Yuri Foreman Has A Message For Those Who Say He Quit…WOODS

photo by Chris Farina

He had the look of someone who might just have had enough. Yuri Foreman, as he sat on his stool in his corner after the sixth round, after six rounds of not feeling like himself, of taking punishment from a New Jersey wrecking ball named Pawel Wolak, looked like an athlete who wasn’t quit sure if he wanted to stay being an athlete.

On the advice of his corner, in this case trainer Pedro Saiz, who has worked with Foreman for more than four years, Foreman figuratively threw in the towel before the start of the seventh round of his junior middleweight bout on the Miguel Cotto-Ricardo Mayorga undercard at the MGM in Las Vegas.

Right after, Foreman told viewers that he didn’t feel like himself, felt “mushy,” and that he’d take some time off to assess his options.

I called the 30-year-old Foreman on Thursday, and checked in with him. I was wondering if the guy who had been fighting for 18 years might have done more assessing, and decided that it was over.

“After a break, to re-charge my batteries, I will be hungry again,” he told me. “I love sports, I love boxing a lot. But I have been doing it for 18 years. As I get ready for fights, my preparation is good, I train so hard. But this one, I was doing on habit. I was not as driven.”

Foreman’s had a full plate the last year and a half. He won a title, defended it against Miguel Cotto, tore his knee in a loss to the Puerto Rican, had a baby boy, suffered the loss of a beloved co-manager, Murray Wilson, a father figure to him, had surgery on the knee, rehab. He admitted that it was all a bit much.

He’d like to strengthen that knee more, so he could restore some mobility not in evidence enough against Wolak. He will focus on his rabbinical studies as he continues to get his mental energy back to where it needs to be a world class fighter. And he will, he said, he will not let anyone busting his chops for being “Yuri Boreman” or for staying on his stool rather than eating more Wolak leather get to him.

He said Saiz, seeing that he’d lost every round,  told him before the sixth round that if he continued to eat clean shots, he’d stop the fight. “If you’re not doing more, I’ll stop it,” Saiz told him.

“He’d never seen me getting hit like that,” the boxer told TSS. “In one fight I got hit more than in all my other fights combined. I was out of my element. I respected his decision. I thought he was right.”

We all know the critic’s long knives can get slicing and dicing when a fighter waves the white flag. But I applaud Saiz for his humanity, and really, knowing what we know now about the effects of trauma on the brain to boxers, football players, hockey players, is it fair for any of us to judge harshly from the safety of the sidelines? “If I continued, it was going to be more of the same,” Foreman told me. “I don’t know what I could say to people who said I quit. Some call me “Yuri Boreman.” Well, I got into sports not to silence critics. That’s not my job. People who don’t like you, there’s very little you can do. And sacrificing your health in the ring, to show you have big balls, it’s foolish.”

Foreman was a good sport, allowing me to probe his mind a bit. I admitted to him that I thought it..interesting that he chose 80-something Al Certo to train him for this bout. Certo and he bonded well in training, but Certo was sick and couldn’t be in Vegas. I offered my theory, with hesitance, that maybe Foreman was subconsciously picking a grandfatherly type to sort of replace the presence of the sage Wilson. “I like your picture,” he answered. “But that was not the case here.”  A mutual friend suggested they work together, Foreman told me. He admitted that he worried that maybe Certo wouldn’t have the energy for the task, but he found that not to be the case. He said he will continue on with Certo.

“I wasn’t ready for this fight, in the end,” he said, in closing. “I need a mental rest, and I think I’ll feel much better.”

Comment on this article


brownsugar :

being the boxing junkies that we are... we watched a recording of the Cotto, Lee, Martinez and especially the Foreman fight again last night....especially since Pawel Wolak fought so furiously. The fights even more entertaining the second time around. I had high hopes for Foreman because I liked the way he uses his legs, especially against Santos,..in addition to his fresh personality..... In the early rounds you can see where Foreman gets the better of some furious exchanges... but for what ever reason it's obvious he wasn't properly prepared (or motivated) to contend with an opponent as relentless as Wolak... Chavez was once slated to face Wolak, and quickly withdrew once they found out what they were working with and what hardcore already know...Wolak is a mini-beast, a truth machine for anyone who thinks they have what it takes to fight for a title.. I haven't heard any noise from the multitudes of websites I visit to access fighters...neither from the media or the fans... regarding the excessive use of the words "Coward" or "quitter" being used to describe the pugilistic Zionist with any frequency.... To most fans it was clear that Foreman took a righteous butt-whoopin'.. and if his corner was worth there paychecks, they wouldn't let the fight continue much further... I think most fans are wondering what will become of Foreman moving forward.. that's a question only Foreman can answer... but judging from the fight, the prognosis doesn't look very good... it's hard to imagine a comeback... although stranger things have happened in boxing.

Radam G :

Again it is time for schooling, not fooling. Yuri Foreman is the BIG-TIME victim of one of the game's most painful optical illusions. This is illusion, known as "Charade championing," is when you build up and invest in a marshmellow fighter, fix bouts for him to win and get him a title belt just for a bit to make MEAN pay off him because of a butt-selling gimmick about him. An aspiring rabbi was the phat about YF that got him PAID until he got KTFO and was LAID. Gettin da fudge kayoed with dat Cotto's body-snatching hook was the exposing and closing of the hype -- and revealing of the lack of fyght -- of YF. Of course, the most surprised person is Rabbi-to-be Foreman. As a prize fighter, this made him a hit. But since he has gotten beat twice in a roll by live bodies, in this game now he ain't s**t! He is now exhibiting pugilitic PTSD. This what Charade championing will do. And since the game is said to be more mental than physical, it should be commonsense that you will have a few marshmellows, tomato cans, stiffs and even some bums developing various types of pugilistic PTSD and going into self-denial. The game isn't only legal mayhem, it is da hurt bitnezz in every way. Yuri was fed an optical illusion that he could play, when it was 95 percent about the pay. I'm reminded of the movies, "The Harder They Fall," and "On The Waterfront." Only this time, the kid was given a chance by a referee who knew the dance. And the kid had class. And the kid was somebody. To him, I say, go ahead and be the greatest and only rabbi to ever be an alphabet sanctioning organization staged-up title belt holder. [Yuri is so terrible that IBF light middleweight champion K9 would dog him in 30 seconds. {RIP N Doggs. Bow! Wow! Wuff, wuff at The Crossroad.}] Holla!

dino da vinci :

It happens. On a rare occasion, there's nothing in the tank, even from the start. I think on this particular night, Pawel Wolak is what happened. He's the guy I can't wait to see fight again. In fairness to Yuri, if the knee still has a way to go, it does change the equation.

JoeKidd :

He actually didn't look that bad against Cotto. I am a huge fan of Yuri's and hope he comes back again soon. Mad people hate on him, but most of them are just keyboard warriors.