By Mark Vester
Trainer Emanuel Steward expects former champion Miguel Cotto to shock the critics with han impressive performance this Saturday against WBA junior middleweight champion Yuri Foreman at New York's Yankee Stadium. Everyone wants to see what Cotto has left in the tank after taking a lot of punishment against several recent opponents like Manny Pacquiao, Joshua Clottey and Antonio Margarito.
Steward expects a very difficult fight. He received warnings from boxing legends Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns. They told Steward he was in for a long night.
"Everyone is focused on what Miguel has left and his style. Regardless of what preparation you have, Yuri is a very talented and underappreciated fighter who has an extremely difficult style for anyone and recently when I was in Vegas for the Mayweather-Mosley fight and I was speaking to Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns and they said I got my hands full. As good as Miguel will look it will always be a tough fight because of his style," Steward said.
Steward's plan is to get Cotto back to his come forward style that broke down quick boxers like Zab Judah and Paulie Malignaggi. While he expects Foreman to use his legs often in the fight, Steward predicts that at some point, Cotto will catch up to him. He says people are underestimating Cotto's speed.
"The opponent is very difficult, but in the past, Miguel has had great success with speed opponents by cutting down the guys, whether it was Zab Judah or Paulie Malignaggi. All of those guys he had great success against by cutting off the ring," Steward said.
"Right now, the way Miguel has been looking, it is going to be very hard for Yuri to stay away from Miguel for 12 rounds because Miguel is looking very fast with his feet right now and his combinations are wicked and his punching is awesome so I think it’s going to be a great fight, maybe in the mode of a Dempsey and Tunney situation. I think Miguel is a lot faster than a lot of people will expect from this fight. We know that Yuri is fast but Miguel is going to surprise a lot of people wit his speed."
Cotto is not the only one being underestimated. Steward thinks Foreman's punching power is being a bit underestimated. Too many people are placing their focus on Foreman's unbeaten record, which only has eight knockouts. Steward has prepared Cotto for an opponent who has good power in his punches.
"I don’t feel that he has great punching power but it is much better than people give him credit for. I was at a lot of his fights…the fighters he didn’t knock out were the fighters no one was knocking out. I think he is a much better puncher than people give him credit for. Any time a fighter has fast hands and can close his hands a little bit, it creates power," Steward said.
"Yuri closes his hands and punches very fast to be dangerous. You can make a mistake coming in and get hit with a clean shot with one you don’t see. He punches much better than his record indicates."
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