In mid-February, it appeared as though Yuri Foreman and his team had reached a firm deal to work with famed trainer Emanuel Steward as Foreman prepared for his big June 5 title defense against Miguel Cotto. Steward wasn't going to train Foreman, but work with the fighter for a couple of weeks as a consultant.
Today, that doesn't appear so set in stone, and in fact, it's getting very interesting. Rick Reeno of BoxingScene.com reports today that both Foreman and Cotto are battling for Steward's services. The report says that Foreman's manager Murray Wilson believes that Steward has been offered the role of head trainer for Cotto's camp, with Joe Santiago returning to an assistant role.
We've discussed Manny Steward's status as a top trainer (or not) recently on the site in comments, discussing whether or not Steward could help Kelly Pavlik, how he's done with Wladimir Klitschko (excellent, obviously), and other jobs he's had in recent years (Kermit Cintron, Jermain Taylor, etc., which didn't go as well as Wladimir has).
Steward is known mostly for making tall guys fight like tall guys. Not only is Cotto (5'7") not tall for a welterweight, he's going to be a miniature junior middleweight, while Foreman is a standard sized 154-pounder at about 5'11". Foreman will also have a five-inch reach advantage. Frankly, I thought bringing in Steward as a consultant made a ton of sense for this fight on Yuri's side. He'll want to use his height and reach, which Manny is great at refining.
But Cotto? To me, it seems the best thing for Miguel in this fight would be to get inside and bang to the body, or in other words, return to the old Miguel Cotto style, which has been lost a bit recently. He didn't even really use that style against Margarito, so you can't even argue that that questionable fight hurt that part of Miguel's game.
And that's never been Steward's bread-and-butter as a trainer. I'm not saying he can't teach or coach that, but there are better and cheaper options to work with Miguel on getting that back, aren't there? On the surface, it seems like hiring Earl Weaver to manage a team built for small ball, or like putting Bill Cowher in charge of the "Greatest Show on Turf"-era Rams.