By now, WBA 154-pound champion Yuri Foreman has answered all the questions about his rabbinical studies and what it's like to be the first Orthodox Jew to win a world boxing title in some 75 years. So, with four days remaining until Foreman's first defense against Miguel Cotto Saturday night at Yankee Stadium, the media seized on current events to explore another angle related to Foreman's Jewish faith at today's public workout.
Foreman was asked for his thoughts on the violent clash that ensued when Israeli soldiers enforcing a blockade of the Gaza Strip boarded a pro-Palestinian flotilla carrying humanitarian aid. The objective was to prevent militants from moving weapons, but in the process, nine activists died and dozens were wounded, sparking an international controversy.
Foreman's father, who moved the family from Belarus, still lives in Israel, which is where Yuri began boxing by training in Arab neighborhoods and developing friends on both sides of the conflict. "In spite of our differences, we became friends," Foreman said of his Arab sparring partners. "So, perhaps boxing can be a good solution in the Middle East peace process."
Not that Foreman truly believes boxing has any direct relation to the cultural differences, but he suggested the lessons from his own experience are applicable. "Perhaps a great step is to interact, you know?" Foreman said. "Working together. I don't know. I'm just throwing ideas out. How I became friends with Arab people, we did things together. The beginning was tough, but they realized we were pursuing the same things in the sport, and this is how I guess the differences make sense."
It was as good an answer as any to an age-old question.