The last ring images featuring Yuri Foreman in a high-profile setting likely didn’t foretell another opportunity at a world title.
Foreman sustained a serious knee injury during the first defense of his super-welterweight title against Miguel Cotto six years ago. Despite the injury, a grimacing Foreman limped for two rounds and withstood Cotto’s arsenal before the bout was finally stopped in the ninth round.
The loss cost Foreman his World Boxing Association belt.
Notable knee injuries often end fighters’ careers. Former middleweight champion Sergio Martinez dealt with lingering knee issues leading to his defense against Cotto in 2014. For Martinez, the problems finally betrayed him as Cotto knocked him out and won a second world title partly because of his opponent’s knee woes.
Martinez retired after the bout yet Foreman’s fight trail continued, albeit with intermittent paths. And Foreman’s route somehow has resulted in another shot at his previous belt.
On Friday night, Foreman (34-2, 10 KOs) will face reigning WBA champion Erislandy Lara at Hialeah Park and Casino. The bout headlines an announced seven-bout card.
“I’m thrilled to be fighting for the world title,” Foreman said in a statement. “I’m really looking forward to showcasing my skills and talent and becoming a two-time world champion. At this stage of my career, it would be a tremendous accomplishment.”
Foreman, 36, had one additional fight following the match with Cotto, losing against Pawel Wolak in 2011. Foreman took a two-year hiatus and won four consecutive bouts upon his in 2013, only to leave the ring an additional two years.
A second comeback in 2015 resulted in two subsequent victories, eventually earning Foreman another shot at his former title.
Born in Belarus, Foreman moved with his family to Israel as a child and eventually settled in New York, where he currently lives. An ordained rabbi, Foreman won his first 27 professional fights when he faced champion Daniel Santos in 2009. Foreman captured the title, winning a unanimous decision.
A native of Cuba, Lara (23-2-2, 13 KOs) will make the third defense of his belt. According to Lara’s manager, Luis De Cubas Jr., Lara will target a title-unification bout if he defeats Foreman and then pursue a middleweight bout.
“Erislandy has had experience fighting above 154 pounds, so it won’t be a difficult adjustment for him,” De Cubas said. “He is at a point in his career where he deserves the top fights.”
Friday’s card also will feature cancer survivor Anthony Dirrell. Dirrell will face Norbert Nemesapar in a scheduled 10-round super-middleweight bout.
Former world bantamweight champion Juan Carlos Payano will fight in another undercard bout. Payano, of the Dominican Republic, will face Mexico’s Isao Carranza in a scheduled 10-round fight.
Miami-based fighters Joey Hernandez and Robert Daniels are scheduled to appear in separate undercard bouts.
▪ Former world junior-middleweight champion Ronald “Winky” Wright and ex-heavyweight titleholders Michael Moorer and Trevor Berbick head the 2017 class of the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame that was announced Saturday.
The induction-ceremony weekend will be June 23-25 at the Westshore Grand Hotel in Tampa.
Friday (6 p.m., at Hialeah Park and Casino, 2200 E. 4th Ave., Hialeah): announced seven-bout card, headlined by Erislandy Lara vs. Yuri Foreman, 12, for Lara’s WBA super-welterweight title; tickets range between $25 and $125; call 877-840-0457 or visit www.myticketforce.com.
Saturday (9:30 p.m., Showtime): James DeGale vs. Badou Jack, 12, for the unified WBC and IBF super-middleweight titles.