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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Steward's Concerned About Foreman

WBA light middleweight champion Yuri Foreman (28-0, 8 KOs) will face the toughest challenge of his career in two weeks. On June 5, 2010, he'll stand in the ring across Miguel Cotto (34-2, 27 KOs). In Cotto's corner will be legendary trainer, Emanuel Steward.

Steward, who originally agreed to consult Foreman before switching sides to train Cotto, sees it as a 50-50 fight. He told BoxingScene.com, "It's going to be a very tough fight. If I was making the decision, I would not have picked Foreman for his first fight back [since his brutal loss to Manny Pacquiao last November]."

The thought among many boxing writers is that Foreman is a slick boxer whose movement will give the power-punching Cotto headaches.

In an interview with East Side Boxing, Steward asserted, "The biggest problem in this fight for me is Yuri is such a good fighter himself. It’s not so much just what Miguel is doing, but Yuri Foreman is a very underappreciated fighter. I think his talent, his boxing skills, and his speed is totally unappreciated."

Cotto is clearly the more renowned fighter. Even before losing last November to Pacquiao- the pound-for-pound king- Cotto has faced a string of world class opponents over the past five years at junior welterweight and welterweight. This will be his first fight at 154 pounds. Foreman's biggest test to this point was against Daniel Santos last November for the title.

Steward continued, "I was talking with Sugar Ray Leonard. He said, ‘Steward, that’s one fighter that I would never have wanted to fight, even in prime.’ I said, ‘I know.’ Yuri Foreman’s going to be a very difficult fight for anyone.”

There is some question as to whether Cotto, 29, is still in his prime as he's participated in a number of violent contests. There is some concern that Cotto's skills have waned due to those bouts. He was beat into submission against Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito in 2008. He was cut against Joshua Clottey last summer and also took punishment against Shane Mosley and Zab Judah, both in 2007. Those three resulted in Cotto victories.

Foreman, 29, hasn't been in any wars. But some question as to whether he can test Cotto's chin. Foreman is not a knockout puncher. He's perceived to rely on his boxing skills, though he was able to knock Santos down twice in his last fight and was willing to trade with the tough Andrey Tsurkan in 2007.

Whether Steward's high compliments are genuine or a bit of gamesmanship, it is difficult to tell. But, in any event, this bout, which has been dubbed The Stadium Slugfest and will be televised on HBO, is extremely intriguing.

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