Pre-Fight: In the undercard,Vanes Martirosyan did a pretty good job of dismantling “Mean” Joe Greene in a fight also at 154 pounds. The two prospective contenders exchanged some low-blows, but Martirosyan was just busier. Oh, and in addition to copping someone else’s nickname, Greene also wore a No. 2 Yankee jersey out to the ring and his corner all wore Yankee jerseys – with names on the back in addition to numbers and an ad for an auto body shop on the front. This, as Michael Kay, would say, is bad luck. No names, of course.
We also get a featurette on Cotto and Foreman. The Cotto interview centered on the question: Is he done? I think not. He may not be upper echelon like Paciquaio, but he can still be a bankable draw.
In Foreman’s feature – we learn about his emigration – first to Israel (where he fought out of a Palestinian gym) then to Brooklyn.
We’ve also been beaten up with the Jew vs. Puerto Rican story line – with Max Kellerman throwing a ton of Yiddish out for the fans at home.
Walk-up: Seems to be a pro-Cotto crowd, which as Kellerman explained might be related to the Jewish fight fan community not yet believing in Foreman.
Foreman is coming into a mix of some crazy Hebrew horn and then Slipknot (?). So confused.
Introductions: Michael Buffer rocking a white tux… nice look, even minus the pinstripes.
Bit o’ history: Benny Leonard won the first fight in old Yankee Stadium – July 24, 1923. Beating Lou Tendler in a lightweight title fight in front of about 58,000.
Crowd gets pretty amped for Cotto – not Derek Jeter amped, maybe David Justice amped. Foreman gets A-Rod applause – mixed at best.
Round One: Cotto pushed Foreman around, landing a couple solid jabs that pushed Yuri back a few times. Foreman rode his bicycle for most of the round. 10-9 Cotto.
Round Two: Cotto staggered Foreman another couple of times. Foreman’s got way faster hands, but Cotto’s just stronger. If this goes the distance, Foreman might have a shot – but it won’t at this rate. Cotto 10-9.
Round Three: Foreman, despite dropping his mouthguard, had the better of things – but just barely. His big shots just aren’t that big – think Brett Gardener home run swings – they look impressive, but c’mon, it’s still Brett Gardener. Foreman 10-9.
Round Four: Color man Roy Jones Jr. says Foreman is throwing big shots even though he’s not a knockout guy because Cotto’s had the better of things. I think its more that he’s feeling his oats. Oh, the attendance is officially 20,272 – or just about what you could put into Madison Square Garden. Foreman 10-9.
Rounds Five and Six: The magic of the DVR keeps me from missing anything when the boy wakes up for a minute. In Round Five, Cotto got a bit of his starch back, but Foreman was still very fast. Cotto 10-9. In Round Six – the numbers say there haven’t been many punched landed… but the fight feels like its been busy. Cotto’s gotten his mojo back after a two-round hiatus. Foreman’s hands are quicker, but they just don’t seem to do much. He’s got a bloody nose and a very red face. Cotto 10-9.
Round Seven: You know what, bully for Yuri Foreman. He tripped once, banged up his knee and then fell again. His knee is Mickey Mantle in ’68 bad at this point, but he’s not giving up. Cotto just teed off . Foreman’s all speed and without speed, well he’s done. Cotto 10-9.
Round Eight: Foreman’s corner throws the towel in – against the wishes of the fighter. But it’s not over! The corner did not throw the towel! The ref: “You’re fighting hard, I don’t want you to go out like that.” Cotto’s gonna win, but Foreman’s gonna win a TON of fans. This is all guts right now. Cotto 10-9.
Round Nine: Cotto with a left hook to the body and down goes Foreman. Referee Arthur Mercante Jr. stops it at 42 seconds of the ninth round with a TKO Miguel Cotto – new WBA Super Welterweight Champ. Foreman was a warrior, but that was a good stoppage – certainly better than a flying towel.
Post-Fight: Cotto’s pleased… wants to keep fighting big name guys – and he probably can. Maybe a Sergio Martinez or someone like that.
Foreman is the story here – thanks God for keeping them both “healthy more or less.” The replay of the fall – shows Yuri’s leg just buckle – I’m thinking the 15-DL, but probably out 4-6 weeks.
“Listen, I’m the former world champion – I’m here to fight.” ~ On not quitting.
The ref – Mercante – felt the towel was unwarranted and he was protecting the fan’s interest. This guy should take Cowboy Joe West or CB Bucknor’s job.