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The Ninth Layer
Jun 19, 2007

Timothy
"DESERT STORM"
Bradley


140 Pound Champ




We’ve heard plenty in recent years about a “changing of the guard” happening in boxing, but it hasn’t happened yet. If anything we’re instead seeing a constant affirmation of the legacies of older, established fighters. Guys on the back end of their thirties, or even their forties, are still dominating younger foes and cementing their legacies as great fighters, perhaps even all-time great fighters. This year we’ve already seen Juan Manuel Marquez, Wladimir Klitschko, Bernard Hopkins, Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, and Carl Froch vanquish tough young challengers to keep on winning. They were the top dogs half a decade ago, and they’re still on top of the boxing world today.

Age simply isn’t the factor it used to be in boxing, thanks to a combination of factors such as fighters taking longer times between their fights, improvements in strength and conditioning practices, changes in nutrition and overall health, and the abundance of video footage available for older, savvier fighters to dissect. There are certainly fighters whose careers flare bright and then fizzle out early, but at the truly elite level we’ve seen skill prevail over will again and again. Elite fighters reach the top and then find ways to stay there, learning new techniques to keep them away from harm or to put them in the perfect position to do their own damage.

Ten years ago did anyone think that Floyd Mayweather would stay undefeated well into the next decade and become the biggest draw in the history of the sport? Or that Bernard Hopkins would break the record for the oldest man to win a world championship, only to go on to win even more titles in his weight class? Or that Wladimir Klitschko would put away everyone in front of him, shutting out heavyweights who may have become champions in other eras? Did anyone predict that Juan Manuel Marquez would go on to become one of the greatest Mexican fighters in history, dwarfing the accomplishments of his contemporaries Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera? Who predicted that Carl Froch would take on opponent after opponent in the top ten of his division and pick up only two losses across years of hard fights? Could anyone predict that in 2014 Manny Pacquiao would dominate a top-5 pound-for-pound fighter in his prime?

These are fighters that will go down as not only the greatest fighters of this era, but perhaps the greatest of their respective countries. Mayweather undeniably has a case as one of the greatest fighters of all time by now, and the same might be said for Hopkins if he can unify titles against Adonis Stevenson and Sergey Kovalev. Marquez’ consistent accomplishments surely rank him up there with Julio Cesar Chavez in the pantheon of Mexican legends, and his rival Pacquiao is without dispute the best Filipino boxer (and perhaps the best Asian boxer period) who has ever lived. Froch’s long list of tough challenges and hard-fought victories gives him a stronger record, if not a prettier one, than his contemporary Joe Calzhage. And Wladimir Klitschko is on his way to beating Joe Louis’ record of heavyweight title defenses, even if he has some years to go.

We are witnessing an era of legendary fighters who by now are simply putting the punctuation marks on their careers. If these fighters lost tomorrow they would still be remembered as the bosses of this era. But if this year is any indication of the future, the sport’s aging elites aren’t going anywhere quite so soon. If any of them will be knocked off their perch, it’ll likely be done by one of the others.

---




Saturday, June 7th
HBO Pay-Per-View
Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez vs Miguel Cotto - 160 lb middleweight world championship

Speaking of two legends getting it on, it’s hard to ignore the absolute quality of talent in this main event. Sergio Martinez and Miguel Cotto have been considered top-shelf fighters for years, even if their career paths have followed vastly different courses. For both men this match is a chance to create a lasting impression of legacy. Cotto intends to fight for a chance at becoming the first Puerto Rican fighter to win a world title in four weight classes; Martinez hungers for a win over a great opponent to punctuate his strong accomplishments at middleweight. I feel that this match is a true crossroads fight. The winner of this one will go on to do bigger and better things, and will likely be mentioned as one of the greatest of this era among some of the others I’ve previously mentioned. The loser of this fight will have trouble clawing his way back into relevance, and may possibly retire outright.



Miguel Cotto was always a huge star in the sport, but recent years have eroded the aura of invincibility which characterized his career at lightweight (135 lb) and welterweight (154 lb). Devastating losses against Antonio Margarito and Manny Pacquiao showed a vulnerability to Cotto that hadn’t yet been seen in his earlier fights, and losses against Floyd Mayweather and Austin Trout at super welterweight raised doubts about Cotto’s continued relevance in the sport. But in between tough losses, Cotto has rebounded with some memorable moments, including a dominant revenge victory over Margarito and a valiant showing against Floyd Mayweather. These performances, along with his recent comeback win against Delvin Rodriguez, have kept Cotto and his considerable talent in the spotlight.



Sergio “Marravilla” Martinez, the current middleweight champion of the world, hasn’t taken a loss since his first fight against Paul “The Punisher” Williams, which many felt was a disputable, closely contested war. From there he went on to take the middleweight world title from Kelly Pavlik and has held firm against several tough challengers since, dispatching world-class competitors such as Darren Barker and Sergei Dzinziruk with style, and even knocking out Williams with just one clean left hook in their anticipated rematch. But in recent fights a lot of Sergio’s luster has seemed to fade. It was especially noticeable in bouts against Matthew Macklin, in which Martinez lost most of the early rounds but rallied to stop the fight, and against Martin Murray, who pressured a shopworn Martinez and made for a close and somewhat controversial bout that Martinez ended up edging. Despite strong wins against worthy challengers, Maravilla has simply never caught on as a huge star in the sport, and in the twilight of his career, it may be too late to change that.



Both fighters come into this one with big question marks. A few years ago I think almost everyone would call Martinez the favorite to win, and he’s certainly still the favorite now, but the Murray bout, and that final round of the Julio Cesar Chavez fight before it, raised a ton of questions into the state of Martinez’ physical condition. In the buildup to this fight, Sergio Martinez mentioned that he has been in nearly constant pain, training hard through injuries. It’s well-known that he required shoulder surgery after the Murray bout, explaining his long absence from the ring, but it remains to be seen to what extent he has recovered from his injuries, or even if he has recovered at all.



Miguel Cotto, meanwhile, has never fought in the middleweight (160 lb) division. In fact, he made his name all the way down at lightweight (135 lb) and has slowly worked his way up weight classes, taking some good wins and bad losses at welterweight (147 lb) and some less good wins and less bad losses at super welterweight (154 lb). His last fight against Delvin Rodriguez saw a return to form for Cotto, who recently began training with Freddie Roach at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles. By all accounts, Cotto and Roach have a great working relationship, and the talk coming out of their camp is enthusiastic and confident. That might change quickly, once Cotto starts tasting the flush shots of a veteran, heavy-handed middleweight.



Regardless of where these two men are in their careers, this match is a true clash of quality and talent. Miguel Cotto and Sergio Martinez have never been in dull fights; they’ve been some of the most consistently entertaining fighters in recent years. There are enough variables in play for this matchup to where there’s no telling how it’s going to go. If I had to point out three things to watch for, it’d be:


  • Left hooks by both fighters — Both Miguel Cotto and Sergio Martinez are well-known for their powerful left hooks. Martinez fights out of a southpaw stance and his left hook is his go-to power punch, the same punch that sent Williams sleeping. He’ll be trying to bait Cotto into openings where he can land the punch. Cotto is also a left-handed fighter, but unlike Martinez he fights in an orthodox stance. His power hand is his lead left, and he’s comfortable using his left hook to the head or body. Expect him to go for Martinez’ gut early and often in an attempt to slow the older fighter down.
  • Who controls the center of the ring — I think this will be one of the biggest tells in terms of who is having their way this fight. As both Cotto and Martinez are boxer-punchers, expect a lot of shifts in who the aggressor is at any given time. Martinez is a classic “slick” southpaw, and loves to use footwork and upper body movement to set himself up for good offensive angles. He’s a fighter who is comfortable fighting in the center of the ring. Cotto might try to make Martinez uncomfortable, force him to rely on his old legs, and ideally trap Martinez along the ropes to rough him up. Or Cotto could choose to fight a tactical, measured mid-ranged fight, much like he did against Shane Mosley to good effect. Either way I suspect that the fighter who can consistently assert himself in the center of the ring will have a huge edge in this match.
  • Power vs volume — Martinez and Cotto are both deservedly well-known for being hard punchers who always show up in great condition, but there are definitely differences in the two fighters’ abilities. Sergio Martinez has been knocking out middleweights for years and showed enough power to keep even iron-chinned Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in check. With Cotto moving up in weight from super welterweight (154 lb) to middleweight (160 lb), it’s hard to see Miguel as the more powerful puncher between the two. If that is indeed the case, Miguel Cotto would be well-suited to shine in a different category. I think he’ll try to be the more active fighter, forcing his older foe to keep a taxing pace through twelve rounds.



My Prediction: No matter what the outcome is, this is going to be a dynamic, increasingly tense match up to its very conclusion. I think we’re going to see a very tactical opening round, with neither man really pressing the action as they feel out their opponent with jabs. Miguel Cotto will probably be the first to ratchet up the intensity of the action with combination punching and body attacks to wear Sergio down for later. Martinez is always happy to have a foe willing to risk his counter-punches, and I think he’ll try to land a big one on Cotto. I suspect that despite being the smaller man with less reach on his punches, Cotto will prefer a mid-range approach to an all-out inside assault, as he’ll probably want at least some moving room between himself and Martinez. If he can get Martinez up against the ropes we’ll see him rough up the champion much as he roughed up Floyd Mayweather in the middle rounds of that fight. If Cotto does take an all-out pressure approach, though, I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Sergio stand his ground and trade with Cotto to assert his presumed advantage in punching power. I think that punching power is going to be the difference in the fight. I don’t usually go for KO predictions, but this time I have a strong gut feeling that we’re going to see a return of the Martinez shot that iced Paul Williams back in 2010.

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The Ninth Layer
Jun 19, 2007

Timothy
"DESERT STORM"
Bradley


140 Pound Champ


Reserved for p4p list & other stuff.

thehappyprince
Apr 4, 2006


woah what a counter

doctor thodt
Apr 2, 2004



OMG!

Way to go Andy Lee!

LT.CrownRoast
Mar 20, 2009

by XyloJW


Holy poo poo, what a KO

The SituAsian
Oct 29, 2006

PLEASE WORK OUT

Fantastic as usual 9th but I would like to do some extended write ups (feature fighters, maybe Canelo-lara) to sharpen my writing mostly as time allows.

And goddamn Andy Lee

thehappyprince
Apr 4, 2006


that was such a good touch considering he looked hurt at the time as well

Slaine
Feb 26, 2001


Apparently now every big counter is like when JMM KO'd Pacquiao. Nice shot though.

The Ninth Layer
Jun 19, 2007

Timothy
"DESERT STORM"
Bradley


140 Pound Champ


The SituAsian posted:

Fantastic as usual 9th but I would like to do some extended write ups (feature fighters, maybe Canelo-lara) to sharpen my writing mostly as time allows.

And goddamn Andy Lee

We could trade off or something on the OP if you'd like haha. I'm also more than willing to put anything you write up into the OP later.

The SituAsian
Oct 29, 2006

PLEASE WORK OUT

The Ninth Layer posted:

We could trade off or something on the OP if you'd like haha. I'm also more than willing to put anything you write up into the OP later.

thanks man.

And you know you've had a bad round when you've been knocked down and you have a point taken away.

ozymandius1024
Mar 14, 2006

You don't yank on the Spine of God


The SituAsian posted:

And goddamn Andy Lee

Of course I went up to Taco Bell after like the 2nd round in that fight

Ninja PD
Jul 21, 2006


This kid is quick!

thehappyprince
Apr 4, 2006


is the main event next?

ForbiddenWonder
Feb 15, 2003



Yep.


Edit: aye mate

Ninja PD
Jul 21, 2006


What an awkward fight. The ref took a punch at the very end too haha

thehappyprince
Apr 4, 2006


lol the ref got hit. rode it well tho tbf

Ninja PD
Jul 21, 2006


Provodnikov is the best.

thehappyprince
Apr 4, 2006


i always think it's weird when they use clips from fights they lost in a fighters highlight reel

fake edit: cotto always looks so stylish. this is like a GQ fight

The SituAsian
Oct 29, 2006

PLEASE WORK OUT

Oh my goodness

thehappyprince
Apr 4, 2006


martinez confirmed for shot to poo poo

LT.CrownRoast
Mar 20, 2009

by XyloJW


Brutal from Cotto

Ninja PD
Jul 21, 2006


Is Sergios knee hosed?

The SituAsian
Oct 29, 2006

PLEASE WORK OUT

Father time is about to go 1-1

Slaine
Feb 26, 2001


Good god, I never would have predicted that. Roach was right, it looks like. Martinez looks done.

balancedbias
May 1, 2009


Well, mercy me. I mean, WOW. Cotto jumped him badly.

Hit Man
Mar 6, 2008
I hope after I die people will say of me: "That guy sure owed me a lot of money."

drat this is gonna be quick

Slaine
Feb 26, 2001


Sergio wearing the biggest pants in middleweight history.

doctor thodt
Apr 2, 2004



gently caress me, this is hard to watch.

thehappyprince
Apr 4, 2006


Slaine posted:

Sergio wearing the biggest pants in middleweight history.

lennox lewis type poo poo

Jiro
Jan 12, 2004



Jesus how is Martinez still able to stand?

balancedbias
May 1, 2009


Martinez's legs are the equivalent of the tin man needing oil. He looks a bit better now.

The Ninth Layer
Jun 19, 2007

Timothy
"DESERT STORM"
Bradley


140 Pound Champ


Well uhh yeah I guess Sergio wasn't bluffing about all those injuries in camp. Cotto looking like a beast here too.

Jiro
Jan 12, 2004



Why is Martinez wearing Shaq's short shorts?

Edit: What injuries?

Slaine
Feb 26, 2001


Sergio's legs may be shot, but Cotto will gas around round 7 or 8, so that will be window of opportunity maybe.

Jack of Hearts
Sep 6, 2010



Maravilla

doctor thodt
Apr 2, 2004



RIP Sergio. It was brilliant while it lasted. You'll always be one of my favorites.

The Ninth Layer
Jun 19, 2007

Timothy
"DESERT STORM"
Bradley


140 Pound Champ


Jiro posted:

Why is Martinez wearing Shaq's short shorts?

Edit: What injuries?

Martinez said in some pre - fight videos that throughout training camp he was in nearly constant pain. I've been hoping that he was exaggerating

Hit Man
Mar 6, 2008
I hope after I die people will say of me: "That guy sure owed me a lot of money."

Gennady having a good time imagining the fights he'll never get.

Jiro
Jan 12, 2004



Is it too much to ask for Futurama head in a jar George Foreman and whoever else was doing the Howard Kosell impression?

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Shankel Magnus
Jul 4, 2007



Wait...did Roy just give some advice when an older guy should call it quits?

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