by David P. Greisman
Freddie Roach had one crack at unseating middleweight champion Sergio Martinez a year ago, when he cornered Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. In that fight, Martinez out-boxed Chavez for 11 rounds and then got dropped hard in the final round. Martinez rose, stood toe-to-toe for the remainder of the bout and took the decision victory.
Now Roach has another fighter who could go on to face Martinez, and the Hall of Fame trainer believes Miguel Cotto could be the one to beat him.
“I know his style pretty well, and I think I know how to beat Sergio Martinez,” Roach said at the post-fight press conference following Cotto’s win over Delvin Rodriguez. “He’s a great athlete. He’s very fast, of course. But the thing is he does have some flaws in his armor. I think we’d take advantage of them. I think I have the right guy to do it this time.”
Cotto’s next fight is still to be determined. Martinez is one name that was mentioned both before and after the Rodriguez fight — not just by reporters asking questions, but also by promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank.
Said Roach: “I would love for him to fight for the middleweight championship of the world and be the first Puerto Rican fighter to win four titles [in four weight divisions]. I know he’s a great opponent and a great athlete. Chavez fought one round and almost had him out.
“All Chavez had to do was let his hands go,” Roach added later. “I got a disciplined fighter [in Cotto] who’s going to follow a game plan like he did tonight. I think we can beat him.”
Roach also felt that a catch-weight, bringing Martinez below the typical middleweight limit of 160 pounds, wouldn’t be necessary.
“Why a catch weight?” Roach said. “We’re big enough.”