One of the most intriguing matches of the year will be held on June 7 at Madison Square Garden in New York, when Miguel Cotto moves up to middleweight to challenge Sergio Martinez for the WBC 160-pound title in the main event of a card to be televised on HBO Pay-Per-View.
Cotto, who is coming off of an impressive third-round knockout of Delvin Rodriguez on Oct. 5, will be bidding for a world title in a fourth weight class. The 2000 Olympian from Puerto Rico has held world championships at super lightweight, welterweight and middleweight.
Rodriguez is not nearly as highly regarded as Martinez, but Cotto (38-4, 31 KOs) worked with veteran trainer Freddie Roach for that bout and Roach appeared to get Cotto to revert to his old form. Cotto had lost back-to-back decisions, to Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Austin Trout, and then hired Roach.
Working with Roach seemed to revitalize Cotto, who went hard to the body consistently against Rodriguez.
It won't be quite as simple against Martinez, a marvelous athlete whose quickness and movement figure to give Cotto plenty of problems. But Martinez has suffered a series of injuries and hasn't fought since an April 27, 2013, victory over Martin Murray in Argentina that ran his record to 51-2-2 with 28 knockouts.
Martinez has won seven in a row since losing a highly disputed majority decision to Paul Williams in a Dec. 5, 2009, bout. Martinez, though, knocked out Williams in the second in the rematch.
Madison Square Garden is expected to be sold out with more than 20,000 in attendance for the bout.
The bout guarantees a major pay-per-view boxing show for the fourth month in a row. Canelo Alvarez and Alfredo Angulo will meet on Showtime pay-per-view on March 8 in Las Vegas. Manny Pacquiao returns on April 12 in Las Vegas on HBO Pay-Per-View when he fights a rematch with Timothy Bradley.
On May 3, Floyd Mayweather Jr. will face an unnamed opponent, likely either Marcos Maidana or Amir Khan, in a Showtime pay-per-view bout in Las Vegas. And then Martinez-Cotto will wrap up that run in New York on June 7.
No undercard bouts have been announced for the Martinez-Cotto show.