The night that Miguel Cotto knocked out Yuri Foreman happened to also be the same day I sparred for the first time with a fighter who had significantly more experience than I did. I found it to be a particularly interesting bit of synchronicity because, like me, Foreman went into the ring with a size advantage over someone who had an experience advantage. And, also like me, he got his butt kicked a little and will hopefully be a better fighter for it.
It’s no secret that I had a favorite in the Foreman-Cotto fight. I adore Yuri Foreman and I have ever since I saw him on the Pacquiao-Cotto undercard. Admittedly, it’s mostly because he has a fascinating back story, but I also liked his style against Daniel Santos and I like what I’ve seen in other fights that I’ve caught on the rerun in the intervening months. He’s not the most exciting fighter in the world, but he gets the job done against a lot of different styles.
But I think I’ve been liking Foreman’s style a little too much, because watching Saturday’s fight, I saw him make all of the same mistakes I’ve been making lately. First off, he sharpshoots. He wasn’t as aggressive as he should have been right off the bat, which meant Cotto took over right away and only briefly gave up control late in the 4th round. And while Foreman tried to work his jab and create the right distance to use his reach advantage, he went in a little too tall with his gloves a little too low, which meant Cotto could punch right over the top of his glove. Even without tripping and losing his footwork, Foreman would have been outclassed. I learned so much from watching this fight – some rules-related quirks, some strategy, some style. There were a couple of things I needed to see someone else do before I could really start applying them to myself. I’m disappointed that these lessons in what not to do had to come at the hands of one of my favorite fighters, but a learning opportunity is a learning opportunity.
I doubt we’ve seen the last of Yuri Foreman though. This could really be considered an early** foray into A-list boxing and easily the toughest opponent he’s ever faced. The critics who were saying he would be the next in line to take on Manny Pacquiao were perhaps a little over-generous. Luckily, a good number of really interesting fighters are in or near his weight class right now, so he’ll have his pick of opponents. It doesn’t have to be Pac-Man to be an interesting fight. Or an instructive one, if you – like me – are an avid spectator trying to learn the craft.
Oh yeah, and I am admittedly a boxing newbie, but I’ve never actually seen anybody try to literally throw in the towel. (It’s against the rules, by the way, at least in New York.)
**I find it endlessly interesting that throughout pre-fight publicity, Cotto was regarded as the veteran on his way out and Foreman was regarded as the young upstart. They’re the same age!