By Rick Reeno
MGM Grand, Las Vegas - Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach is not impressed with the fighting style of WBC middleweight champion Sergio Martinez (51-2-2, 28KOs). The Argentine star will defend his title, on June 7th at New York's Madison Square Garden, against Roach's newest pupil Miguel Cotto (38-4, 31KOs), who will attempt to win a fourth world title in his fourth weight division.
Martinez has an unorthodox fighting style where his hands are often seen at his waist. He uses a combination of defense and quickness to get away from the incoming punches of his opponents. But his style might be catching up to him, says Roach, as Martinez has been down in last two fights.
"Anyone who fights with his hands down and doesn't have a real reason for it - I kind of laugh at. There is a way to beat that and we'll have that advantage all night long because I don't think he can change who he is," Roach told BoxingScene.com.
"Martinez is a nice guy. I think he's a great athlete, but I don't think he's a great boxer. When you fight with your hands down like that - you won't beat one of my better fighters. He's a great athlete and his athleticism has got him this far. But against top notch fighters I don't think he's going to do well."
Roach went up against Martinez in 2012, when the veteran coach was training Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. While Chavez lost eleven rounds in a row, he finally erupted in the twelfth - where he dropped and nearly stopped Martinez.
If Chavez had taken his training camp more seriously, Roach believes he would have knocked Martinez out in eight. He also feels Martinez is suffering from the aftershocks of that match.
"Julio only trained for five days. If he was disciplined like he was in the first three fights [with me], he would have been in shape and took it right to him. He lost eleven rounds and didn't let his hands go until the last round. [If he trained and was in shape] he wins the fight, knocks him out inside of six to eight rounds. Martinez tried to knock Chavez out so badly in that fight, I think he left a lot of his game in the ring that night," Roach said.