Yuri Foreman vs. Miguel Cotto: Boxing Analysis and Prediction
By Joseph “The Mad Boxing Genius” Torres (June 4, 2010) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © Chris Farina / Top Rank)  
Traditionally, ethnic boxers have had the best followings in boxing. Look no further than fighters like Felix Trinidad, Manny Pacquiao and Julio Cesar Chavez, all whom had more than just the everyday “boxing fan” by their side – they had entire countries behind them. On June 5th, 2010, Bob Arum is attempting to prove once again that the ethnic formula is indeed a winning one.

When Miguel Cotto and WBA middleweight champion Yuri Foreman mix it up on June 5th, you may see why Bob Arum
has been the smartest guy in the room for the last several years. He will take two fighters from different ethnic backgrounds then match them up against one another in New York City, a place where both men have their strongest followings. Yuri Foreman, WBA champion from Israel and studying to be a Rabbi will take on Puerto Rican star and former two-division champion Miguel Cotto. These two will lock horns in the new Yankee Stadium that seats over 50,000 fans (but will be set up to serve 35,000 on Saturday) and turn this title fight into a true event. (The fight will be televised free only on an HBO “World Championship Boxing” broadcast).

However, one man has to win and the other man has to lose. Which one will take victory on this historic night? Let’s break it down!

Miguel Cotto: Keys To Victory

Miguel Cotto has had a rough couple of years. Since his lost to Antonio Margarito (L TKO 11) questions has been surrounding him. It is now believed that Miguel is all washed up. It is hard to argue that possibility after all the physical damage he’s occurred throughout his career. Many are saying that he no longer is the mentally tough guy warrior after his wars with Antonio Margarito and Manny Pacquiao. His actions would suggest otherwise. Instead of sitting back and accepting what the public has now come to believe of him, he’s enlisted the services of legendary trainer Emanuel Steward for his upcoming bout against Yuri Foreman. This is not the action of a physically and mentally defeated man.

Emanuel Steward has stated that he’s fixed a lot of Miguel’s flaws - like his balance. Better balance by Miguel would help him throw a higher punch combination without losing balance and getting caught with counter punches. And based on reports and media interviews, Emanuel is very happy with the outcome of this training camp.

Miguel will have to use his infamous and methodical pressure style to cut the ring off and pin Foreman against the ropes or corner. Once he’s in, he can unload to the body and head. A more balanced style can give Miguel more leverage and power into his punches. This will be extremely vital for him. Yuri is a boxing purist and very elusive, it is unlikely that Miguel will be able to get a lot of leather on him. However, when he does, if the balance is there, he can unload a series of devastating punches that can visually impress the judges giving him rounds over the light-hitting defending champion.

Yuri Foreman: Keys To Victory

Yuri has a great opportunity to become a huge star. He is already creating a name for himself because of his story and possesses the skills to back up his potential. Theoretically, Yuri may be fighting a wounded duck. A good chunk of people do not believe Yuri will come out on top but with the fight turning into an event, against a fighter who has a great reputation but possibly is already done as an elite fighter, this is his time to step up or step off.

Yuri is the bigger, taller and obviously more technically skilled fighter. On paper, he should win. However, if Miguel proves to be a stronger fighter at Jr. Middleweight than at welterweight because the minimal weight drainage and is more technically sound, Yuri could be in for a long night.

Regardless of which Miguel Cotto shows up on June 5th, this is Yuri’s breakout fight and it’s a must-win if he expects to be a major player in this industry. He has to use his strengths. What makes him such a skilled boxer is his movement. Yuri does not just do lateral movements but he goes in and out, he steps aside and makes circular movements never giving his opponents a chance to get set to throw their punches. Yuri isn’t exactly an action-packed fighter but neither are his opponents because of his style. He dictates the fight by his movement and keeping his range at all times. If he can keep the slower footed ex-champ without any strong foot hold to throw his punches and stick that jab in his face regularly, it could be a fairly easy night for the future Rabbi. In addition, because of Miguel’s short man stalking stance, he is also there to be hit with a left hook and an uppercuts.

The Result

I see the first two rounds being fairly even without much action. Miguel will be his old self methodically studying his opponents and picking his shots until the 3rd or 4th round where he’ll pick it up. Yuri will likely be a bit jittery given that it’s his real first test in a televised main event, and will need a couple of rounds to loosen up.

Miguel, being the more experienced fighter will have his moments soon after, using his jab to get in and hitting Yuri with left hooks to the head. (Training video shows that Yuri is preparing well to block Miguel’s left hook to the body). However, eventually Yuri will settle down and do what he does best. He’ll fight tall keeping his shorter opponent at arms length, find his range and use multiple jabs to set up sneaky uppercuts and straight right hands that Miguel is susceptible to.

Whatever corrections that were made during the Cotto training camp will fade away once Yuri starts gaining the momentum. Miguel, like any fighter, will revert back to what feels natural. It is very possible that Miguel may hit the deck with a sneaky shot, not necessarily hurting him, but prompted by bad balance and great movement by Yuri. Don’t count out a knockdown despite Yuri’s lack of power.

I see this fight ending in one of two ways. Either Yuri will get some kind of a stoppage. If Miguel is hit cleanly enough, swelling could become a factor, or Emanuel Steward may stop it if Miguel is getting popped to death and has no real chance of connecting for a knockout. Another way I see it (and the most likely scenario if Yuri can pull off the victory) is by boxing his way to a decision.

I’ll chose the latter based on Miguel’s heart, his now capable corner and Yuri’s lack of knockout power. Unanimous decision goes to the future fighting Rabbi!

Questions/Comments join my official Facebook boxing fan page at: http://www.companies.to/themadboxinggenius

For more on Joseph “The Mad Boxing Genius” visit his blog every Monday for his random thoughts on the week in boxing at: http://www.boxingiq.com

© Copyright / All Rights reserved: Doghouse Boxing Inc. 1998-2010