By Keith Idec
NEW YORK — By the time Sergio Martinez steps into the ring to fight Miguel Cotto on June 7 at Madison Square Garden, the aging Argentine star won’t have fought in more than 13 months.
The WBC middleweight champion isn’t concerned, however, about the longest layoff of his 16-year pro career. After all the injuries he suffered before and during his fight 10½ months ago against Martin Murray, Martinez welcomed the long break to allow his left hand, left shoulder and right knee to heal properly.
“It’s been very helpful because of my age,” Martinez said during the press tour this week to promote his HBO Pay-Per-View fight against Cotto. “I have over 50 fights already, so the rest has done me well. I’m happy I could rest. That’s where my experience will come in. I have plenty of experience. That’s why [the long layoff] is not going to affect me.”
On the advice of his doctor, Martinez (51-2-2, 28 KOs) won’t start doing roadwork until after March 31. He’ll begin a two-month training camp in Madrid early next month and spend the final four weeks of camp in Miami.
Martinez suffered a shoulder injury several days before he encountered England’s Murray (26-1-1, 11 KOs), who dropped Martinez in the eighth round of a 12-round title fight in Buenos Aires that was more competitive than expected (115-112 on all three scorecards). The southpaw, who turned 39 last month, also sustained a fracture to his left hand against Murray and needed a third surgery on his creaky right knee following his unanimous-decision win.
He believes those injuries are behind him, though, and is eager to re-establish himself against Puerto Rico’s Cotto (38-4, 31 KOs), who’ll attempt to become a world champion in a fourth weight class.
“This time, I shouldn’t have any issues,” Martinez said. “My knee is coming along really well. It’s very strong. I shouldn’t have any issues with movement. I’m not running as a precaution, but from the 31st on I’ll start doing roadwork. I feel great. It’s just all precautionary right now. They’re telling me not to run.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.