Miguel Cotto and Sergio Martinez set June 7 date at Madison Square Garden
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It's a fight that probably could have happened a couple of years ago, but the politics of boxing, as usual, kept it from occurring in a timely fashion.
Miguel Cotto finally will fight WBC middleweight champion Sergio Martinez on Saturday, June 7 at Madison Square Garden live on HBO pay-per-view.
The bout will be at a catchweight of 159 lbs.
The negotiations were long and contentious, which rubbed Martinez the wrong way.
During a sit-down with media members at the Garden on Tuesday, Martinez referred to Cotto as a "little girl," citing Cotto's arrogance as the reason for the rough negotiations.
Cotto, according to Martinez and his promoter, Lou DiBella, was adamant that he get top billing on the promotions, as well as a bigger share of the take. Although Martinez, 39, is the division champion, Cotto, 33, is expected to be the bigger draw, especially with the fight taking place during Puerto Rican Day parade weekend.
Cotto confirmed his insistence on being top dog during his roundtable talk with reporters, saying Martinez needs to learn that "boxing is a business."
Martinez's animosity toward Cotto stems from a meeting at a Mexican television studio several years ago. Martinez said he didn't like the way Cotto was treating people and felt disrespected.
Cotto said he didn't recall the incident, but denied not treating people with respect.
Aside from the obvious tension, there are several issues surrounding both fighters.
Cotto (38-4), looking to become the first Puerto Rican boxer to become a four-division champion, has lost two of his last three fights. He was victorious in his latest bout, a third-round TKO over Delvin Rodriguez on Oct. 5.
Martinez (51-2-2), although undefeated in his last seven fights, has had three surgeries on his right knee in the last 18 months. The operations have prevented him from doing normal road work during his training. But he's confident the knee will be able to withstand the fight.
"In two weeks I'll be in perfect shape," said Martinez, who plans on resuming his roadwork on April 1.
The knee troubles intensified for Martinez around the time he fought Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on Sept. 15, 2012.
"Up to the Chavez fight I was doing regular road work," he said. "But after the Chavez fight, because of what the medical staff told me, I had two surgeries on my right knee and I need time for it to heal."