By Keith Idec

Yuri Foreman’s title fight against Erislandy Lara on Friday night represents an opportunity, however daunting an assignment, to rejuvenate the former 154-pound champion’s career.

The Belarus-born Foreman, 36, hasn’t had a fight anywhere near this magnitude since March 2011. Pawel Wolak stopped Foreman after six rounds in that scheduled 10-round fight, which Showtime televised from Las Vegas as part of a pay-per-view telecast that featured Miguel Cotto and Ricardo Mayorga in the main event.

The Brooklyn resident took nearly two years off from boxing thereafter. He is 6-0 since he came back in January 2013, but against journeymen.

Upsetting Lara, an astounding 100-1 favorite according to several Internet sports books, would move Foreman into position to participate in a super welterweight championship unification fight. This terrific opportunity came with a catch, though.

Foreman has to fight Lara on a Friday night, during Sabbath, Judaism’s period reserved for rest and worship. Away from the ring, Foreman is an observant Orthodox rabbi, which means he isn’t supposed to do much of anything from sundown Friday until sundown Saturday.

Participating in a boxing match certainly isn’t something observant orthodox Jews are supposed to do during Sabbath, thus Foreman had to think long and hard before accepting this 12-round fight for Lara’s WBA world super welterweight title Friday night in Hialeah, Florida.

“There’s logics and there’s the spiritual,” Foreman, who is married and has three sons, told “It’s a really, really deep question. There’s no yes or no answer to this. I would say this is a difficult choice I had to make. But if I wouldn’t have made this hard choice, it would’ve affected me negatively in my job, in my livelihood and with my family, which I cannot allow. So I had to make this choice.”

During his hiatus from boxing in 2011 and 2012, Foreman finished studying under Brooklyn-based rabbi DovBer Pinson to become a rabbi.

Spike will broadcast the fight between the Cuban-born Lara (23-2-2, 13 KOs) and Foreman (34-2, 10 KOs) as the main event of a doubleheader from Hialeah Park Racing & Casino, just outside of Miami. The telecast is set to start at 9 p.m. ET with a 10-rounder between former WBC super middleweight champion Anthony Dirrell (29-1-1, 23 KOs), of Flint, Michigan, and Hungary’s Norbert Nemesapati (24-4, 17 KOs).

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.