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Erislandy Lara and Yuri Foreman close to deal for Jan. fight

Photo by: Naoki Fukuda

The Rabbi and The American Dream could be meeting in the ring in 2017.

Erislandy Lara is in advanced talks to defend his 154-pound title against Yuri Foreman, a former champion and ordained rabbi for the first quarter of 2017, a source told on Wednesday. Both sides have agreed to the match, the source said, with Jan. 13 in Florida eyed as a date and destination.

The rationale for Lara, whose nickname is “The American Dream,” facing Foreman, a skilled 36-year-old who has fought just twice since 2013, is to get Lara a stay-busy fight before taking on the challenge of a unification match with another junior middleweight titleholder. Jermell Charlo, who holds the WBC 154-pound title, is eyed as a likely opponent, another source said. The southpaw Lara (23-2-2, 13 knockouts) had also been in talks to face Luis Collazo, another former titleholder, before narrowing his focuse on Foreman.

Lara, the WBA champion and a Cuban defector, last fought on May 21, winning a rematch against Vanes Martirosyan in Las Vegas. Brooklyn’s Foreman (34-2, 10 KOs) seemed to peak in 2009 when he won a 154-pound title against Daniel Santos with a wide decision. A boxer who relies on his legs and reflexes, Foreman lost his next fight to Miguel Cotto at Yankee Stadium in 2010, sustaining a knee injury before the bout was stopped in the ninth round.

Foreman stepped away from the ring for two years before he returned in December of 2015 against Lenwood Dozier. He won a decision then, and he stopped Jason Davis in the second round in June. Now, if a deal is made, Foreman will be stepping way up in class against the Cuban stylist.