For a fighter, two years might as well be an eternity. The amount of ring rust that can be accumulated in that period of time can turn once-great pugilists into average one’s, and leave a lasting impression on a career that once showed so much promise. The real test for any fighter who finds himself in such a position is to try and shake off that ring rust as quickly as possible, and prove to the audience that they still have what it takes to compete at the same level as before.
Belarusian-born Yuri Foreman (28-2, 8 KO’s) now finds himself in such a position. On Wednesday, January 23rd, the former WBA junior middleweight champion will step back into the ring for the first time in nearly two years to square off in a six-round bout at the BB King Blues Club in New York City against Brandon Baue (12-8, 10 KO’s) of Troy, Missouri.
Foreman, who is also studying to become a Rabbi in addition to competing in the ring, rose to prominence in November, 2009 when he earned a dominant, one-sided decision over Daniel Santos to capture the WBA title. And in the process, Foreman was able to make history by becoming the first Jewish world champion in 71 years, with the last being Barney Ross, who lost his welterweight championship in 1938.
However, Foreman might best be remembered for his spirited effort against Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto in June, 2010. It was the inaugural boxing event for the new Yankee Stadium, and Foreman was determined to prove that he belonged among the sports elite. In the seventh round, Foreman went down from a slip when his already braced right knee buckled. Foreman got back to his feet to continue fighting, but it was clear to all that he was in considerable pain. After repeatedly falling due to the pain, and the accumulation of Cotto’s punches, Foreman’s trainer threw in the towel. Afterwards, both camps filled the ring, and Cotto and Foreman engaged in some post-match formalities. However, referee Arthur Mercante Jr. felt that Foreman was in no immediate danger, and asked Foreman if he could continue, to which Foreman indicated that he could. The fight resumed with half of the round still remaining. During the 9th round, however, Cotto landed a left hook to the body that put Foreman down and out for good. During the post-fight interview, Foreman was asked why he continued to fight on an injured leg, to which Foreman replied “I’m a world-champion, now a former world-champion. You don’t just quit. A world champion needs to keep on fighting.”
Foreman had surgery to repair the damage his damaged knee, and was advised to take a year off from boxing to let his knee heal properly. However, Foreman returned to the ring nine months later. On March 2nd, 2011, Foreman lost in six rounds to Poland’s Pawel Wolak. After the bout, Foreman expressed doubt as to whether he would continue his career.
And now, a rejuvenated Yuri Foreman looks to continue his career, and prove to himself that despite all the setbacks, he still has what it takes to be a world champion. And while his opponent might not have the most impressive record, Foreman is smart enough to realize that he has to take things slowly, and simultaneously build up his confidence and shake off his ring rust. Brandon Baue will provide Foreman the perfect opportunity to regain his fortitude, and let him properly gauge how his body holds up during the pressure of a real fight. And despite the prolonged period of time away from the ring, Foreman should have more than enough left in the tank to easily dispose of Baue.
The card, which is being promoted by DiBella Entertainment (DBE), will feature several of DBE’s prospects including Luis Rose (11-0, 6 KO’s), Lamar Russ (11-0, 7 KO’s), and Delen Parsley (9-0, 2 KO’s).