then after that he said he couldn’t weigh any less than 159 lb.”
To ensure that nothing was lost in translation, Cotto’s team offered further clarification.
“There were conversations before negotiations, that (Martinez) can move down to as close as Miguel's weight. It was a negotiated piece that was thrown out there, that they thought Martinez could get down to make weight,” explained Todd duBoef, Top Rank president. “It was just one of the terms of negotiations. There was a request by the conversation that both parties had, that the fight could occur between '54 and '60.
“It eventually came down that it couldn't be that close or in between. They worked out a term for what the weight is.”
Cotto has never before fought above the 154 lb. super welterweight limit at any point during his 14-year pro career. The move up in weight puts him in position to attempt to become the first fighter in the history of Puerto Rico to win belts in four weight classes.
While Martinez is well-established at middleweight – complete with a four-year stay (and counting) as lineal middleweight king – he is generally the smaller man (in physical size) in the ring. While there is a considerable size advantage in his favor for this fight, making the contracted 159 lb. limit doesn’t figure to be a problem.
Cotto is already well within range, having weighed in at 160.2 lb. during the 30-day pre-fight check-in. As for what his weight will be once he steps on the scales for the official weigh-in, the answer to that will be whatever his body dictates.
“It’s not important how much I weigh for the fight,” Cotto states. “I will be comfortable. I will be at whatever weight feels best.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox