By Mark Vester
Joe Grier, trainer for WBA junior middleweight champion Yuri Foreman, says Miguel Cotto will be shocked if he expects an easy fight on June 5 in Yankee Stadium. Grier believes Cotto's team, and Top Rank, picked Foreman because they viewed him as a "safe option."
Cotto has taken a lot of damage in his recent fights with Antonio Margarito, Joshua Clottey and Manny Pacquiao. Foreman is not a big puncher and doesn't have a lot of knockouts on his record. Grier is teaching Foreman to sit down on his punches for a much harder effect. Foreman showed his power in last year's title win against Daniel Santos, who is regarded as a puncher. Foreman had Santos in trouble several times and nearly put him away.
"They weren’t looking for a real hardcore fight for Cotto after what he’s been through. They think this is a safe fight for him, a fight that they can win in a safe manner. That’s not necessarily so. As you saw in the Santos fight, Yuri’s starting to learn how to do a lot of different things, including punching. He’s one of the most intelligent boxers on the planet right now. They’ll learn one way or the other to respect him," Grier told BoxingScene.com's Keith Idec.
Grier is not bothered by Emanuel Steward's decision to join Cotto's camp as the head trainer. Steward had originally offered his services to the team of Foreman, but then turned around and went with Cotto. As Idec mapped out, Steward had issues in the past when working side by side with other trainers. Steward had clashed often with the late Oscar Suarez when the two of them were training Naseem Hamed.
"We don’t need chaos in our camp," Grier said. "I’m pleased that it worked out the way that it did. This isn’t being overconfident, but I don’t believe at this point we need Emanuel to come in and save our lives. I was little disappointed when I first heard that he was coming to help us out, to make him different, to make him better than what he is."
"I think that job has already been done with the team that we have. Everyone has worked tremendously hard to get Yuri to where he is right now. And by him winning a title, it proved that we’re on the right track."
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