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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Bizarre End to Foreman's Reign

Yuri Foreman lost his WBA little middleweight title to Miguel Cotto Saturday night after a bizarre finish to an otherwise entertaining fight.

With 2:15 left in the 7th Round, Foreman's right knee, which already donned a brace, gave out. Foreman, who relies on constant movement to keep his opponent off balance, hobbled for the rest of the fight. About 30 seconds after the contest restarted, Foreman slipped in the corner, further damaging his knee.

With 1:15 left in the 8th round, a white towel flew from Foreman's corner. The fight appeared to be over. Throngs of ringside observers poured into the ring. But Arthur Mercante Jr., one of the best referees in the business, decided the contest should continue. After about a three minute delay, Cotto and Foreman began to exchange once again.

It was an overwhelmingly pro-Cotto crowd for the first fight at the new Yankee Stadium. June 5th was a muggy sticky night in the Bronx. Only a smattering of fans came out to support the lesser-known Foreman.

Foreman looked tense at the outset of the fight. His lateral movement was unproductive and Cotto, displaying much improved footwork and boxing technique, established himself early. Foreman got into the fight in the 3rd round. In the 4th, despite receiving a bloody nose, Foreman repeatedly found success with rights to Cotto's face.

But in the 5th, Cotto took back control. The knee injury in the 7th effectively ended Foreman's chances to win. Foreman, however, refused to give in. Unable to move in his customary fashion, Foreman traded with the more-powerful Cotto. Paramount in Mercante's decision to continue the fight in the 8th was Foreman's insistence that he wanted to keep going.

Cotto landed a bruising left hook to Foreman's body in the 9th, and Mercante immediately ceased the bout. While Cotto (35-2, 28 KOs) won the belt, Foreman (28-1, 8 KOs) won a great deal of respect, even from the discerning Puerto Rican fans in attendance, for failing to give in when he was in trouble.

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