Advertisement
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com

Yuri Foreman-Miguel Cotto: The Pre-Fight Report Card

By Cliff Rold

Boxing makes its return to the fabled grounds of Yankee Stadium with a fight which, while heavy in question marks, also carries the look of a possible reclamation project.  Despite holding a belt from a so-called major sanctioning body, 154-lb. beltholder Yuri Foreman carries a knockout percentage far enough below fifty percent to look safe as the business of Miguel Cotto reaches to stay vibrant.

A member of the 2000 Puerto Rican Olympic team, Miguel Cotto has become a staple of the June sporting landscape in the Big Apple.  For the fifth time since 2005, Cotto headlines; for the first of those five, it won’t play the main arena at Madison Square Garden. 

34 years without boxing at Yankee Stadium ends with Cotto-Foreman.  That’s star power.

As was the case in each of the last four June outings, the story of the fight heading the marquee is a rich one.  In 2005, it was about revenge against the man who eliminated him in Sydney, Muhammad Abdullaev (Cotto TKO9).  In 2006, it was about an adopted New Yorker versus a native son in Paulie Malignaggi (Cotto UD12).  2007 was more of the same with the added allure of whether former Welterweight king Zab Judah could seize back a spiraling career (he couldn’t; Cotto TKO11).

Following a summer away in Las Vegas which saw Cotto suffer his first defeat at the hands of Antonio Margarito, Cotto returned in June 2009 to answer the question of whether he could rebound from that defeat against a genuine threat.  The answer was sort of, Cotto managing a split decision over tough Joshua Clottey, keeping him unblemished in the NYC (7-0 overall).

His popularity is easy to understand.  All of those battles were memorable, crowd pleasing affairs.  Cotto rarely makes anything less no matter the location.  Foreman, despite a style only a purist can love, will be forced to work on Saturday, likely to leave the ring having been in the most fan friendly bout of his career. 

As Cotto aims for a belt in his third weight class, can the newly minted Jr. Middleweight beltholder also manage to leave the ring with his biggest win to date?

Let’s go to the report card.

The Ledgers

Yuri Foreman
Age: 29
Title: WBA Jr. Middleweight (2009-Present, 1st Attempted Defense)
Height: 5’11
Weight: 154
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 154.15 lbs.
Hails From: Brooklyn, New York (Born in Belarus)
Record: 28-0, 8 KO
Record in Major Title Fights: 1-0
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Defeated: 1 (Daniel Santos)

Vs.

Miguel Cotto
Age: 29
Title: None
Previous Titles: WBO Welterweight (2009, 1 Defense); WBA Welterweight (2006-08, 4 Defenses); WBO Jr. Welterweight (2004-06, 6 Defenses)
Height: 5’7
Weight: 153.5 lbs.
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 146.3 lbs.
Hails from: Caguas, Puerto Rico
Record: 34-2, 27 KO
Record in Major Title Fights: 14-2, 11 KO, 2 KOBY
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Defeated: 11 (Cesar Bazan, Carlos Maussa, Lovemore N’Dou, Randall Bailey, DeMarcus Corley, Ricardo Torres, Paulie Malignaggi, Carlos Quintana, Zab Judah, Shane Mosley, Joshua Clottey)
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced in Defeat: 1 (Antonio Margarito, Manny Pacquiao)

Grades
Pre-Fight: Speed – Foreman B+; Cotto B
Pre-Fight: Power – Foreman C-; Cotto B+
Pre-Fight: Defense – Foreman B; Cotto B-
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Foreman B; Cotto B+

Foreman, dubbed by Maxboxing scribe Steve Kim as “Boreman” in recent years, is an underrated talent.  Underrated doesn’t erase that he’s still largely unproven or mean he’s better than just pretty good.  His jab, hold, and move approach hasn’t been aesthetically appealing but it’s won so far. 

Against Santos, Foreman’s title win and last outing, the veteran Puerto Rican was visibly frustrated with the style, chasing far too often and even being stung by blind shots.  Because the jab of Foreman is so quick, and the right hand launched at some odd arcs, it is a style which could wreak havoc on the rhythm of Cotto. 

Cotto is a fighter who, even after a decade in the pro ranks, still struggles to meld his offense and defense into a single package.  He’s usually in one pose or the other, meaning his transitions can be timed.  If Foreman establishes the jab, his rabbit feet could have him long out of range before Cotto is ready to launch.  If this becomes a pattern in the fight, Cotto could find himself having to come from behind to win.  It remains to be seen if new trainer Emmanuel Steward has added wrinkles to Cotto to avoid the dilemma.

To slow down Foreman, Cotto will have to stick with what has made him the fighter he’s been at his best.  He has to stick with an assault to the flanks.  Foreman may be used to men natural to Jr. Middleweight, but outside Santos he hasn’t seen anyone in live fire with the pop Cotto carries…if Cotto can carry it up another class.  Cotto hasn’t scored a knockout against anyone worth noting since Judah in 2007.  Foreman will provide the evidence of whether he’s really worth noting more than Michael Jennings or Alfonso Gomez (Cotto’s last stoppage victims) in the ring. 

While the win over Santos was quality on paper, the then-34 year old hadn’t been in the ring in well over a year when he faced Foreman and only once in more than two years prior at all.  Was Foreman’s biggest win partly a result of rust?  Foreman doesn’t have any other wins which would be noted as coming against more than fringe players (though Anthony Thompson and Saul Roman weren’t pushovers).  Fans can’t really know how much stuff he has just yet.

Cotto is more proven in terms of intangibles, for better and worse.  His heart and willingness for battle are obvious.  His chin should hold up fine against a Foreman caliber shot.  However, he’s also shown a propensity to swell, to cut, and to fade as fights wear on.  If Foreman can cut him, obscure his vision, could his quick, cute punches tell the tale? 

The Pick

The cut factor could be huge on Saturday night.  Foreman’s lack of power is enough to envision Cotto eventually steamrolling him, but at Jr. Welterweight Malignaggi won his share of rounds simply by being willing to box and taking his lumps.  That was a better, fresher Cotto than Foreman will face and the size quotient favored Cotto then.  If Cotto is cut in the first half, and Foreman can take Cotto’s left hook (body or head), all bets are off.

With skin still intact as the seconds tick to the opening bell, the bet still lies with Cotto.  The left is going to land, as will his strong right.  Even if he’s chasing Foreman in spots, he’ll be the aggressor and as the crowd favorite that should help in close scored rounds.  There is also the chance he just rolls.  If some comparison can be made to the Malignaggi fight, there is also a parallel to Cotto’s last rise in weight.  In 2006, he moved to Welterweight for Carlos Quintana, a fighter whose jab and slickness could have pose problem.  They didn’t.  Again, this probably isn’t as good a Cotto as seen then, but Foreman hasn’t shown to be quite on Quintana’s level either.

What Foreman does well, he does well.  Cotto can say the same, and he does more things well.  Throw in a sizable gap in experience and this looks like a fairly competitive but ultimately decisive win for Cotto either by decision or stoppage in the second half.

Report Card Picks 2010: 14-10

Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at [email protected]

Tags:
User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by StrangerInTown on 06-05-2010

[QUOTE=jasbar;8547537]Cotto will lose. He doesnt belong at 154, he will be so slow that Foreman will hit him at will.[/QUOTE] The most interesting elements of this match up are the intangables. Cotto has taken some massive beatings. Foreman does not…

Comment by RR_1988 on 06-05-2010

Cotto by 9th round KO. I'm even leaning as low as the 7th round. I don't know why everyone is on Foremans nuts. He is a bum that beat a bigger bum (Santos). Remember how Jennings was suppose to be…

Comment by Machingo69 on 06-05-2010

Since Foreman is obviously the much taller fighter, Cotto should unload his left and right hooks on Foremans body so he could take the gas out of him and then go in for the kill in the later rounds. Foreman…

Comment by crold1 on 06-05-2010

[QUOTE=Valero 27-0;8547562]southpaw jab of foreman.........foreman isn't a southpaw[/QUOTE] You're right. I was watching the Santos fight and got the stances confused in my head while I was writing. Being fixed.

Comment by aztecadq on 06-05-2010

Cotto should definitely win this fight. Cotto's power will go up with him at 154. Also Cotto has a huge edge in EXPERIENCE in these big Championship fights.

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (11)
Top Headlines Claressa Shields vs. Nikki Adler For WBC Title, August 4 on ShoBox De La Hoya: I Actually Hope Mayweather-McGregor is Good Fight Rigondeaux: I'll Sign Contract For Magdaleno Faster Than UPS! Easter: I'll Make it Look Easy and Will Be First To KO Shafikov Mikey Garcia: I'd Be 'A Huge Star in Boxing' If Not for Long Layoff Horn, Promoter Slam Pacquiao For Texting During Entire Presser An Opportunity for Jerwin Ancajas To Impress on Pacquiao Card UK News: Scott Fitzgerald, Ryan Burnett, Ted Cheeseman Roach Warns Horn: This is Going To Be a Short and Sweet KO! Hassan N’Dam vs. Ryota Murata Rematch - Purse Bid on July 7 Jamie Cox, Erik Skoglund Join World Boxing Super Series WBC Prez Smiles To Canelo: We Will Still Sanction Golovkin Bout! Romero Duno Heads To United States To Train For Next Fight Photos: Pacquiao, Horn - Go Face To Face at Final Presser! Ryan Martin: Time To Prove That I'm a Real Deal Fighter Giovanni Santillan is Aiming To Knock Sammy Valentin Out Hopkins on GGG: There Will Be Blood, Mostly on Canelo's Shorts Miguel Cruz Drops Alex Martin Twice, Wins Decision in Rematch Nacho Believes Golden Boy Won't Allow Cotto-Marquez Clash Abel Sanchez: Shafikov Has "Extremely Tough" Task With Easter Horn: I Like Being Told I Stand No Chance Against Pacquiao Bob Arum: Blame Me if Pacquiao-Horn Isn't a Competitive Fight! Diego De La Hoya Ready For Battle in San Luis, Argentina Povetkin Back in Good Graces of The WBA, WBO, Says Ryabinsky Smith: Don't Think I'm Getting Deserved Credit for KO of Hopkins Pacquiao Not Looking Past Horn, But Wants Mayweather Rematch Charlo-Heiland, Washington-Miller Set For Broner-Garcia Card Mikey Garcia: Unless a Lucky Punch, I Don't See How Broner Wins Antoine Douglas vs. Bruno Sandoval Set For July 14th Roach: To Get Mayweather, Pacquiao Must Impress With Horn Sergey Kovalev Eyes New Trainer, Move To New Weight Class Photos: Vijender Singh, Zulpikar Maimaitiali - Go Face To Face Marco Huck is Pumped To Join World Boxing Super Series Uzcategui's Agent on Dirrell Rematch Order, Lawson Court Case Arum: Pacquiao-Horn on ESPN is "a Gift" for Boxing Fans Pacquiao's Future, Beyond Horn, is Uncertain at The Moment Broner Wishes He Had Always Trained as Hard as Mayweather Tyson Fury: Klitschko Let Joshua Off The Hook After Knockdown Roach: If Pacquiao Struggles With Horn, Might Be Time To Retire Tim Tszyu Will Now Face Chris Khan, Nathan Webber is Out
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement