Birthplace: Caguas, Puerto Rico
Resides: Caguas, Puerto Rico
Current World Ttiles Held: None
Former World Titles Held: WBO Light Welterweight (140 lbs.), WBA, WBO Welterweight (147 lbs.)
Professional Record: 34-2, 27 KOs
Record in World Title Fights: 14-2, 11 KOs
Record in Fights Going 12 Rounds: 4-1
Record at 154 lbs.: None
Birthplace: Gomel, Belarus
Resides: Brooklyn, New York
Current World Ttiles Held: WBA Light Middleweight (154 lbs.)
Former World Titles Held: None
Professional Record: 28-0, 8 KOs
Record in World Title Fights: 1-0
Record in Fights Going 12 Rounds: 1-0
Record at 154 lbs.: 26-0, 8 KOs
Notable Win: UD12 Daniel Santos
For the second time in 2010, boxing fans are about to be treated to a major boxing card where the venue is as much of a personality as the participants.
Previous versions of Yankee Stadium were renowned for playing host to boxing history. Saturday's "Stadium Slugfest" between 154-pound titleholder Yuri Foreman and former two-division champ Miguel Cotto will headline the first card at the latest incarnation, and if successful, it could help usher in a new wave of fights held at non-traditional sites.
The bout has its share of inherent intrigue as well. Foreman has received most of his media attention for his Jewish heritage and his unusual second job—he's studying to be a rabbi—but he's a skilled boxer with quick hands and a true awareness of the defensive side of the game.
He's also never faced anyone with anything approaching the resume of Cotto, who was a feared destroyer at two weight classes and has been in the ring with some of the sport's best in recent years.
But he has numerous questions hanging over him after getting stopped in two of his last four fights, and people will be watching to see how he'll handle the step up to junior middleweight and what changes famed trainer Emanuel Steward will make in his debut in Cotto's corner.
Both men should have plenty of support on hand at Yankee Stadium. Foreman currently makes his home in Brooklyn, while Cotto has long been a hero of New York's Puerto Rican community and has sold plenty of tickets in the Big Apple over the course of his career.
A win would mean legitimacy for Foreman and redemption for Cotto, so both men should be highly motivated to use the big stage to put on a show.
Cotto's Winning Strategy: Get Inside and Attack the Body
The worrisome beatings Cotto took at the hands of Antonio Margarito and Manny Pacquiao have many observers wondering if he'll ever be the same fighter he was a few years back. That's an honest concern, but one he has to try to set aside on Saturday, as the light-punching Foreman is unlikely to do the same kind of damage.
Foreman does pose a challenge thanks to his fast hands and significant height and reach advantages. Cotto has his own, sometimes underrated set of boxing skills—on full display against Shane Mosley and for most of the Margarito fight—but exchanging shots from the outside on Saturday is likely to lead him to a dull defeat on the cards.
What Cotto can do with his boxing knowledge is use it to get inside and set up the vicious body punching that was once his calling card. His power may not be quite as telling at 154, but applied from close range, it can still make things very uncomfortable for Foreman, possibly wearing him down late.
It goes without saying that Cotto should also pay close attention to Steward, who may be able to craft a Plan B on the fly if his fighter gets off to a slow start.
Foreman's Winning Strategy: Be Cautious Early and Active Late
Sometimes, conventional wisdom just looks too strong to argue. That seems to be the case with Foreman, whose low KO percentage and defense-first mentality suggest that his best chance for a big win is to out-box and out-work Cotto.
He certainly has the tools to do it, but he also needs to take Cotto's measure in the first few rounds to try to see if his foe has been as weakened from his previous wars as some suspect. Foreman can use his height to keep Cotto at a distance in the opening frames, then open things up once he determines exactly what Miguel has left in the tank.
Foreman also may not enjoy the same built-in advantage that titleholders sometimes have in the minds of the judges because he is the lesser known fighter. If the fight goes the distance, he will want to be the one that is throwing more punches in the late rounds and making a big impression in the championship rounds.
Yuri has been saying all the right things about brushing off the pressure to dazzle the crowd and concentrating on doing what he does best. If he practices what he preaches, he's got an excellent chance to have his hand raised at the end of the night.