Sergio Martinez-Miguel Cotto confirmed for June 7
Sergio Martinez (51-2-2, 28 KO's) will make the seventh defence of his WBC middleweight title against Miguel Cotto (38-4, 31 KO's), it was formally announced on Thursday.
Negotiations for the June 7 fight at Madison Square Garden in New York have been protracted with Cotto's team reportedly digging their heels in.
However, the 39-year-old champion has resolved to 'give Cotto everything he wants' to make the bout happen, including the first name in the billing of the fight.
Martinez has been knocked down in his last three fights against Matthew Macklin, Julio Cesar Chavez jnr and Martin Murray, but came away with the win on each occasion.
But with injuries keeping him out of the ring since last April the crown sits uneasily on the Argentinian - although Cotto is no spring chicken either.
At 33, the Puerto Rican has enjoyed a stellar career that has seen him reign in three weight classes, however numerous hard fights have taken their toll of late.
Cotto snapped a two-fight losing streak with victory over the unheralded Delvin Rodriguez in October, although that fight - his first under trainer Freddie Roach - proved that the veteran still had plenty to offer.
And he is looking forward to fighting for the ninth time in New York, in front of his huge fan base.
"I am very happy to be back again to my second home, Madison Square Garden in New York, to once again make history in front of my fans," said Cotto.
"I will be ready and prepared to do whatever it takes to bring the WBC middleweight title of the world to my country of Puerto Rico."
Southpaw Martinez is also looking forward to what could be his swansong.
"It has been my dream to fight in the big room at Madison Square Garden, a place where many great fighters have showcased their talents," he said.
It will be Cotto's first fight at middleweight and a catchweight of 159lb - just one pound under the division's normal limit - has been agreed.