LAS VEGAS — Yuri Foreman was finally in an entertaining fight but his willingness to stand and trade with relentless pressure fighter Pawel Wolak cost the junior middleweight contender his second consecutive loss.
Wolak, a relentlessly aggressive fighter from Poland, smothered and mugged Foreman for six rounds until the corner of the former154-pound beltholder told referee Kenny Bayless that their fighter had taken enough punishment.
Bayless stopped the contest, giving Wolak (29-1, 19 knockouts) a sixth-round TKO victory. The fight, which was the chief supporting bout to the Miguel Cotto-Ricardo Mayorga pay-per-view event at the MGM Grand, was the highest-profile victory of Wolak’s eight-year career.
Foreman (28-2, 8 KOs) has been in bigger fights. The Bronx, N.Y.-based Israeli’s last bout, against Cotto, drew close to 30,000 fans to Yankee Stadium. He lost that fight by a ninth-round TKO after a seventh-round slip badly damaged his right knee.
Although his knee injury required major surgery, Foreman took a lot less punishment against Cotto than he did against Wolak, who mauled the 30-year-old stick-and-move specialist from the opening bell.
Foreman did not utilize as much lateral movement against Wolak as he usually does. The native of Belarus, who is studying to be a rabbi, has been criticized by some members of the media for not engaging enough in his fights. One internet writer gave Foreman the unflattering nickname of “Bore-man.”
Well, Foreman wasn’t boring against Wolak. Whether he was not confident in his rehabbed right knee, or Wolak’s pressure was just too constant, or he simply elected to fight more in this bout, Foreman stood and traded with his stronger, harder-punching adversary.
In other words, he fought Wolak’s fight and paid the price.
Wolak, who won every round on all three official scorecards, landed 52.5 percent of his total punches (265 of 505) and he connected with 58 percent of his power shots (239 of 412), according to SportsMEDIA stats.
Foreman landed his share of punches, too, including 50.3 percent of his power shots (92 of 183). However, he was not busy enough, especially with his jab. That Wolak threw more jabs (93 to 74) should tell fans all they need to know about the fight.
It wasn’t Foreman’s night, but at least he and Wolak gave the fans a good scrap.