Tough for Cookie
Glenn McCrory expects unbeaten Roman Martinez to give Nicky Cook a tricky baptism as world champion.
Last Updated: 13/03/09 8:22am
The real world title test for Nicky Cook starts now.
To my mind, this will be his first proper test at this level, because Alex Arthur hadn't really won the world title properly - never mind how he conceded it rather meekly.
Cook can consider this his first real fight for the WBO super-featherweight belt and at a glance, it looks a dangerous one.
I don't know a great deal about Roman Martinez, but I do know he is unbeaten and when I was fighting myself, the first thing I would look for was if a possible opponent had been beaten - and stopped in particular.
You know that if a guy has been stopped, it can happen again. You know if they have been beatent they can only operate to a certain level and that you're best could be too good. But when a guy has neither been stopped or beaten, you never know how good they really are.
Has that fighter been fighting flat out to the best of his ability? Or has he just been going at 60 per cent and is there still a lot more to come form him?
That is the problem Cook has with Martinez. Looking down his record he hasn't exactly been fighting losing fighters as well and you have to give anyone who comes from Puerto Rico respect.
They are not as naturally tough as the Mexicans or maybe not as slick as the Cubans as a nation of boxers, but they do tend to be hard men and they also have scope for a little more flair.
Of course, this is a sweeping generalisation and I don't know what Martinez is like, but Puerto Rican boxing will be on a high after Miguel Cotto's return to form and one thing that Cook will find out is that every fight at this level is tough. Really tough.
All of a sudden he's out there in the big, wide world and everyone is gunning for him and his belt.
That is why this will be his first real test at this level. I like Alex Arthur and consider him a pal, but I wasn't that impressed with his performance against Cook.
You don't give up your world title and arrange a dinner date with the guy who takes it off you halfway through the fight! You put everything on the line to keep hold of that belt, and that is something Cook will find out from here on in.
Sometimes winning a world title can be the making of a fighter and I am sure Nicky will come into this even more confident than he was before.
We know he will be well-prepared as well and I do like the way he and his dad Paul seem to come up with gameplans and by and large, stick to them.
They work well as a team and I am sure they have seen Martinez and will have a plan to take care of him as well.
You've got to say Cook winning the world title was overshadowed by Amir Khan's sensational loss to Breidis Prescott, but I am delighted to see him in the big time.
He has worked so hard for this and is one of the game's nice guys. You don't hear him shouting his mouth off and you never see him cutting corners.
Everything Nicky Cook has earned, he has deserved - and I hope he gets a few more paydays yet.
But like I say, now is when he will find out just what it's like to box for a world title - and defend it!