Foreman, Cotto all set for Yankee Stadium slugfest

A tale of polar opposite fighters.

By JOSEPH D. ROBBINS, JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
June 4, 2010 05:42
3 minute read.
Yuri Foreman

Yuri Foreman 311 ap. (photo credit: AP)

NEW YORK – When defending super welterweight world champion Yuri Foreman and three-time champion Miguel Cotto take the ring for their title bout at Yankee Stadium Saturday night, it will be a tale of polar opposite fighters.

One is the defending champion, a Belarusian-born Israeli who lives in Brooklyn and is training to become a rabbi. The other is the challenger, Puerto Rico’s own native son who has sold more boxing tickets in New York City over the past decade than any other fighter.

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The champ is a technical fighter, a man who relies on fundamentals, old-fashioned boxing and both his height and reach advantages to tactically do away with opponents.

It is the primary reason he is 28-0, despite the underwhelming power that has led to just eight knockouts as a professional.

The challenger is a fierce puncher whose immense power and ability to pressure opponents in the ring have resulted in knockouts of 27 of the 34 fighters he has defeated.

Both fighters are 29 years of age, but even this seems irrelevant as they are at such different places in their careers. In Cotto’s last fight, he was utterly dominated for the final nine rounds, before ultimately being knocked out by pound-for-pound champ Manny Pacquiao in the final round.

It was Cotto’s second loss in his last four bouts, after beginning his career with a stellar 32-0 record.

While Cotto appears to be on the decline, Foreman seems to be at the peak of his career, after winning a unanimous decision over Daniel Santos to claim his title belt.

Cotto was beaten badly in his two losses, left bloodied, swollen and en route to the hospital for precautionary measures.

He was no match for Pacquiao’s superior speed, which effectively neutralized Cotto’s offensive firepower.

While Cotto lost in dominating fashion, it was to one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world. He has fought most of the big names in boxing, and until 2008 he had dispatched them all.

Foreman, on the other hand, has taken criticism for not fighting anybody of note, with his only true quality win coming over Santos in November. This is the reason he sought out Cotto, and it is the reason the fight is so big for both fighters.

Cotto needs a win to right his career and have any shot at a potential rematch with Pacquiao this November. Foreman needs the victory to silence the critics and prove once and for all he can fight, regardless of whom he has or has not yet faced in the ring.

Overall, the outcome of the fight will come down to a few key factors:  How well Foreman can use his four-inch height and five-inch reach advantages, whether Cotto is able to fight his fight and have the opportunity to unleash his furious hooks and whether Cotto actually has anything left in the tank.

In a column on Foreman’s amazing progress, Yahoo! Sports Boxing Guru Kevin Iole wrote that Foreman “is going to be very a difficult opponent for Cotto.”

“Cotto loves to pressure, but Foreman is a superb boxer and knows well how to take the airs out of the tires.”

Although the oddsmakers in Las Vegas have Cotto as the heavy favorite heading into the fight, the experts are pretty evenly split in their predictions on who will win the fight.

The fans around the Internet however, are largely in favor of Cotto, speaking to his celebrity as one of the top names in boxing, and Foreman’s relative obscurity despite his title belt.

On Saturday night, two fighters will face off for the first fight at Yankee Stadium in 34 years, in front of a largely Puerto Rican and Jewish crowd.

One will come in as a former champ trying to restore his glory, the other, an up-and-coming champ working on legitimizing his legacy.

Both will enter the ring as contenders with everything to lose. Only one will leave a champion.

Joseph D. Robbins will be tweeting live from Saturday night’s fight at Yankee Stadium. Follow him on Twitter for live round-by-round updates at www.twitter.com/joeandthepro


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