Foreman's wife's despair at boxing title loss

My man was on his knees — but I wanted to deck the ref


The wife of boxer Yuri Foreman almost came to blows with the referee after watching her husband lose his world title.

Leyla Leidecker, a former model and boxer herself, blamed ref Arthur Mercante for not stopping the fight earlier after Foreman lost his WBA Light Middleweight title on a ninth-round TKO against Miguel Cotto at the Yankee Stadium.

Foreman, a student rabbi, suffered a bizarre injury after slipping twice on a wet canvass in the 7th round. The fall caused him to twist his right knee, which was already in a brace from a previous injury. With only one leg to stand on, Foreman, 29, became a sitting duck and was unable to show his usual speed and mobility.

His trainer, Joe Grier, threw in the towel in the 8th, but Mercante did not see who had thrown it and ordered a restart.Cutting a disraught figure at the end of the fight, Leidecker said: "They had to stop it. I wanted to punch the referee in his face.

"Yuri wasn't in any condition to
continue. Why put him in the situation of getting hurt more? There was no point. He wasn't going to win. There was no miracle going to happen."

Leidecker and Mercante had a verbal confrontation in the dressing room afterwards when Mercante came in to check on Foreman. Murray Wilson, Foreman's manager, had to calm her.

"There was no need to stop the fight," Mercante said. "They were in the middle of a great fight. I saw Foreman was game - the true heart of a champion."

Speaking about the confrontation with Foreman's wife, Mercante said: "I can understand why she was upset. She's his wife. But he's a champion and I wanted to give him a fair opportunity to defend his title."

It was Foreman's first defeat, in his first defence of the title he won last November over Daniel Santos. It was later confirmed that he had torn a cartilage and strained ligaments, and will need an operation.

Foreman said: "It was a lot of pain, very sharp pain. I'm world champion, now former world champion. We're not quitting."

Cotto, who is now a three-class champion, having been welterweight and light-welterweight champion before, said: "I felt bad for him but you have to keep on fighting."

Last updated: 12:44pm, June 10 2010