Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Driven Cotto Suddenly a Box-Office Attraction

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Driven Cotto Suddenly a Box-Office Attraction

Article excerpt

NEW YORK - With a newly minted middleweight champion at his disposal, Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum seemed absolutely giddy early Sunday morning.

Just when it seemed Miguel Cotto's career was headed toward its twilight, the Puerto Rican icon's incredible performance against Argentina's Sergio Martinez (51-3-2, 28 KOs) made him one of boxing's most marketable men again. At 33, Cotto performed better than he did at 23, and against a favored WBC middleweight champion who supposedly was too big, too strong and too athletic for Cotto to conquer.

Almost defiantly, an invigorated Cotto crushed Martinez, who survived three first-round knockdowns and another trip to the canvas in the ninth before his trainer, Pablo Sarmiento, stopped the scheduled 12-round fight just as the 10th round started at Madison Square Garden.

The domination stunned even Arum, one of Cotto's staunchest supporters.

"I knew he would be in great shape and I knew he would give a great performance because I watched him at the Wild Card [Boxing Club]," Arum said. "But this was unbelievable. Maybe Martinez isn't the Martinez he was a few years ago, but Martinez couldn't do [anything] with him."

Arum seemingly can do anything he wants with Cotto (39-4, 32 KOs). Arum's Top Rank Inc. is working with Cotto on a handshake agreement, but the company has worked with Cotto for virtually all of his 13-year pro career and plans to promote Puerto Rico's first four-division champion when he makes his triumphant return to the ring sometime in December.

Because Cotto can fight at the middleweight limit of 160 pounds and junior middleweight (154), options are aplenty.

"I think there's Canelo," Arum said, referring to former 154- pound champion Saul "Canelo'' Alvarez. "Certainly, that would be a big, big fight. Another possibility would be Timothy Bradley. I'd like to see [Cotto] in with a good boxer. …

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