Sometimes you have to be calculated in the decisions you make, right? An educated risk can pay huge dividends if chosen wisely. That is exactly what Miguel Cotto has done by electing to fight the middleweight king Sergio Martinez on Saturday night.
Cotto stepped up to the junior middleweight division four years ago and has been seen as a fairly small 154-pounder ever since he did so. Now he finds himself at 160-pounds in with the guy who has been the best fighter in the division for the last three or four years. The fight wouldn’t have been feasible back then; in fact, it would have been seen as a mismatch.
But now, suddenly it’s worth the gamble for Cotto with Martinez battling health problems. Cotto wants to make boxing history by being the first Puerto Rican to win world titles in four separate weight divisions. Cotto teamed up with Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach before his last fight — a third round stoppage of Delvin Rodriguez — and is now looking to rejuvenate his career for one final fling.
Martinez, on the other hand, is trying to get healthy. His last fight was a much closer than anticipated fight against Martin Murray, in his homeland of Argentina, over 13 months ago. The reason for the lengthy layoff was for Martinez to undergo surgery on his right knee for the second time — as well as to heal a broken left hand, which also was the second time for Martinez.
One of the key elements to Martinez and the effectiveness of his movement and footwork. His footwork, in combination with his head movement, acts as his defense, and it also sets up his offense by putting him in positions to attack opponents from unusual angles that they do not expect. If Martinez’s footwork is hindered at all by the second surgery on his right knee, then he will clearly not be the same fighter anymore.
Can Martinez possibly have the same movement and agility after two surgeries on the same knee? Do the multiple injuries indicate that, at 39 years of age, Martinez’s body is simply breaking down on him at this point? Or are the injuries just bad luck? Cotto may well still get annihilated by Martinez on Saturday, but the chances of that happening are much less now than they would of been a few years back.
And that is what makes this particular gamble a gamble worth taking for Cotto. The risk to reward ratio is much more in his favor at this stage even though he may ultimately lose, and it’s easy to see why Cotto decided to roll the dice.