New York, NY – Freddie Roach, the trainer said this about his new middleweight champion Miguel Cotto: “I had the guy and he followed the game plan.” And Cotto, the first four-division title holder from Puerto Rico certainly went with the plan with a dominant win over Sergio Martinez Saturday night at a sold-out Madison Square Garden.
It was possibly the best performance for Cotto who scored the TKO over Martinez at 0:6 of round ten, and the new WBC champion thanked his New York wins moments after the impressive win. It can’t be disputed, Cotto, 39-4, 32 KO’s, is now to be considered one of the best of all-time and that was evident with his three knockdowns of Martinez in the first round.
After that, it was more Cotto and an aging Sergio Martinez who had to succumb to bad knees that put him on the shelf the past 14-months.
“He never mentioned anything, but I know my fighter well,” Martinez’ trainer Pablo Sarmiento commented. “He never got back after one. Cotto made sure that the champion from Argentina would not make a comeback, or let this fight go into the late rounds where Martinez has had much success during his title reign.
So as Sergio Martinez moves on and awaits a possible induction into the Boxing Hall of Fame, Cotto looks at his options. Once a defeated champion at 154 to Austin Trout, Roach now has his champion in line for more major fights, defending the WBC title.
“It means a lot to me,” said the 34-year old Cotto said at the post fight press conference. “Where I am among greats is up to others. I go in and work hard. Only four people that matter to me are my family. We just hit him with the punches. He got up after the three knock downs.”
Cotto said, he kept up with the strategy, one that had him aggressive from that first round and showing no signs of not adapting to being a middleweight. Roach said he never had a fighter work so hard in training camp, and that was a lot said because Roach has been behind the success of eight-division champion Many Pacquiao.
The left, hook, right hand and body shots were vintage Cotto. It was a boxing lesson that Roach said to Cotto during the fight.
If Roach had it his way, Cotto would be back in the gym tomorrow. However, Cotto has always waited for his promoter Bob Arum to discuss the next option. So what will be next for the new champion who intends to return to Puerto Rico Sunday after a brief appearance at the Puerto Rico national parade?
Roach said he wants Pacquiao or Floyd Maywether Jr. next. But that may not occur. Roach has previously said Pacquiao, his other champion would not be in position for a Cotto fight as it does put Roach in a nightmare of a situation. Then there is the Mayweather issue of never doing business with his former promoter, Bob Arum or a mega fight with Canelo Alvarez.
To that, Cotto said, “I need rest. Freddie doesn’t rest, I need it.”
There is plenty of time for Cotto to make decisions. If he does not fight again this year, there could be two more next. Or, with a lucrative 5- millon dollar purse and pay-per-revenue gained, Cotto could go home and said he has accomplished what he had to do.
He is now the first champion from Puerto Rico to hold four titles in different weight classes. The fans, who once doubted his ability, saw a boxing clinic at the Garden Saturday night. Cotto can go home and look at his options.
“Happiest day of my life,” Cotto said who has sold out the Garden in nine fights, his fight home with an 8-1 record. “This is the biggest achievement of my professional career.” Puerto Rico has a historic champion and so does boxing.