As a rabid boxing fan, it’s exciting to see big fights return to stadium settings. Back in the glory days of the sport, Yankee Stadium hosted some of the biggest fights in history and it was great to see the sport return to the South Bronx last Saturday night….
Sure, it wasn’t Louis-Baer, Louis-Schmeling, Marciano-Moore or Ali-Norton; but Yuri Foreman and Miguel Cotto drew a big crowd and put on an entertaining show….
Going in, I predicted Cotto would win by knockout, because Foreman hasn’t fought anybody and been protected throughout his career….
But a Puerto Rican vs. a white jewish fighter in New York was sure to sell tickets and Bob Arum should be commended for taking a risk and bringing the sport back to stadiums….
A few months ago, Arum promoted Manny Pacquiao vs. Joshua Clottey in massive Cowboys Stadium and the night was a success. Sure, Pacman won easily, but the fight drew a big crowd and showed Las Vegas isn’t the only venue for championship fights….
Arum and Jerry Jones want to stage Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather in Dallas and hopefully things work out. It’s will be the biggest fight in years and will sell out Cowboys Stadium if the tickets are priced right….
The good seats will go for an outrageous prices, but if Arum offers upper deck tickets for $25, the place will sell out. And how great would that be for boxing?….
The two best fighters in the sport duking it out in an outdoor stadium in front of 100,000? I love it….
Unfortunately, events like this will never happen in here in Los Angeles, because our socialist politicians in Sacramento tax promoters through the nose….
Governor Schwarzenneger and the state assembly should get together and waive state taxes for big events, because it would boost the state’s economy, put people to work and set the stage for more title fights….
Alas, our commies in Sacramento are too stupid to realize this and continue to drive business out of the state….
Back to Cotto-Foreman….
In the early rounds the fight went as I expected, with Foreman running, slapping and trying to survive. Meanwhile, Cotto was building up points by going to the body, coming forward and landing the cleaner, harder shots….
In Round Seven, Foreman’s knee buckled and he went down in a heap. After rising, referee Arthur Mercante told him he had five minutes to recover, but Foreman said he was ready to go and fought on….
But it was obvious Yuri was badly injured and couldn’t move, which played right into Cotto’s hands….
Give Foreman credit for heart and toughness, though, because he stood in there and survived the round….
In Round Eight, with Foreman limping badly, his corner threw a towel into the ring and the fight was over. As bodies swarmed through the ropes and the fighters embraced, Mercante took control and began yelling for everyone to get out of the ring….
Even though Foreman’s corner threw in the towel, Mercante felt Yuri was still competitive and asked Foreman if he wanted to fight…
After Yuri answered with an emphatic “Yes,” Mercante cleared the ring….
Arthur then sent the fighters to opposite corners and told them the fight would continue….
It was one of the best and authoritative decisions I’ve ever seen and Mercante should be commended. What most fans don’t know is that a referee has the final call whether a fight is stopped and can overrule a towel thrown into the ring….
Other than his knee, Foreman wasn’t hurt, wanted to fight and the fans who shelled out their hard-earned money deserved to see more boxing….
Miraculously, Yuri survived the eighth round and even landed some nice shots. He was losing the fight and had no chance to win, but his courage won him legions of new fans….
In the ninth, Cotto landed his patented left hook to the body, Foreman went down and Mercante stopped the fight….
It was a great stoppage, because Foreman was badly hurt and would have been pummeled had the fight continued….
Again, kudos to Mercante for ignoring the initial request to stop the fight and then halting the action at just the right time….
His father, Arthur Mercante, Sr, was one of the best referees in boxing history and was the third man in the ring for the historic Ali-Frazier showdown on March 8, 1971….
Mercante Sr. died recently, but would have been proud of his son….
My good friend Jim Lampley was praising Cotto’s new trainer, Manny Steward, and stating that Cotto’s “footwork was 100% improved and he looks to be back and as good as ever.”….
I couldn’t disagree more and feel that Cotto being an HBO house fighter influenced the broadcast somewhat….
Cotto’s hands were slow and he had trouble getting off, the result of two brutal knockout losses to Antonio Margarito and Pacquiao….
Miguel is a shot fighter and no longer in the elite class. When you take a horrible beating, you’re never the same; but when you take two it’s devastating….
Cotto’s winning performance had a lot more to do with Foreman’s inability to fight and being overrated….
Let’s not get carried away….