Quijano: Legless Martinez no match for Cotto

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By Jingo Quijano

Last Round

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


THEY say that the devil is in the details. In Sergio Martinez’ case, almost everyone who predicted he would win against Miguel Cotto, (this Last Rounder included) completely overlooked the devilish little detail that he had surgery on his right knee after each of his last two fights.

For a fighter who does almost all of his work with his feet, that was a death sentence.

THE FIGHT. In the first round, Martinez’ infirmity immediately registered when he wobbled after the first crisp left hook that Miguel Cotto landed.

An excellent finisher, Cotto pounced on his wounded quarry, and this resulted to three knockdowns in the very first round.

Martinez was lucky there was no three knockdown rule in effect, otherwise, the fight could have ended in less than three minutes.

The second and third were more of the same, sans the knockdowns. Martinez could not get out of harm’s way and Cotto found a home for his vaunted left hook.

Martinez got off some decent jabs and left hands in the middle rounds, but there was not much behind those blows and Cotto continued to punish him.

At the end of the eight round, Martinez’s right eye was swollen and looked like a tired, beaten fighter. If the fight was stopped at that point, I don’t think anybody could have complained.

But Martinez soldiered on and suffered another knockdown in the ninth round. Mercifully, his corner did not allow him to come out for the 10th.

ANALYSIS. A terrible, one-sided beatdown is rarely accomplished through the efforts of the winning fighter alone.

Usually the other fighter contributes through some measure of ineptitude and in Martinez’ case, his body breaking down on him caused the infirmity.

This is not to take anything away from Cotto who looked in fine form and who executed the gameplan perfectly, but the Martinez who showed up bore no resemblance to the pound for pound entrant we have come to know all these years.

Without his legs, gone was the torque behind his punches. Gone too , was the lateral movement as couldn’t push off his feet like he used to.

The flashy moves and the highlight reel combinations were noticeably absent. Instead, Martinez hobbled and tottered like Lebron James in the 4th quarter of Game 1 against the San Antonio Spurs.

Perhaps the writing was on the wall when Martinez suffered knockdowns in each of his last four fights, but because he always seemed to recover brilliantly, we always thought there was something left in that tank.

And that my dear Last Rounders is why Father Time is an undefeated fighter.

SONSONA. In the undercard, Marvin Sonsona got his revenge when he scored a split decision victory over Wilfredo Vasquez Jr. , the only fighter to place a blemish on his record.

Sonsona scored a knockdown in the first round courtesy of a body shot, but he was unable to follow it up with anything significant. He looked impressive at times when he was attacking, but when Vasquez was backing him up, his porous defense was on full display.

Still, it was a win over a quality fighter and more importantly, I think Sonsona needed that victory over Vasquez to repair his psyche. After that 2010 loss, Marvin went into a funk and it took him a long time to recover his focus.

Let’s hope he parlay sthis victory on an internationally televised pay -per- view card into something more spectacular the next time around.

VERBATIM. “I do all my work with my feet” -Sergio Gabriel Martinez (sports.yahoo.com)

LAST ROUNDS. Are on Janika Marini Ong who celebrates her birthday this week and baby sister, Jasmine Mandy Ong who will be welcomed to the Christian world. Cheers!

(jingo_quijano@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 11, 2014.

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