Being a 19-year old kid from Brooklyn, New York, the only real fights I have seen have been street fights. I've watched guys fight in school-yards, parks, even in the middle of the street.
I've seen people fight for stupid reasons. I've seen people fight for good reasons. I've seen people fight for pride. I've seen people fight because of peer pressure. I've seen fights for almost every reason there is to have a fight.
The only boxing matches I have seen have come from movies like Rocky and Cinderella Man. There have been very few times that I stopped to watch a boxing match on television.
On June 6, 2010, I saw a fight in which two fighters put everything on the line. I watched two fighters that fought for everything that matters. They fought for their heritage, for their fans, for everything they worked for.
I watched Miguel Cotto fight Yuri Foreman in the biggest stage to fight on, Yankee Stadium.
For weeks now, I have been hearing people talk about Cotto and Foreman being a mismatch of talent and experience. People have said that Foreman doesn't have what it takes to fight with guys like Miguel Cotto. People have said that Cotto is much stronger and faster than Foreman. People have said that Foreman doesn't stand a chance.
Little did we know that Yuri Foreman wasn't going to back down from the challenge.
Yuri Foreman went out there and fought the fight of his life, to prove to everybody that he belongs. Foreman showed up to the ring swinging, to show the world that he had what it takes to be in the same ring as fighters like Miguel Cotto.
Foreman danced around Cotto throughout the fight, trying to use his speed and foot-work to his advantage.
Although Foreman is taller than Cotto, it proved to matter very little in the fight. Cotto used his strength and quickness of his hands to keep Foreman off-balanced and slow him down.
Miguel Cotto came into this fight well prepared to fight against an underdog. He knew how important it was to set the tempo and fight his fight. He kept Foreman from extending his arms by staying close, and packing heavy punches.
Unfortunately for Foreman, he had slipped in the middle of the fight, hurting his already injured knee. After Foreman slipped, he got right back up and kept going. After he had slipped a second time, without hesitation, he got up and continued to fight.
With the crowd on his side but momentum against him, Foreman tried to stay in the fight for as long as possible. He wasn't about to lose the fight of his life just because of an injured knee. Foreman was ready to fight to the death.
Nothing was going to stop him from finishing this fight.
Although Cotto eventually won the fight, Yuri Foreman won respect from not just his fans, but all boxing fans out there. He displayed his heart and determination from the very beginning of the fight. Time and time again, Cotto was landing heavy shots on Foreman throughout the fight. After each blow, Foreman regrouped and fought on.
The most important thing that we learned from this fight is that the result of it matters very little. Watching Foreman go out there, and give it everything he had was more important than getting a win or loss. Winning respect is much harder than getting a win added to your record.
This fight will forever convey the character of Yuri Foreman both has a person, and as a fighter. Like the announcers said during the fight, most people would look to make excuses for losing or for not living up to their expectations. Foreman refused to give in, and fought to the best of his ability whether his knees would agree to help or not.
Yuri Foreman, you may have lost the fight to Miguel Cotto, but you have won the hearts and respect of many boxing fans who watched you tonight. Despite the result, you went down swinging, and nobody can ever take that away from you.