Cotto can pull off upset
Our Simon Crawford thinks Miguel Cotto can pull off an upset against WBC middleweight champion Sergio Martinez this weekend.
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Initially I was going to leave Sergio Martinez's defence of his WBC middleweight title against Miguel Cotto well alone.
When the fight was first made I thought Martinez would have little trouble, with Cotto moving up to the 160lbs division for the first time in his career, having started out at light-welterweight.
But the more I thought about it, the more I started to believe that there is every chance of an upset at the iconic Madison Square Garden this weekend, despite Cotto taking a huge risk.
The 33-year-old (38-4, 31 KOs) is looking to become the first Puerto Rican to win world titles in four weight classes, but has not even bothered to have a warm-up fight at middleweight which is either confidence or recklessness.
He turned down a lucrative fight with Saul Alvarez in favour of this test so obviously fancies it despite the obvious disadvantages he will face.
Martinez is three inches taller, has a six-inch advantage in reach and is also a southpaw. He will be naturally stronger and that reach means he can potentially keep the fight on the outside and prevent Cotto getting to work.
So what has Cotto seen that makes him believe that he can upset Martinez?
Well, even two years ago this fight would have been cut and dried with Martinez a clear winner and most likely would never have even been made at all for that matter.
But Martinez's last two defences have taken their toll on the Argentine star (51-2-2, 28 KOs), who will turn 39 on fight night.
Against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in September 2012, he won virtually every round but was knocked down and badly hurt in the closing seconds. He injured his right knee which required surgery and fractured his left hand, putting him out of action for the best part of nine months.
He returned to the ring in April 2013 against England's Martin Murray, beating the St Helens man on points in his native Argentina despite being floored twice, although only one was counted.
But he suffered the exact same injuries as he had done against Chavez Jr and was forced to sit out the rest of the year.
Cotto and his camp obviously believe these injuries have taken their toll and feel they are taking the fight at the right time with Martinez out of action for over a year and carrying doubts about whether his knee has fully recovered.
Cotto is one of the most attacking boxers you will see, he comes forward relentlessly and throws big shots but rarely wastes them.
If the armour of Martinez is starting to show signs of wear and tear, then Cotto is a man to take full advantage because the Argentine can be hit (another Briton Matthew Macklin floored him) and has a habit of being drawn into fights when it would make much more sense to box.
At 39 you would expect Martinez's better days are now behind him and it must be of concern that the same injury has struck in successive fights.
If Cotto can get through the opening rounds and find his range, and providing moving up to 160lbs has not dulled too much of his power, then I think he can nick it on points or even force a late stoppage.
Martinez is a general best of 1/2 to win the fight, with Cotto as big as 15/8.
A Cotto win inside the distance is a stand-out 4/1 but I think he might just lack that explosive punch power at middleweight to take Martinez out so I'm taking the 11/2 for him to win by decision or technical decision.