With the biggest fight of Yuri Foreman's career coming up, the WBA junior middleweight titlist is trying to get the best preparations that he can. Rick Reeno and Jose Sanchez Fournier report today at BoxingScene.com that Foreman has hired Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward to help for "a couple of weeks" in camp leading up to his June fight with Miguel Cotto.
Foreman's outspoken manager, Murray Wilson, confirmed the hiring:
"It's official. Manny is going to help. It will only be for a couple of weeks, three at most. Yuri is great fighter and we are looking to throw more punches."
Steward's training career has slowed down greatly in recent years, as right now his only true charge is Wladimir Klitschko, whose career he can be credited as perhaps not "saving," but certainly taking in a highly successful new direction. Steward has trained other fighters in recent years, most notably Jermain Taylor, with less success. He's also trained guys like Johnathon Banks, who is now trained by Steward's nephew.
Manny still knows the fight game, though, and won't be serving as lead trainer. He's seen plenty of Miguel Cotto fights up close and personal, and a lot of idle speculation and fan talk has been that Cotto could use someone like Steward himself. In fact, there's still plenty of chatter about who will train Cotto for this fight. His friend Joe Santiago proved himself incapable of managing a difficult fight against Manny Pacquiao last November. Cotto's former trainer is his uncle Evangelista, and the two made amends recently when Miguel's father passed away, but their working relationship in the past has been highly volatile.
Foreman isn't Manny Pacquiao, but Cotto has quite a challenge on his hands. Yuri is bigger than Miguel by a fair bit, a very sound boxer, and just doesn't make many mistakes, which I maintain is quite a strength for any top-level fighter.
Now on to the second part.
The June 12 date for this fight could get bumped to June 5 at Yankee Stadium -- that's right, Yankee Stadium. The Yankees are willing to make a deal (Bob Arum says they "want to"), but there could be a problem on June 12.
"The Yankees want to make a deal, we know we can make a deal, they're just working through a problem at Yankee Stadium," Arum said. "But you wouldn't believe it if I told you."
He's not kidding.
"They've leased out some lounges for this bar mitzvah and part of the deal was for a half hour or so, they could use the big screen in center field to show pictures and all that sort of stuff," Arum said, laughing. "Obviously you can't do that if there's fights going on."
Further small problems:
Either way, the fight on a midsummer Saturday night creates another logistical problem. The Jewish sabbath does not officially end until sundown.
"Because of the sabbath ending late, we would announce that the main event would not start until after 11:30 p.m.," said Arum, himself a devout Jew. "There's a lot of great things we would have to do around it."
Now you have a real problem with TV, and frankly this would mean that the only place for this would be on pay-per-view. HBO isn't going to buy a fight this expensive that they can't start until after 11:30 on HBO, and neither would Showtime. This is now a PPV fight for some very unorthodox reasons.
Yeah, I did that.
More likely than not, expect Foreman-Cotto to not be the fight that makes sense at Yankee Stadium, and for the two to head over to Madison Square Garden, which as of now is open on both June 5 and June 12.