There is no doubt in my mind I am one of the luckiest photographers in the world; for that matter, I am probably one of the luckiest people in the world. As a contributing photographer for Sports Illustrated for several decades, I’ve had an opportunity to photograph Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, George Foreman, Mike Tyson, and my god the list just goes on and on and on. Four years ago I started to fulfill a dream of doing a full-length boxing documentary. The name of that documentary is “In This Corner.” It features five protagonists. The main protagonist is Yuri Foreman.Foreman was born in Belle rousse, moved to Israel, and he now resides in Brooklyn. All of the boxers, plus hundreds more that I did not name, are all great in their own right. Yuri Foreman out of all of them is the hardest working; most dedicated human being I have ever met. He has fought his way from absolute poverty to last Saturday night, doing something that very few people believed he could actually do. He won the WBA Junior Middle Weight Championship of the world (154). All the odds were against him. Many of the definitive experts believed that he had no chance, but in spite of the odds, in spite of the nay-sayers, he prevailed. They now call him, “the lion from Zion.” I emailed Yuri congratulations. He was gracious enough to email me back “Joe we did it!” I wrote him back and said, “No, Yuri. You did it. You did it alone. It takes an extremely special person to step through those ropes and put it all on the line. Very few have the courage to do it and fewer yet become champion of the world.” I am proud to be called a friend of Yuri Foreman.
Post Script: Like all great Hollywood movies, we always want to see the good guy win, live happily ever after, and ride off into the sunset. But unfortunately, in the real world, sometimes it just doesn’t happen that way. Yuri Foreman lost his title in Yankee stadium on 2010-06-05. He re-injured his meniscus. On his next fight, he lost again to Pawel Wolak. Certainly not the way we wanted to remember Yuri Foreman. But as we all know, sometimes life is just not fair. So to all the ships at sea, keep both hands up and your eye on the prize and never give up.