Miguel Cotto is out to prove to himself and the world that he is still a force in the ring when he takes on Sergio Martinez on Saturday night, for the chance to become a four-weight world champion.
The 33-year-old will be competing in his first ever bout at the 160lbs and has the tough task of claiming Martinez’s WBC middleweight crown.
If victorious he will become the first Puerto Rican to win world titles in four weight classes, something the he believes he is destined to do.
“Everything happens at the time it needs to happen. I do not push destiny. Boxers take different paths in their career and those roads don’t always come together,” said Cotto, on the prospect of facing Martinez earlier in his career.
“If someone would have told me that I would be fighting for a world championship at 160 pounds four years ago I would have not thought that possible. But here I am looking to make history – becoming the first Puerto Rican to win world titles in four different weight divisions.”
The illustrious fighters will be squaring off at the iconic Madison Square Garden, both have shared the ring with some of boxing’s biggest names and Cotto believes that this momentous clash with Martinez has come at the perfect time.
“This is the kind of fight that always has been talked about and now is becoming a reality. I think it is a perfect timing to make it happen.
“We both have had our moments over our careers. I feel good and satisfied that it’s happening at this stage of my career. I feel totally renewed and with a fresh mind to come in and do my job on June 7.”
Cotto has world title belts at light-welterweight, welterweight and light-middleweight already in his trophy cabinet, but victory over Martinez would be massive in terms of reinvigorating his already polished legacy.
In his last outing back in October he impressively stopped Delvin Rodriguez in the third round, having returned from two back-to-back defeats against leading names Floyd Mayweather and Austin Trout prior to that win.
Rodriguez is regarded as little more than a journeyman but it was essential for Cotto that he got back to winning-ways. He can be largely thankful to Freddie Roach, whom he hired as his trainer following his successive defeats.
The veteran trainer, who works closely with Top Rank, seemingly overhauled the Puerto Rican’s game and inserted some of the old fire back into his belly.
Cotto is now filled with belief and thinks that the anticipation and excitement building around their lucrative showdown will only help him in his bid to prove that he can still mix it with the best in the business.
“We as fighters always want to fight the best possible opponents and the best fights. We want the fans and media to be excited about the fights that we have. I now believe that this is a big fight and people want to see it, I’m not sure that was the case a few years back,” Cotto said.
“I believe that I’ve given the fans the best fights that I can. I fought some of the best fighters at 140, 147 and 154 pounds and now here I am facing the best at 160. For me boxing has always been about challenges and this is one more fight that proves that point.
“The fact that this fight is taking place now is just destiny, nothing to do with politics or avoidance it’s just the right time to do this fight and to enjoy two great fighters getting in the ring and showing who the best is.
“I am ready to make history and to prove once more that I am still one of the best fighters in the world,” Cotto added.
Cotto and his trainer, Roach, have cleverly used the win over Rodriguez to vault into this major bout with Martinez that was always going to generate intense fan and media interest.
And if Cotto puts up a good performance he opens the door to a host of big fights in the future.
He could potentially face Alvarez if the Mexican gets past Erislandy Lara in their July 12 bout in Las Vegas. Although a Cotto-Canelo fight is one of the more entertaining bouts that could be made to happen.
Or, a (whisper it) Mayweather rematch could also be on the cards. However, first he must get past the 39-year-old, Martinez, who has won an incredible 51 fights and lost only two - against Antonio Margarito and Paul Williams.
With 28 knockouts along the way, the Argentinian scrapper is a highly dangerous opponent and it is all set to be a cracker on Saturday night.
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