Boxing


Foreman squeaks by Thompson in battle for Jerusalem!

09.06.07 - By Izyaslav “Slava” Koza: If there was ever an ironic stereotype for the term “bittersweet victory” it must unquestionably fall on the shoulders of tonight’s bout between Yuri Foreman and Anthony Thompson. Usually the statement walks hand in hand in with the understanding of a “Pyrrhic victory” in describing how one fighter gets the win with devastating cost to himself, but usually that refers actual physical punishment not punishment in a marketability sense..

yuri foremanThough Yuri Foreman won tonight, I doubt many objective people, unlike me, will be showing him much praise. The realities of boxing are such that not only do regular fans demand victory but more specifically an emphatic or an impressive one to get on a fighter’s bandwagon. Though the technical realities allow a fighter to get by with the former, the latter is what a fighter ultimately needs to gain an adoring throng of objective supporters.

The fight itself was very difficult to score and I would not much complain if the result was a draw or a narrow decision for Thompson. As a fan of Yuri I was of course disappointed, though my score did reflect a slight 96-94 win for him, since putting a close bout in the hands of the judges is begging for a loss or a draw. While Thompson was the more flat-footed of the two, ultimately, Foreman’s movement tired him out going down the stretch. As the fight was drawing to its conclusion Yuri was roughing a tiring Thompson out and getting the 9th and 10th rounds more definitively then the previous rounds which were too close to comfort for either fighter.

Even though Harold Lederman and the HBO crew got on Foreman’s case for clinching ala Ruiz the whole way, it seemed unfair since Thompson was initiating many clinches as well. Part of the problem for him was he threw his best stuff on the inside when both men were clinching, which did not give all the judges a clear view of every one of the shots. For Yuri’s part, the shots he scored with best were usually the ones coming when both men were separated, hence giving the judges a clearer view of his best work. However, even at that point it was still too difficult to confidently give either fighter those 10-9’s. It would, however, seem like a logical reason to assume why the Brooklyn-based Belarus-Israeli got the nod. Furthermore, while the overall punch stats were generally even, the power punch connects did favor the winner of the bout.

Next up for Foreman, according to the HBO crew rumor mill, is a title fight, and while as a fan I would welcome such news, it seems there is still a lot of work to be done to make such an attempt a truly successful one. That said, thus concludes the biggest bout between 2 Israeli fighters in the history of the sport. While to most fans it was more a disappointment relative to how it looked on paper, one can hope it will serve to motivate both men to try harder in the future.

Congratulations to both guys for putting their records on the line and for Top Rank for putting it together. Just goes to show how not every single bout can play out in real life the way it looks on paper.

Article posted on 10.06.2007



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