Sunday, April 02, 2023  |



Foreman vs. Cotto: Head-to-head analysis

Fighters Network


When: Saturday, June 5

Where: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, N.Y.

TV: HBO, 10:15 pm. ET / 7:15 p.m. PT (live)

Weight: junior middleweight (154 pounds)

Title(s) at stake: Foreman’s junior middleweight title

Also on the card: Vanes Martirosyan vs. Joe Greene, 10 rounds, junior middleweights.


The essentials

Age: 29

Height / Reach: 5-11 (180cm) / 72 (183cm)

Stance: Orthodox

Hometown: Brooklyn, N.Y. (from Israel)

Nickname: None

Turned pro: 2002

Record: 28-0 (8 knockouts)

Trainer: Joe Grier


The Ring rating: No. 6 junior middleweight

Titles: WBA junior middleweight (2009-current)

Biggest victories: Anthony Thompson, June 9, 2007, SD 10; Andrey Tsurkan, Dec. 6, 2007, SD 10; Saul Roman, April 3, 2008, UD 10; Daniel Santos, Nov. 14, 2009, UD 12 (won title).

Losses: None


The essentials

Age: 29

Height / Reach: 5-7 (170cm) / 67 (170cm)

Stance: Orthodox

Hometown: Caguas, Puerto Rico

Nickname: None.

Turned pro: 2001

Record: 34-2 (27 knockouts)

Trainer: Emanuel Steward

Fight-by-fight: Fight-by-fight:

The Ring rating: No. 5 welterweight

Titles: Junior welterweight (2004-06; defeated Kelson Pinto for vacant title; vacated to campaign at welterweight); welterweight (2006-08; defeated Carlso Quintana for vacant title; lost it to Antonio Margarito); welterweight (2009; defeated Michael Jennings for vacant title; lost it to Manny Pacquiao).

Biggest victories: Pinto, Sept. 11, 2004, TKO 6 (won first title); Quintana, Dec. 2, 2006, TKO 5 (won vacant welterweight title); Shane Mosley, Nov. 10, 2007, UD 12; Jennings, Feb. 21, 2009, TKO 5 (won vacant welterweight title); Joshua Clottey, June 13, 2009, SD 12.

Losses: Antonio Margarito, July 26, 2008, TKO 11 (lost welterweight title); Manny Pacquiao, Nov. 14, 2009, TKO 12.


Skills: It’s easy for fans to view Foreman as “the boxer” in this matchup because he is a stick-and-move specialist who relies on a busy jab and quick reflexes, but Cotto can box, too. The Puerto Rican vet possesses solid technique, good timing and balance, and underrated footwork. Although Cotto’s lateral movement only prolonged his punishment in losses to Margarito and Pacquiao, his footwork helped him — along with his excellent jab — to neutralize the aggression of physically stronger opponents such as Mosley, Clottey and Muhammad Abdulaev.
Edge: Even

Power: This category is not hard to figure. Cotto has scored 27 knockouts in his 34 victories. Foreman has only stopped eight of the 28 opponents he’s defeated.
Edge: Cotto

Speed and athletic ability: Cotto has many strengths and attributes, but speed and athleticism are not among them. The Puerto Rican star has average hand and foot speed. There’s nothing dynamic about Cotto’s attack or ring generalship. He’s methodical in his ring movement, in fact, he can be down right plodding at times. Foreman has quick hands, fast and fluid footwork, and very good reflexes to back up his above-average athleticism.
Edge: Foreman

Defense: Despite Cotto’s experience and obvious intelligence, he often squares up in front of his opponents and, thus, is not hard to find with punches. Foreman’s constant movement makes him a very difficult target.
Edge: Foreman

Experience: No contest. Not only does Cotto have more fights than Foreman, he has faced 13 fighters who have held world titles, three of whom (Pacquiao, Mosley and Judah) were once recognized as champions by THE RING. Foreman has faced one titleholder (Santos).
Edge: Cotto

Chin: Cotto was rocked a few times in 140-pound shootouts with DeMarcus Corley and Ricardo Torres and in the early rounds in his welterweight showdown with Judah, but he recovered well in those fights. Cotto was stopped in his two biggest fights to date, but it should be noted that he lasted into the 11th and 12th rounds against Margarito and Pacquiao, respectively, and there’s reason to believe that the Mexican mauler may have had loaded gloves for their contest. Foreman has never been dropped or stopped, however, he was wobbled a few times early in his career against nondescript opposition on non-televised club shows. In recent fights, Foreman handled the above-average power of Santos and Thompson and the heavy handed attacks of pressure fighters Tsurkan and James Moore.
Edge: Even

Conditioning: Cotto is the consummate professional. He’s always in 100 percent condition. Foreman is a very dedicated athlete who trains to throw a high volume of punches and constantly move for the distance. He’s only gone 12 rounds once, but he’s completed eight 10-round bouts with ease.
Edge: Even

Wear and tear: Foreman has a lot of rounds under his belt but he’s never taken a beating. Cotto has. Apart from his brutal TKO losses to Margarito and Pacquiao, Cotto had a life-and-death slugfest with Torres and tough extended fights against Mosley, Judah and Clottey.
Edge: Foreman

Corner: Foreman is trained by Joe Grier, an ex-New Jersey cop who runs a gym in Paterson, N.J., and once trained former featherweight titleholder Frankie Toledo. Grier learned from Tommy Brooks, who trained Foreman for a few fights and is one of the best trainers of the past 25 years. Grier knows what works best with the mobile junior middleweight beltholder. Cotto was given a very solid foundation from his uncle and longtime trainer Evangelista Cotto, who he split with after his bout with Michael Jennings. Cotto promoted his conditioning coach Joe Santiago to head trainer for his bouts with Clottey and Pacquiao, which did little to improve his game in any area. He has hired Emanuel Steward for the Foreman fight and the hall-of-fame trainer is expected to have the veteran technically and mentally sharp.
Edge: Even

Outcome: Foreman, motivated and focused for the biggest opportunity of his career, will be faster on his feet than usual, but Cotto will be extremely determined in cutting off the ring. Foreman will score the cleaner shots in the early rounds, landing pot shots on the fly, as Cotto gradually adjusts to his adversary’s speed and lateral patterns. Steward will remind Cotto to jab his way in and the veteran’s timing and underrated left stick will indeed help the squat puncher to get inside and land powerful body shots that hurt Foreman. However, Foreman will tie Cotto up whenever the Puerto Rican star gets in close and then spin the pressure fighter around before making his escape. Foreman will plant his feet a little more in the late rounds and land thudding one-two combinations that get Cotto’s respect and the attention of the judges, but Cotto will also land a few counter left hooks that wobble the future rabbi. Foreman will hold to survive these rocky moments and then get on his bicycle for the remainder of the round. The fight will be close in the championship rounds and Foreman’s jab and lateral movement will not only enable him to survive, but will rack up important points.

Prediction: Foreman by close, perhaps majority, decision.

Michael Rosenthal contributed to this feature.