Oscar hops on the phone, Martinez gets his man, and the Cotto-Margarito war begins early

By Kieran Mulvaney

Kieran Mulvaney reads between the lines of a few of the latest stories in the boxing…

Photo: Will HartThey Said: Nine days after his controversial knockout by Floyd Mayweather, Victor Ortiz held a conference call with reporters on Monday. Ortiz insisted that the knockout blow, which came while Ortiz was evidently trying to apologize (for the third time, it should be emphasized) for a headbutt that had just earned him a point deduction, was “a cheap shot.” Mayweather, he insisted, “is not respected by me and never will be in my eyes as a pound-for-pound fighter.”

I Say: That call, which also included Ortiz’s manager and his promoter Oscar De La Hoya, all three insisting that Ortiz was winning the fight until the knockout and demanding a rematch, was ill-advised. Ortiz lost virtually every moment of that fight; he needs simply to accept he was taught a painful but valuable lesson by a masterful veteran, pick up his career and fight his way back to the top. He’s done it before. He can do it again.

 

They Said: Speaking in advance of his middleweight title defense on HBO on Saturday, Sergio Martinez complimented Darren Barker for rising to the challenge. “The fact that Barker is willing to step up and put his undefeated record on the line shows you that he has a lot of heart and that he is a true warrior, which isn't the case for all fighters,” he said.

I Say: It’s a strange state of affairs when the middleweight champion has to express gratitude for having a willing challenger, but such is the curious case of Martinez. Several other potential opponents appeared to have other pressing appointments that prevented them from fighting for the middleweight crown, which is a sign of just how good Martinez is. Credit to Barker and his promoter, who threw down the gauntlet over Twitter, where it was rapidly picked up by Martinez and promoter Lou DiBella. (You can read more about the fight in Eric Raskin’s overview on HBO.com.)

 

They Said: “Just finished Cotto-Margarito II Face Off. Oh. My. God.” @Max_Kellerman, September 22.

I Say: The back story for the December 3 rematch between Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito writes itself: Margarito’s brutal beatdown victory was his finest hour but it was tarnished six months later by the discovery, prior to the Mexican’s fight against Shane Mosley, of tampered hand wraps. Cotto has long made it clear that he believes Margarito cheated against him that night in July 2008, and for years was unwilling to fight him again. As Kellerman’s tweet underlines, the hate between the two burns fiercely, increasing anticipation for the rematch two months from now.