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Foreman unable to handle Wolak’s pressure

By Jim Dower: In hindsight, it might not have been the smartest thing for former WBA junior middleweight champion Yuri Foreman (28-2, 8 KO’s) to take on a tough pressure fighter and non-stop puncher like junior middleweight contender Pawel Wolak (29-1, 19 KO’s) in Foreman’s first fight coming off of a stoppage loss and major surgery to repair his badly damaged right knee. Last night, Foreman seemed out of his element as Wolak pressured and pounded him until Foreman decided not to come out for the 7th round.

It wasn’t that Foreman wasn’t able to land and cause damage in the fight, because he landed what appeared to be the harder shots. He had Wolak’s left eye on the verge of closing when the fight was stopped. However, Foreman wasn’t able to keep on the outside and fight in his usual in and out style simply because Wolak stayed with him every where Foreman moved. The side to side movements from Foreman were useless against Wolak because he stayed with Foreman and continued to batter him no matter where he moved.

After the fight, Foreman second guessed himself, saying that he should have moved even more, thinking that might have helped him win. It wouldn’t have. Foreman is kidding himself. The only way he could have won that fight is by out-slugging Wolak in the trenches and loading up with everything. Foreman wasn’t ready for that kind of fight, and that’s why he lost. Wolak didn’t care how many times he was hit. His single-minded focus was to land as many shots as he could against Foreman and make him uncomfortable.

Things started getting really bad for Foreman towards the end of the fight when Wolak began to catch Foreman with sustained combinations while Foreman was near the ropes. Foreman didn’t help himself by not keeping his left guard up to block some of Wolak’s right hands. He also failed to move his head to get out of the way of Wolak’s shots. To be sure, Wolak is a beatable fighter, but Foreman didn’t seem to understand what he needed to do to get the win. A fighter like Alfredo Angulo would likely eat Wolak for breakfast, as would guys like Erislandy Lara. But those guys are good at fighting on the inside and bring power. Foreman was out of his element.

After the fight, Foreman mentioned needing to take more time off. He already took nine months off from his surgery. It’s unclear what additional time off will do to help Foreman. After two consecutive stoppage losses, Foreman’s time at the top might be at an end. It’s hard to see him beating guys like Saul Alvarez, Lara, Angulo, Cornelius Bundrage or Cotto. And if he can’t beat a contender like Wolak, then Foreman might need to find another line of work.

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