World champion Sergio Martinez believes the only reason Miguel Cotto has chosen to fight him is because he thinks he's over the hill.
The WBC middleweight kingpin puts his title on the line against the Puerto Rican legend at Madison Square Garden in New York on Saturday night, with Martinez of the belief that Cotto only took the fight because he believes the Argentine is past his best.
Cotto is attempting to make history by becoming his nation’s first four-weight world champion when he makes the move up to the 160 pound division, but Martinez, who contentiously overcame Britain’s Martin Murray in his last outing, says he is in for a rude awakening.
"Miguel Cotto believes that I am ripe for the picking and that my age has finally caught up with me," said Martinez. “
"What he doesn’t realise is that for the Martin Murray fight, I had many injuries going into the fight. I did not want to postpone the event because it was always a dream of mine to defend my title in Argentina so we as a team decided to go forward with the fight with Martin Murray.
“I still came out victorious in that fight but Miguel Cotto thinks I’m on the decline, which is the only reason I believe he chose to face me now.
‘Maravilla’ Martinez burst onto the elite scene with a stunning second round knockout over the courageous Paul Williams in their rematch back in 2010, after having captured the WBC and WBO middleweight belts against the division’s then number one fighter in Kelly Pavlik.
Having gone onto to establish himself as one of the very best pound-for-pound, Martinez is adamant that Cotto will not hear the final bell when the pair clash in front of a packed house.
He added: "I am extremely motivated for this fight with Cotto. Not just because I don’t necessarily care for Miguel Cotto, but I want to prove him wrong in thinking that I’m not an elite fighter.
"Miguel Cotto is a good fighter and a future hall of famer, but he will not become the world middleweight champion by defeating me. The only way I see this fight ending is with Miguel Cotto being knocked out. I cannot see the fight going past nine rounds,” he said.
With Cotto having started out at light-welterweight, Martinez believes that size will play a decisive factor in the fight, with this bout ranking amongst one of his biggest to date.
"There is no hatred toward Miguel, we are both professionals. I am totally focused on the fight and totally focused on the task at hand, which is beating Miguel Cotto. Miguel does not have the same power at this weight as he does at 147lbs," said Martinez.
"I am the power-puncher out of the two of us. The most important factor in this fight, though, is the level of intelligence that I will use on Saturday. I am not worried about the judges being swayed in this bout or any questionable decisions; because there is no way that this fight is going the distance.
"This fight is right up there with Paul Williams and Kelly Pavlik as one of the most important of my career."
Fighting at the iconic Madison Square Garden has become commonplace for Cotto, who has only lost once there in eight occasions, and enjoyed a partisan crowd for most outings.
But, the slick southpaw Martinez is looking to follow in the footsteps of Argentine idols, heavyweight Oscar Bonavena and former undisputed middleweight champion Carlos Monzon, by taking over the grandest of amphitheatres.
"To fight at Madison Square Garden where great Argentinean boxers fought like Oscar Bonavena and Carlos Monzon is the greatest honour that any Argentinean boxer could possibly have," he said.
"The Argentinean community in New York has always been very supportive of me, and I expect an incredible atmosphere similar to a world cup soccer match.
"Miguel Cotto says Madison Square Garden is his home, but come June 7th he will be evicted and I will prove that I am one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.".
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.