NEW YORK — Miguel Cotto and Sergio Martinez engaged in an intense stare-down before being separated Friday following the weigh-in for their fight Saturday night for Martinez’s WBC middleweight title
Both fighters made weight on the first try, Cotto at 155 pounds and Martinez at 158.8 for the fight at 159.5 pounds at The Theatre at Madison Square Garden.
“I’m ready for the best Sergio,” Cotto said. “If he’s not ready, he’ll suffer. I’m ready for him.”
With a win, Cotto (38-4, 31 knockouts) would become the first Puerto Rican four-division world champion. He has held the WBA super welterweight and WBA and WBO welterweight titles.
“Being able to be (talked about) in boxing conversations (along with the great Puerto Rican fighters) makes me feel (proud),” Cotto said. “I’m just a regular boxer who does his best, and I’m going to do the same (Saturday night).”
Saturday will mark the ninth time Cotto has fought inside Madison Square Garden. He has a 7-1 record at the Mecca of boxing.
“They always support me and make me (feel) welcome,” Cotto said about the Garden crowd. “I know they’re going to (have) the same attitude Saturday.”
While Cotto is banking on fan support, what is unknown is the condition of Martinez’s knee and his conditioning.
The 39-year old Martinez (51-2-2, 28 knockouts) has not fought in more than year, as he has recuperated from knee surgery.
Martinez’s last bout was a 12-round win over Martin Murray on April 27, 2013, in Argentina.
Following a request by the Cotto camp, the New York State Athletic Commission had Martinez undergo a medical exam a month ago. The NYSAC ruled Martinez could wear a sleeve — similar to the one New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony wears on his shooting arm — over his knee Saturday night.
“I have no issue because after I sent a sample (of the sleeve) to the commission, they said (it’s) OK (and) I can use it,” Martinez said. “I am 100 percent healthy. I feel very good. You will see that on June 7.”
Naturally, Cotto and his team question the veracity of Martinez’s statement. During Cotto’s open workout in Hoboken, New Jersey, on Tuesday, Cotto’s trainer, Freddie Roach, said Martinez’s “timing will be off” because he “didn’t spar that much for the fight,” then added Martinez was “a four-round fighter.”
“I’m not Murray,” Cotto said. “I’m not any of the fighters (Martinez fought previously). I’m not worried about how much he’s going to weigh. I worry about doing our job.”
The 12-round bout is the main event of a nine-fight card.