Yuri Foreman lost his WBA Light Middleweight title on a ninth-round TKO against Miguel Cotto at the Yankee Stadium on Saturday night.
The student rabbi suffered a bizarre injury after slipping twice on a wet canvass in the 7th round. The fall caused Foreman, 29, to twist his right knee, which was already in a brace from a previous injury. With only one leg to stand on, Foreman became a sitting duck and was unable to demonstrate his usual speed and mobility against Puerto Rican Cotto.
With Foreman limping around the ring and although his trainer, Joe Grier, threw in the towel in the 8th, ref Arthur Mecante did not see who had thrown it and ordered a restart. But there was no way back for the Israeli.
It was Foreman’s first defeat, in his first defence of the title he won last November with a unanimous decision over Daniel Santos.
Foreman said: “It was a lot of pain, very sharp pain. I’m world champion, now former world champion. We’re not quitting. We’re world champion and we need to fight.”
“I felt bad for him but you have to keep on fighting,” said Cotto, who is now a three-class champion, having been welterweight and light-welterweight champion before.
Foreman’s wife, Leyla Leidecker, cut a distraught figure at the end of the fight. The former model and boxer believed that the referee was at fault for not stopping the fight when Foreman was injured. “They had to stop it," she said. “He wasn't in any condition to continue fighting. Why put him in the situation of getting hurt more? There was no use continuing. He wasn’t going to win. There was no miracle that was going to happen.”
Leidecker and Mercante had a verbal confrontation in the dressing room after the fight when Mercante came in to check on Foreman. Murray Wilson, Foreman’s manager, had to calm her down before things got out of hand.
“There was no need to stop the fight,” Mercante said. “They were in the middle of a great fight. "I saw he [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.”