Have news relating to Jewish boxers? Email the editor here!

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Yuri Foreman Reflects on His Career So Far

Rabbi Yuri Foreman is still an active boxer and his goal is to fight for the title, but he was kind enough to reflect on his career so far with The Jewish Boxing Blog. The 41 year former world champion's many great accomplishments make him the best Jewish boxer of this century.

Foreman's proudest moment in professional boxing was winning the WBA world junior middleweight title from Daniel Santos on November 14, 2009. "It was my proudest moment because I became the first Israeli world champion." It was also a time for the Brooklyn-resident to reflect on how far he had come and just how improbable his journey had been.

"I came from a city in the Soviet Union- it's now in Belarus- that has maybe one tenth of the people that live in Brooklyn. I came from a little place and became a world champion," Foreman says proudly. "If you put all your effort into something, you can do it."

His biggest disappointment was each of his four losses. "I can't grade them and say which one is worse." His losses came against Miguel Cotto, Pawel Wolak, Erislandy Lara, and Jimmy Williams. He hints at issues in preparation against Lara but generally makes no excuses. Against Cotto, he tore his ACL in the middle of the fight.  "I wish my knee held up," is all he says of that injury. He came back just nine months later to face Wolak. And against Williams, he had recovered from the first strain of covid-19 just three months before the fight.

Foreman names Cotto, a Hall of Famer he greatly respects, as the best opponent he has faced so far. "He's the most sophisticated. He has heart, and he's smart," Foreman says. Cotto is sophisticated in the ring because he "concealed his intentions."

"I landed a one-two in about the third round," Yuri, who has never gone back and watched the fight, remembers. "It landed flush. I thought I hurt him. He buckled a little bit. But he kept coming forward. He was smart. He didn't go backwards but was in attack. He concealed that he was hurt. I miscalculated."

The hardest puncher Yuri faced was a bit of a surprise: Daniel Santos. In winning the title from Santos, Foreman knocked down the champ twice. After the weigh-in for the 154 pound title, Santos put on an extra 19 pounds and entered the ring at 173, a number Foreman accurately remembers twelve and a half years later.

"Punches you don't see hurt," Foreman explains. "Punches you see, you can withstand. I could see the punches from Santos, but they were still paralyzing. He hit very hard."

As for the best opponent in terms of technical boxing ability, Foreman cites Erislandy Lara. Yuri dealt with personal problems in the lead-up to the 2017 fight against the Cuban great. "I wasn't the same as when I was getting ready for Cotto and Santos," he says.  Foreman, who was 37 at the time of the fight, wishes he was in his prime at the time because he would have loved to "match up our different schools of boxing."

Foreman jokes that not too many fans would have appreciated the boxer vs. boxer matchup between the men had Yuri been in his prime. He astutely notes that the Arturo Gatti-Mickey Ward trilogy of the early 2000s shifted the fans away from enjoying good technical boxing and more for the blood and guts style of fighting.

With that shift away from the sweet science, younger fans may appreciate Yuri's remarkable ability and amazing career less and less. Let's hope that's not the case.

No comments:

Post a Comment