Boxing Bets - Cotto vs Foreman Odds

Is there a more overlooked champion anywhere in boxing than WBA junior-middleweight king Yuri Foreman?

[ Article courtesy Richard Gardner | Bovada Sportsbook Manager ]

His story is one of the most unique in the sport, as he won the title back in November in a fairly shocking one-sided decision over Daniel Santos on the Miguel Cotto-Manny Pacquiao undercard. He became the first observant Jew to win a world title in 70 years.

Oh, and he’s also a future rabbi and the first native Israeli to earn a professional boxing title. Foreman (28-0, 8 KOs) isn’t an undercard fighter any longer, as he takes on Cotto on Saturday night at Yankee Stadium – the first fight at a Yankee Stadium since Muhammad Ali beat Ken Norton in 1976. Obviously the Ali-Norton bout was at the old Yankee Stadium, but you get the idea.

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The former Yankee Stadium held 46 boxing events, including 30 championship bouts -- most famously Joe Louis' first-round victory over Germany's Max Schmeling in 1938. This will be the first card at the new park, and they are expecting a crowd of about 30,000.

HBO will televise it live, which always means a bigger handle at Bodog Sportsbook than a similar pay-per-view bout because more people will watch it.

By the way, Foreman will observe the Sabbath. At 9:15 p.m., after the sun goes down, an NYPD escort will drive with Foreman to the stadium. Until then, Foreman can’t fight or even travel. It should be interesting to see which way the crowd on hand leans because Cotto is very popular among the large Puerto Rican community in New York.

In fact, Cotto has sold more tickets to boxing events in New York City over the past decade than any fighter. He is 7-0 with three knockouts when fighting in New York (all but one but at Madison Square Garden), beating big names such as Joshua Clottey, Shane Mosley, Zab Judah and Paulie Malignaggi.

Obviously there is a massive Jewish community in the Big Apple too, and Foreman is from Brooklyn by way of Israel and Russia. He trains just blocks from Yankee Stadium. Despite the fact that Foreman is the undefeated champion and that Cotto (34-2, 27 KOs) was dominated by Pacquiao last time out (lost by 12th-round TKO), Cotto is the sizable Bovada betting favorite.

He opened at -260, but heavy betting on Foreman and parlays involving him have moved the line to -225, where it currently sits and is seeing solid two-sided action. It is certainly a rarity in this business that we see a champion come into his first title defense as such a big underdog. The rounds total opened at 10.5, with the over at -125. That has moved to -130 and has been seeing good action on both sides. Frankly, if the fight goes under the 10.5 then Cotto probably wins.

He is a textbook brawler at times with huge power, while Forman uses tight boxing skills and a long jab to compensate for a lack of power. He has never been damaged in the ring. At 29, Foreman is actually a few months older than Cotto, a former three-time world champion, but has not fought anywhere near the same caliber of competition.

Foreman will have a significant size advantage as Cotto is stepping up a weight in class. Cotto’s only two losses – to Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito in July 2008 -- came via knockout or TKO so some question his chin.

After the Pacquiao loss, Cotto replaced trainer Joe Santiago with Hall of Famer Emmanuel Steward, who seems to do his best work when one of his fighters is coming off a loss (see Lennox Lewis, for example).

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