Five keys for Sergio Martinez
Plotting a path to victory in Saturday's middleweight bout against Miguel Cotto
Sergio Martinez, the middleweight world champion from Argentina, returns to action after more than a year away from the ring due to injuries.
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York City
When: Saturday, 9 p.m. ET/PT
TV: HBO PPV
"Maravilla" will defend his title on Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York against former three-division titlist Miguel Cotto in a 12-round battle.
Injuries, the accumulated rust and the quality of his opponent will test the technical proficiency of Martinez (50-2-2, 28 KOs), who will be fighting for the first time inside the big arena at MSG.
Here are five keys Martinez should consider ahead of Saturday's fight:
Sergio being Sergio
|Like never before, Martinez must turn to his technical skills in order to best use his reach advantage. Against an aggressive opponent who will only seek to engage, Martinez should look to be effective with the jab, snipe from angles and offset the pressure through smart movement to exit any potentially dangerous situations.|
Wait and seize
|Cotto is shorter and has a smaller wingspan. We already know he will be aggressive and try to apply pressure. Such opponents seem tailor-made for Martinez's counterattack. The champion must be patient and effective in order to connect his powerful shots that way. That's how he finished the aggressive Paul Williams in Round 2 with just one punch in their rematch. Against Cotto, he can repeat that strategy.|
Save the best for last
|Martinez is coming off of a period of injuries, with severe pain in his knee -- which required surgery -- and a fracture in one of his hands. There are no guarantees that his body will be able to endure the effort required for a 12-round battle. Therefore, he should manage his movements very well, avoiding any unnecessary effort with his legs or any wasted punches.|
All or nothing
|At 39 and after overcoming injuries that will accelerate his retirement from boxing, the big question for Martinez is his hunger for victory. How much determination does he still own to overcome the bad times or any physical relapse in the midst of battle? Against a younger and eager man chasing his fourth crown in a different division, Martinez will need that hunger and determination.|
In the corner we trust
|In Martinez's corner, trainer Pablo Sarmiento is an invaluable tool for his success. The champions who stand out for their technical virtues always depend on their corner to develop the perfect fight plan, apply changes on the fly or read the performance of their opponent properly. Against Cotto, Sarmiento will also be the mental and emotional backup Martinez will need for a very complicated fight.|
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