Has there ever been a champion more disrespected than Yuri Foreman? The former middleweight title holder, who retired three weeks before his clash with Jorge Melendez citing a “harmful contract,” forcing him into retirement. The HBO broadcast team took every liberty possible to put Foreman down as the three week notice replacement fighter, Javier Maciel, dominated a healthy portion of the action during their fight.
“Melendez is getting a real test tonight…this is not what he would have gotten if he fought Yuri Foreman,” snipped HBO’s Jim Lampley. It is as if Foreman’s lack of one punch KO power somehow makes him no good. Foreman’s interesting ability is that he never relied on power and continued to stay relevant. Foreman was a pure boxer with incredible endurance and the heart of a lion. When his knee folded against Miguel Cotto, he did not melt, rather tried to keep the fight going, which is more than we can say about Sergio Martinez last Saturday.
Foreman was a class act, never vulgar and for the most part he left religion out of his fighting. The future Rabbi, who had plans to follow his faith later in life, came into boxing with pure love, as opposed to lacking a plan b. Foreman knew what he wanted out of life and choose accordingly.
Then when he beat Daniel Santos, I watched as those around went from picking Santos to saying he was washed up. It was as if, because Yuri Foreman couldn’t punch, it made him less of a fighter. Foreman had Ali-like footwork with an odd rhythm that made him a nightmare for nearly anyone he faced when his knee was fully healthy. Remember when Manny Pacquiao refused to fight Yuri Foreman and took Joshua Clottey instead?
Foreman is the type of boxer that you only really understand if you watched when he was around on the airwaves. He is made for the boxing almanacs and the fun facts of the world. Foreman was a true fighter, but the perception of a handsome, mild manner fighter with lack of punching seemed to belittle every accomplishment he made. By the end of his career, he was fighting Pawal Wolak on Top Rank PPV undercards. It was Foreman fighting with less movement and deception, the belief in his legs was gone, and now it was not just him boxing foes, but also to accommodate his body.
I don’t know about you, but certain fighters get me excited. Foreman was at the top of the list. Foreman was sublime. The simple fact is that despite his limits, he still controlled distance well and was able to force fighters to pick shots dictating the pace of the fight, much like he did early in his career against Jesus Soto Karass or in the early stages against Miguel Cotto.
Despite four fights in the past two years, it seems as though it was all for not as Foreman has decided to hang up the gloves. The big question is, will his name and what he did in the sport be trivialized by those who never watched him fight? Or will he at some point get his just respect?