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When referee Arthur Mercante Jr. ordered the World Boxing Association super welterweight championship fight between Yuri Foreman and Miguel Cotto to continue Saturday despite Foreman's corner having thrown in the towel, there was mass confusion at Yankee Stadium.
Not only has it happened before that a referee rejected a towel thrown in by the corner, it once happened previously at Yankee Stadium.
In one of the most famous boxing matches ever, Joe Louis knocked out Max Schmeling in the first round in a world heavyweight title bout before more than 70,000 fans in the Bronx on June 22, 1938.
In that fight, Schmeling trainer Max Machon threw in the towel after Louis knocked down Schmeling for the third time. But referee Arthur Donovan ignored the towel and let the fight continue, though he did stop the bout seconds later.
More recently, referee Mickey Vann ignored a towel thrown in by Graham Earls' corner in the second round of a Feb. 17, 2007, fight in London against Michael Katsidis. Right after the towel came in and Vann opted to let the fight continue, Earls pounded Katsidis with a big shot and had him in trouble. Katsidis went on to win by stoppage in the fifth round, but Earl was able to go hard several rounds after his corner felt he'd had enough.
With that, let's delve into the boxing mailbag, where I'll respond to your questions and comments.
Cotto deserved credit
I'm a boxing fan, though certainly not a boxing expert. I had a chance to watch the Yuri Foreman-Miguel Cotto fight, and I felt like Cotto arguably won every round before the first slip, and probably won every round of the fight. I felt like your article blamed the night on injury (which certainly finished it) but breezed over the fact that Cotto fought very well, and was already beating the man easily. Did you and I really watch that different of a fight?
Cotto did what he had to do, Case. My take, though, is that Cotto got hit far too often and failed to punch in combination during the early stages. He was breathing with his mouth open by the fourth round. Foreman isn't a hard puncher, but Cotto would have had big problems had he been getting hit that often by someone who could punch. It was a step in the right direction for Cotto coming off the loss to Manny Pacquiao, but it was by no means a masterpiece, in my opinion.
Cotto didn't deserve shot
Cotto fighting for the WBA super welterweight title after getting thrashed in his last fight is a joke. Paul Williams deserved the title fight much more than Cotto did. It's just a farce that this stuff happens! Now I'm hearing crazy stuff that Cotto may defend against Margarito or Pacquiao next. If he fights Pacquiao next, will there be another weight stipulation like the first time they fought? How could anyone see a rematch going any differently than their first fight?
I'm all for guys earning their title shots, but I think Cotto had done enough to earn his. Foreman wasn't in a mandatory title defense situation, and Lord only knows there are far too many of those. Most of the mandatories wind up being duds. But Cotto had enough big wins in his career, in my opinion, to make him deserving of this opportunity.
Unworthy of comment
Come on, Kevin! Give Cotto some credit. It was obvious from the opening bell that Foreman is a B-plus fighter and Miguel is an elite fighter. Foreman was on his toes boxing and was being outboxed by a better technical fighter in Cotto. Cotto was cutting off the ring and dominating him with a far superior jab. It was going to be an easy night for Cotto regardless if Foreman's knee gave out or not. Also, I thought Roy Jones Jr. added some much needed credibility to the HBO commentary crew. I am annoyed by announcers and writers that have never climbed into the ring, yet they try to tell the public what is really happening in there. Roy let everyone know what was really going on and how a fighter really thinks.
Jeremy, I am annoyed by people who think one has to have performed an activity to write about it. Given that stance, the only person(s) qualified to cover the White House are former presidents. In your scenario, the White House press corps would consist of George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter. And by the way, how do you know that I, or any of the announcers or writers that you disparage, have never climbed into the ring before?
Arum brags too much
Bob Arum talks so highly about himself and his fighters, and how they are trying to do something for the sport. He brags (and jabs the Mayweather camp at the same time) about setting up fights in stadiums instead of casinos to allow casual middle-class boxing fans to be able to afford a ticket. But then he turns around to say that Jerry Jones can't afford the Mayweather-Manny fight, and how Manny is the only one able to attract 4,000 high-stakes gamblers from Asia, which would have casinos all over Las Vegas bidding like crazy for the fight. If his game plan is to make the most money, like any other promoter, then don't go around spitting lies claiming Top Rank is trying to revive the sport. The Foreman-Cotto fight, as much as I enjoyed it, was just two fighters with a New York fan base trying to sell the most tickets at Yankee Stadium. It benefits no one but the promoters' bank accounts.
I disagree with you vehemently, Victor. I think Arum is doing many, many, many wonderful things for the sport. Yes, once the bell rings, a fight in a stadium is no different than a fight in an arena or in my back yard, for that matter (where Jeremy misses a lot of great action bouts, by the way). Putting fights in Cowboys Stadium and Yankee Stadium does allow for lower ticket prices and thus makes it more accessible for non-high rollers. He's just looking at the economic realities of Pacquiao-Mayweather, though. If the fighters are going to make between $40-50 million, think of what the ticket prices would have to be at Cowboys Stadium to pay that amount? Not every fight works in a stadium situation, but it's good to give back to the fans, create a spectacle and bring a little extra attention to the sport. He's running a business, of course, and is in it to make money. And that's no different than the fighters, frankly. They wouldn't fight if they weren't paid. So, sure, Arum wants to make a profit, but that doesn't mean he's not doing good for the sport as a whole while he's at it.
Ref was wrong
Referee Arthur Mercante Jr. was wrong to clear the ring Saturday and let the Foreman-Cotto fight continue after Foreman trainer Joe Grier threw in the towel in the eighth round. The fight could have been stopped even before the towel was thrown in. Foreman was way behind with no chance of winning. Once he became a one-legged fighter with no movement, he was in danger and Mercante should have protected him. The apple fell far from the tree. Arthur Mercante Sr. would not have let that fight continue.
I think Mercante is a very good referee, Mike, but I feel he should have stopped this bout, too, even without the corner's intervention. He could see Foreman was having problems with his leg and he knows Foreman's game is based upon movement. I think he also has to assume the corner knows more about the fighter's injury than he does. For those reasons, I agree that he should have stopped it when the towel came in.
No props for Cotto?
I don't think you've given Cotto enough credit for his victory over Yuri Foreman Saturday night. From your comments over the last year or so, it seems pretty clear that you think Cotto is basically done. His performance against Foreman (though marred by the knee injury) was definitely a step in the right direction in showing he's still got something left in the tank. I was pretty impressed with his movement and footwork throughout the fight and he really controlled the action through most of it. I was curious to see if Miguel would look like he was still "carrying the fire" and on Saturday, to me, it seemed he did. What do you think would have been the outcome without the injury? I respect your knowledge of the sport and look forward to your reply.
As I said before, I have much respect for Cotto and what he has accomplished, but I thought that given Foreman's style and the beatings Cotto had taken from the likes of Pacquiao, Margarito and Joshua Clottey that he wouldn't be the same. He had more left than I thought, and probably would have won the fight had Foreman not been injured, but I still question whether he could have beaten a more elite opponent.
I'm not a sports fan, and especially not of boxing, but I really enjoyed your coverage of Yuri Foreman, and his spiritual path to the rabbinate. I think that it is essential to give at least as much coverage to sports figures who have good values and morals and religious affiliations as to those who are on drugs, beating up their spouses and crashing their vehicles in an alcoholic haze.
San Jose, Calif.
Yuri is a good and decent man and deserved all the accolades he has received. Thanks, Rilene.
The Klitschko brothers are both overrated. Vitali quit against Chris Byrd and was on his way to a nasty KO loss against Lennox Lewis. He has beaten nobody of worth. Wlad is a horrid example of a Ring champion. He just about jumps out of the ring when a fighter so much as feints in his direction. Both brothers need to watch a copy of Ali-Frazier III and learn what the word "warrior" is about. The first fighter who learns how to neutralize the jab will easily outpoint both of them.
If it's so easy, what's taking so long to learn how to neutralize that jab, Jack?