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Yankee Stadium is likely site for Foreman-Cotto bout

February 19, 2010 |  4:21 pm

As a soon-to-be-ordained rabbi, Yuri Foremanunderstands the importance of a bar mitzvah. But as a world champion boxer, he also understands the importance a venue like Yankee Stadium has in his sport.

So Foreman raised no objections when the Yankees asked a family to move a bar mitzvah, scheduled for June 5 at their ballpark, to accommodate Foreman's first defense of his junior middleweight title against former welterweight champion Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico.

The fight was originally scheduled for June 12 at Madison Square Garden before promoter Bob Arum, who is staging Manny Pacquiao'snext fight at mammoth Cowboys Stadium next month, decided to check on the availability of historic Yankee Stadium. With the Yankees playing at home on two of the four weekends in June, Arum had to choose between two dates -- one of which had already been booked for the bar mitzvah of Scott Ballan, the son of Jon Ballan, the lead bond lawyer handling the financing of the $1.2-billion stadium.

The Yankees asked the Ballans if they would considered altering their plans -- which included the use of Yankee Stadium's massive videoboard in center field -- and the family agreed. Although exactly what accommodations were made with the Ballans the Yankees weren't saying.

The contracts for the fight have not been signed, but if there are no snags the Foreman-Cotto fight will be the first at Yankee Stadium since Muahammad Ali beat Ken Nortonin September 1976 at the old stadium across 161st Street in Bronx.

"For me to be fighting in Yankee Stadium is historical, being part of history," Foreman (28-0, 8 knockouts) told the Associated Press. Cotto is 34-2 with 27 KOs.

If negotiations to use the Stadium fall through, Arum said the fight would return to its original place and date, on the eve of New York City's annual Puerto Rican Day parade.

-- Kevin Baxter