Trainer Freddie Roach has claimed Sergio Martinez ‘has nothing left’ as the Argentine defends his middleweight world title against Miguel Cotto this weekend.
Hall of Fame trainer Roach and WBC champion Martinez have been involved in a heated exchange, with the pair refusing to hold their tongues ahead of this Saturday night’s megafight at Madison Square Garden, live and exclusive on BoxNation.
Hostilities between both camps were heightened earlier this week when it was claimed Team Cotto were against the 39-year-old Martinez wearing a knee brace in their bout, stating that it could be hazardous to the Puerto Rican star.
However, the New York State Athletic Commission ruled in favour of the Argentine Martinez, who will now be allowed to wear the supportive sleeve on the right knee which he injured during his bout with Britain’s Martin Murray last year.
“There are no issues with the sheath I will be using for my knee on fight night,” said Martinez. “Once the commission saw what it actually was I was using, they were completely okay with it. It was very hard for me to come back from this [the knee and shoulder injury], but I have an excellent team behind me, and more than that I have my ego and that is what drove me to get back to where I was before the injuries occurred. I don’t know who brought up the issue about the sheath I am wearing on my knee. Whether it was the commission or Cotto’s team directly I am not sure,” he said.
“The only one who will pay for it though is Miguel Cotto on June 7th. I feel great, and you will see that come Saturday night. I am totally 100% healthy. My doctor told me that I only need to wear it as a precaution, so I am following my doctor’s orders,” Martinez added.
Cotto’s trainer, Roach – who teamed up with the 33-year-old last year - has been vocal during fight week, questioning Martinez’s chin and claiming that he is shot as a fighter.
“Sergio is in over his head on this one. We worked on fighting southpaws and have it down to a science now. Miguel will have no trouble with Sergio’s style. Working opposite Miguel with Manny Pacquiao gave me great insight to Miguel’s flaws,” said Roach.
“It taught me his weaknesses and during this camp I was able to eliminate them. The wear and tear of the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr fight ruined Martinez. He has nothing left. Miguel is the fresher fighter,” he said.
Despite having only been with Cotto for one fight - his impressive third round stoppage of Delvin Rodriguez last October - the respected Roach believes they have the perfect gameplan to overcome Martinez.
“Winning this fight will be about ring generalship. Miguel must keep himself in a good position and control the ring. This is what we have worked on for nine weeks in training camp. Miguel never knew how to do this before we began working on it,” he said.
“Miguel will have to cut the ring off, stay off the ropes and stay out of the corners. He now knows how to do it. He is a great student and one of the most disciplined fighters I have ever trained,” claimed Roach.
This will be the second time that a Roach fighter goes up against Martinez, with Chavez Jr the first, with the Mexican losing conclusively on points despite dramatically knocking down ‘Maravilla’ in the final round.
The slick, unorthodox Martinez, is now looking to get one over on Roach again, riled by all the talk that has preceded the clash with Cotto.
“Regardless of what Freddie Roach says, Cotto will get beat up on Saturday night. Freddie Roach is a joker and a big talker. He was saying how a cyclist cannot beat a world champion, and look at what happened with Chavez,” said Martinez, in reference to a past claim by Roach about his cycling background.
“He says Chavez only trained for 5 days for that fight, but that is not my fault, it is both Chavez and his team’s fault. Freddie is a good trainer and a good business man, he knows how to sell a fight,” Martinez said.
Martinez vs. Cotto is live and exclusive on BoxNation (Sky 437/490HD & Virgin 546) this Saturday night at 2am. Visit www.boxnation.com to subscribe.