Former junior middleweight titleholder Yuri Foreman has retired in advance of his scheduled June 7 bout with Jorge Melendez on the Sergio Martinez-Miguel Cotto HBO Pay Per View undercard, his promoter, Lou DiBella, informed RingTV.com on Wednesday.
A 33-year-old resident of Brooklyn, Foreman (32-2, 9 knockouts), on Tuesday, cited "a harmful contract" for his "retirement from boxing," while DiBella characterized the problem as "a managerial issue" in a statement to RingTV.com on Tuesday.
"What I am I going to say? I'm somewhat shocked that he went through all of this training," said DiBella. "I know that there was a very serious dispute with his management, and that became a very big distraction for him, and he got fed up, and elected to retire."
Foreman could not be reached for an immediate comment.
Foreman 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) was 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.
"Dear Friends! Unknowingly I signed a very harmful contract regarding my boxing carrier," read Foreman's statement on his Facebook page. "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."
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.
Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, the card's lead promoter and who handled Foreman during his title-winning run, declined comment, although DiBella said that Cotto, the event's co-promoter, is attempting to replace Foreman with an opponent for Melendez, who is handled by Cotto.
"I'm disappointed, because we worked very hard to get him to this point, and he trained hard during this camp. On the other hand, a person is allowed to make that kind of decision. If you're not in the right mindset to fight, and you don't want to fight any longer, then you shouldn't fight," said DiBella.
"So, I'm not going to say that I'm not disappointed or surprised by what happened, but, ultimately, that's Yuri's decision. I have no choice but to respect his decision. Melendez is Cotto's fighter, and they're trying to replace Yuri with another opponent."