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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Foreman to Face Erislandy Lara

Yuri Foreman is set to fight Erislandy Lara, the Transnational Boxing Ratings third ranked junior middleweight in the world. Foreman has only fought twice in the past three years; both were against inferior opponents.

Lara (23-2-2, 13 KOs) is  even better than his record suggests. His two losses, a 2011 majority decision loss to Paul Williams and a 2014 split decision defeat to Canelo Alvarez, were both questionable. Lara used the counter overhand left to pummel Williams to the point where outside observers feared for the lanky lefty's safety. The judges who scored the fight were suspended for their scores. The fight against Canelo was more competitive, but Lara's masterful defense and precise counters seemed to be enough to give the Cuban the victory.

If Foreman (34-2, 10 KOs) is sharp, he is an expert boxer who can control a fight with his jab and has deceptive power. His movement often keeps opponents off balance. Against Miguel Cotto in 2009, Foreman showed an other-worldly toughness by fighting on despite a torn ACL.

But Foreman has a couple of disadvantages. Lara has been far more active recently. He has fought six times since December 2013 while Foreman has only entered the ring twice in the same span. Lara has also faced the tougher competition. In addition to Canelo and Paul Williams, Lara has faced Austin Trout, Alfredo Angulo, Vanes Martirosyan (twice), Jan Zaveck, Ishe Smith, and Carlos Molina- all since 2011. Foreman has fought world class competition in his own right, but not since 2011.

Lara, a 33 year old southpaw, has a three year age advantage and a more prolific amateur career than Foreman. Yuri has a two inch height advantage, but Lara has a two inch reach advantage according to BoxRec.

This fight could end up being a strategic battle. Foreman's best shot is movement and activity. If he can grab each round by outworking Lara with the jab, he can pull of an upset decision. Lara lost decisions against Williams and Alvarez because he didn't throw enough punches and judges tend to score aggressiveness and punch output. But Lara is one of the toughest boxers to hit and is one of the best counter punches in the game, so Yuri should pump out his jab at his own risk.

The fight is scheduled for twelve rounds at Hialeah Park Racing & Casino in Hialeah, Florida. The fight will be televised on Spike in the United States.


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