By Jake Donovan
Sergio Martinez and Miguel Cotto are both well on target to make weight for their June 7 World lineal middleweight championship at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Cotto is already mere ounces within the 160 lb. weight limit, according to results from his official weight documented during the World Boxing Council (WBC) mandatory 30-day pre-fight weight check. Fighters who are competing in a WBC-sanctioned bout must be within 10% of the contracted weight at the 30-day point, and no heavier than 5% by seven days prior to fight night.
Martinez and Cotto were required to weigh no heavier than 176 lb. during their May 7 check-in. Martinez tipped the scales at 170 lb., well within the allowed limit, while Cotto—making his middleweight debut–came in at 160.2 lb.
Martinez (51-2-2, 28KO) is attempting the 7th defense of the lineal championship he claimed in a 12-round win over Kelly Pavlik more than four years ago. The 39-year old Argentine southpaw rode his title winning effort to a Fighter of the Year campaign in 2010, capped by the Knockout of the Year with his 2nd round blitzing of Paul Williams in their Nov. ’10 rematch.
The showdown with Cotto will mark his first piece of ring action since a disputed points win over Martin Murray last April. The title fight took place in his native Argentina, drawing more than 45,000 fans for his fight in his birth country since 2002. However, Martinez had to overcome a mid-rounds knockdown to rally late in order to preserve victory.
Cotto (38-4, 31KO) contemplated retirement following a Dec. ’12 points loss to Austin Trout. The loss came seven months after falling short to Floyd Mayweather in his 154 lb. title losing effort, making 2012 the only year that the Puerto Rican superstar failed to win a single fight since turning pro in 2001.
A triumphant ring return came last October, stopping Delvin Rodriguez in three rounds while fighting in his adopted hometown of Orlando. Cotto normally trains in the Central Florida location, but fought there for his first time as a pro while training in Hollywood with Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach.
A former three-division champion, Cotto has been beltless since losing his title to Mayweather in May ’12. It is the longest stretch he has gone without a title around his waist since winning his first belt in Sept. ’04.
With a win, Cotto will become the first fighter ever to win world titles in four weight classes, although he is a considerable longshot to accomplish the feat.
The bout, which will headline on HBO PPV, marks Cotto’s ninth appearance at Madison Square Garden. Martinez fights for the first time in the main room of the World’s Most Famous Arena, with his only other bout at the location coming in his 11th round knockout win of Matthew Macklin in March ’12.
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