Yuri Foreman’s managerial dispute threatens Jorge Melendez fight


Former junior middleweight titleholder Yuri Foreman has cited "a harmful contract" for his "retirement from boxing" in advance of his June 7 bout with Jorge Melendez on the Sergio Martinez-Miguel Cotto HBO Pay Per View undercard, but his promoter, Lou DiBella, said in a press release that he is hopeful of Foreman-Melendez taking place.

A 33-year-old resident of Brooklyn, Foreman (32-2, 9 knockouts) has won four consecutive fights since falling by consecutive stoppage losses in the ninth and sixth rounds to Cotto and Pawel Wolak in June 2010 and March 2011, respectively.

The 25-year-old Melendez (28-3, 26 KOs), 25, would be after his third straight victory since losing a unanimous decision to Nick Brinson last June and is coming off a unanimous decision over Richard Gutierrez in March.

But during the early afternoon on Monday, Foreman announced that he was having trouble with a contract.

"Dear Friends! Unknowingly I signed a very harmful contract regarding my boxing carrier," read Foreman's statement. "I tried all possible ways to free myself from it, but nothing else I can do, than announce my retirement from boxing. So from now I'm on to bigger and better things. Much blessings."

Upon learning of the Foreman's unrest, DiBella responded with a statement of his own, also characterizing the problem as "a managerial issue" to

"Yuri Foreman has been training hard for his fight on June 7 against Jorge Melendez. At this moment, there is a dispute within Yuri's team that does not involve DiBella Entertainment," said DiBella, inferring that the problem was a managerial one.

"Yuri has worked very hard on his comeback to get to an opportunity like this. Lou DiBella and DBE have a great working and personal relationship with Yuri. We are awaiting a phone call and hope to see him fight on June 7th at MSG. This will be resolved very shortly."

Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, the event's lead promoter, said he is awaiting a response from DiBella.

"I read about it…I called Lou up, and he said that he's working on it," said Arum. "So I told him 'Let's see if it can be worked out, or whatever, and, if not, get another opponent.'"

The loss to Cotto dethroned Foreman as WBA titleholder after Foreman had dethroned Puerto Rico’s Daniel Santos in November 2009 for the belt.

In doing so, Foreman (whose first name in English translation is "George") became the first Israeli to win a world boxing title, not to mention the first soon-to-be Rabbi to do so. In January 2013, Foreman ended a nearly two-year absence with a unanimous decision victory over Brandon Baue. Foreman was last in the ring for November's first-round knockout of Jovany Javier Gomez.