Square Garden served as the backdrop for when true title lineage was
reestablished in the middleweight division. Bernard Hopkins manhandled
then-unbeaten three-division champ Felix ‘Tito’ Trinidad, lending confirmation
to long time de facto status as the best middleweight in the world.
fight took place on September 29, 2001. There hasn’t been another middleweight
championship fight to take place in the main room since that night. That status
changes this weekend, when Sergio Martinez makes the 7th defense of
his World champion as he faces Miguel Cotto in their highly anticipated
championship showdown (Saturday, HBO PPV, 9:00PM ET).
closest Martinez has come to playing the World’s Most Famous Arena occurred two
years ago (March ’12), when he rallied to knock out Matthew Macklin in the 11th
round of their championship fight on St. Patrick’s Day. The bout took place in
MSG’s The Theatre, often referred to as “the basement” due its location below
the main level of Madison Square Garden.
contest will take place in front of a sold-out crowd in the main room,
reestablishing a couple of past traditions. Not only have many of the greatest
middleweights of all time played the Garden, but Martinez also gets to pay
homage to the legends of his native Argentina who’ve also made it a point to
ply their trade at the historic venue.
has been a major dream of mine to fight at Madison Square Garden in the big
room,” Martinez (51-2-2, 28KO) revealed in the most recent entry of his
four-part blog for HBO. “I never would have imagined that I would be headlining
a main event over there if you asked me that 10 years ago.
fight at Madison Square Garden where great Argentinean boxers fought like Oscar
Bonavena and Carlos Monzon is the grandest honor that any Argentinean boxer
could possibly have. The Argentinean community in New York has always been very
supportive of me, and I expect an incredible atmosphere similar to a World Cup
(38-4, 31KO) has represented Madison Square Garden like no other fighter in
this era. His fights have sold more tickets at the arena than any other boxer
in the 21st century.
to the massive contingent of Puerto Ricans (by birth or by heritage) living in
New York, the Boricua superstar has transformed ‘The Garden’ into the
unofficial headquarters for the Puerto Rican Day parade festivities, with the
annual celebration taking place on the 2nd weekend in June. Saturday
will mark the fifth time in his career that a Cotto fight at the Garden
precedes the parade, with the 33-year old boasting a 4-0 record on such
occasions, in addition to a stoppage win over Yuri Foreman at Yankee Stadium on
the same weekend in 2010 as well.
the 33-year old is not invincible at the venue. His last performance at Madison
Square Garden was also his lone loss there – or anywhere in New York City –
when he was outpointed by then-154 lb. titlist Austin Trout in Dec. ’12. Still,
this weekend’s event is being sold as a coming home party for the Puerto Rican
superstar, a perception Martinez plans to dramatically change once the bell
Cotto says Madison Square Garden is his home, but come June 7th he
will be evicted,” Martinez vows. “I will prove that I am one of the best pound
for pound fighters in the world.”
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
Tags: Sergio Martinez , Miguel Cotto , HBO , Cotto-Martinez , Cotto vs. Martinez