Roach: 'Cotto KOs Martinez in four'

If there’s one thing Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach likes to do, it’s predict a knockout victory for his fighter. So it comes as no surprise that he is calling for Miguel Cotto to knock out middleweight champion Sergio Martinez when they meet Saturday night (9 ET, HBO PPV) at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

“I think we win in four rounds,” Roach said. “Miguel's ring generalship alone will win this fight.”

Martinez’s response?

“Freddie Roach is excellent at telling jokes, and this is one of the best jokes he has ever told,” he said.

Roach said Cotto is “one of the hardest punchers” he has ever worked with -- and Roach has worked with many quality punchers, such as Mike Tyson, Manny Pacquiao and Oscar De La Hoya.

“We are working every day on the mitts with my body protector on, and that doesn’t help that much anymore," Roach said. "Miguel goes right through that. His punching power is great, his speed has been good, and everything is right where I want it to be. Miguel is one of the hardest workers I have been with, and he is the most disciplined fighter I have ever worked with. We have a great relationship, and it will show in the fight.”

Cotto (38-4, 31 KOs), never one to make predictions, seemingly agreed with Roach’s prediction without saying it in so many words.

"I understand why Freddie is so confident and is saying the things he is saying,” said Cotto, who is seeking to become the first Puerto Rican fighter to win a world title in four weight classes. “He believes in me. We have worked hard in the gym. The work is almost done.

"Martinez is a world champion. I am prepared to fight, and I want to promise my fans I will do my best to win the world championship."

Cotto, who won titles at 140, 147 and 154 pounds, is moving up to 160, and Martinez (51-2-2, 28 KOs) does not believe his power will follow him up the scale again.

“Of course, 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. “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'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. 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. ... It is going to be an early stoppage.”