Miguel Cotto battered Sergio Martinez for nine rounds to claim the World Boxing Council middleweight title and become Puerto Rico's first four-division champion. Argentina's Martinez didn't answer the bell for the 10th round and referee Michael Griffin called a halt. Cotto had set the tone early, sending the champion to the canvas three times in the first round before a sold-out crowd of 21,090 at Madison Square Garden.
The Puerto Rican improved to 39-4 with 32 wins inside the distance while southpaw Martinez fell to 51-3-2 with 28 knockouts. All three judges had it scored 90-77 for Cotto through nine rounds. Cotto relentlessly pushed Martinez back throughout the bout, landing punches almost at will.
"I thought [Cotto] was absolutely sensational. I was saying to myself, 'What a waste that he didn't get to Freddie earlier.' And the way he did it, he fought like a perfect fight. He just blew him out. I think Sergio probably was better a number of years ago. You can't take a layoff like that and fight a guy with the skill and the stamina that Cotto has. No way you can do that," said Top Rank's CEO Bob Arum.