Middleweight champion Sergio Martinez believes his size and power will lead him to victory against former three-division titleholder Miguel Cotto when they meet June 7 (HBO PPV) in a much-anticipated showdown at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Cotto, who has won titles at junior middleweight, welterweight and junior welterweight, is seeking to become the first Puerto Rican boxer to win world titles in four weight classes. Martinez, the favorite, will be making the seventh defense of the lineal championship.
"I realize that Miguel does not have the same power at this weight that he had at 147, but I am the one that has the power in this case," Martinez said through a translator. "I am the power puncher of the two of us. But the most important fact in this fight is going to be the intelligence that I am going to be able to use in this fight.
"I think it will be a great fight for the fans, very good for boxing fans. It will be a fight that when I start to find my rhythm, my timing and the right distance, the fight will be over."
The fight will be contested at a catch weight of 159 pounds, one less than the division limit, which was one of the many concessions Martinez (51-2-2, 28 KOs) made to the smaller Cotto (38-4, 31 KOs), who is the bigger name and much more of an economic force.
"I'm sure that I will win the fight by knockout because I'm training in a very hard and intense way and with such motivation that every day I'm hitting harder, throwing more punches," said Martinez, who is coming off a 14-month layoff caused by a second right knee surgery following his last fight, a shaky decision win against Martin Murray in an Argentina homecoming bout.
"Whatever Cotto will do in the ring, doesn't matter to me. I don't care. What is important is for me to be the day of the fight in the same state that I'm working right now."
At the Garden, Martinez will be fighting in what is essentially Cotto's home arena, where he will be fighting for the ninth time and where the Puerto Rican fans give him tremendous support. This fight should be no different, especially because the fight is on the eve of the annual Puerto Rican Day parade in New York, a weekend on which Cotto usually fights.
But Martinez said he couldn't care less about Cotto's perceived home-turf advantage.
"As far as the judges are concerned -- they won't have to do much work that evening because this fight is definitely not going the distance," he said. "It will end before the scheduled number of rounds."