Rabbi (Yuri Foreman) Should Have Been in Temple
Rabbi (Yuri Foreman) Should Have Been in Temple
By: Ronald Neal Goldman
What might eventually portend as a career ending match, Yuri Foreman (34-3, 10 KOs), was knocked out for the second first time in his career, at 1;47 of the fourth round at the Amphitheater at Hialeah Park South Florida. Dubbed The Fighting Rabbi, Foreman’s ring savvy with his ability to slip punches, and quick thinking on his feet, was no match for Erislandy Lara, (24–2-2, 14 KOs) one of the most avoided fighters in the game. Implementing Metallica’s iconic title song Seek and Destroy, as his game strategy , Lara disposed of the Israeli fighter- originally from the Soviet Union- with a perfectly timed left uppercut that left Yuri incapable to continue on his quest for a second world title. While neither fighter is known for devastating punching power, it was the Cuban born Lara, best, known for setting traps and delivering and scoring with remarkable accuracy, which made the difference. Referee Samuel Burgos’s uncontested stoppage of the fight, places the orthodox rabbinical student in the unenviable quandary of some heavy soul searching contemplation.
As orthodox Jew,Yuri’s foray into the squared circle is not without precedent. Having been a publicist for former number one welterweight challenger, Dmitriy (Star of David) Salita, (35-2-1) the issues of maintaining religious convictions, while at the same time pursuing the WBA welterweight title was more than simply a case of cognitive dissonance, conflicting beliefs and, by extension, where to implement your energies. Salita, a devoted follower of the Chabad religious sect, formerly of what is now considered the Ukraine then supplanted in Brooklyn, New York, was the avatar to a multitude of Jewish orthodoxy who looked at Dmitriy as more than the stereotypical Jew who favored the philosophical over the physical, books over boxing, as it were. I recall one Saturday when the Jewish Sabbath ended around 7:30 p.m. and he was scheduled to fight in the Garden that same evening. He quite literally went from his sartorially appropriate Sabbath garb to his boxing trunks, from praying to punching.
For Yuri, his dream of securing a world title was played out on the Major Degan on June 5, 2010. Racing the clock, he was escorted by police cruisers to Yankee Stadium -directly following the end of the Sabbath- in his showdown with Miguel Cotto in a super welterweight challenge for the WBA Super Welterweight Championship. As divinity reared its unapologetically spiritual adjudication, it was not meant to be as Mr. Forerman lost via a TKO in in the ninth round.
Yuri Foreman’s issues, this writer believes, was and is, his inability to reconcile the spiritual with the ethical, who, and, more importantly, what he is. If, as I believe in Yuri’s case, he is unable to put his reconciliation of opposites to rest and find a a path whereby his vocation and his asceticism can comfortably coexist, he may never realize his full potential of either.
Ronald Neal Goldman
professor of English
Touro College and University System
Lara Knocks Out Foreman!
Lara Knocks Out Foreman
By: Sean Crose
Anthony Dirrell (29-1-1) fought Norbert Nemesapati (24-3) in Miami Friday in a super middleweight affair that was part of a PBC card airing live on Spike. Dirrell looked a bit sharper in the first, his punches landing harder and cleaner. Things got more physical in the second, with both men pressing against each other. Still, the round belonged to the effective puncher Dirrell. Nemesapati landed clean a few times towards the end of the second, to be sure, but Dirrell’s beard was too strong. Needless to say, Dirrell ended the round banging away at his opponent.
Dirrell’s big punches started taking their toll in the third. Indeed, by the end of the round, the game Nemesapati looked in trouble. To be sure, the man had provided no answers for Dirrell up to that point in the bout. Things began to get brutal in the fourth. Dirrell thudded away while Nemesapati did nothing more than stay on his feet. It was time for the man’s corner to decide whether or not it was time to call it a night.
By the fifth, Dirrell was mocking his man, holding his hands behind his back and daring him to swing. Nemesapati, however, was still standing. He was taking an endless beating, but he was standing. By the sixth round, Dirrell actually seemed to be slowing down. Nemesapati may not have been capitalizing on the situation, but Dirrell was no longer able to keep slugging away at will. Fortunately, Nemesapati’s corner stopped the proceedings after the sixth. It was the right decision to make. Their man had simply had enough.
The second televised fight of the evening featured Juan Carlos Payano (17-1) and Isao Carranza (15-7-1) in a bantamweight affair. Payano landed some solid shots in the first. Carranza may have had the height advantage, but it didn’t do much for the man in round one (though Carranza did push forward hard in the final seconds). The second round showed good movement on the part of Payano, as well as more effective punching, thanks in part to a very effective southpaw jab.
Payano continued to glide along through the middle rounds. In truth, the one sided nature of the fight made the bout monotonous. Indeed, the referee had seen all he needed to by the 7th, and put Carranza out of his misery by wisely stopping the bout. It was now time for the main event between IBO and WBA super welterweight champ Erislandy Lara (23-2-2) and the former WBA world super welterweight champ, Yuri Foreman (34-2).
Round one, frankly, was close, though Lara may have edged it. The second round was also a tentative affair. People expecting Lara to blow Foreman out were so far sadly mistaken, though Lara did get a clean shot in during the final seconds of the round. Lara started taking control in the third – though a slip ruled as a knockdown against Foreman was a bit unfair. A thunderous uppercut took Foreman down in the fourth – and that was that. The referee stopped the fight as a wobbly Foreman gamely tried to get up and stabilize himself. It looked like Foreman may have hurt his leg – which had given him trouble in the past – but it was impossible to confirm at the time.