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Cotto-Foreman Part of Larger Legacy of Boxing in Ballparks

Cotto-Foreman Part of Larger Legacy of Boxing in Ballparks

04/27/2010

Baseball and boxing share a single consonant, the letter "B," and that's about it. Sure, every now and then a batter will charge the mound and throw an on-the-run jab at a pitcher, causing a bunch of righteously angry dudes to evacuate the dugouts. But, really, the two sports couldn't be more different, not least of which is because baseball is a team sport while boxing places the onus on one man-and, of course, his two fists.

Still, despite the obvious differences, there was a time when fans swarmed the nation's ballparks to watch their favorite fighters duke it out in epic battles whose punches still echo in history. Now, thanks to Top Rank, that glorious past is here once again.

On June 5, Miguel Cotto will battle Yuri Foreman at the new Yankee Stadium. Regardless of the outcome, the fact that the bout will take place at the famed ballpark guarantees it a place in boxing lore, as it will mark the first time the New York-based venue has hosted a fight since 1976 (which, coincidentally, was a Top Rank-promoted match-up).

In honor of this momentous occasion, we compiled three stories below that outline the history of boxing matches in ballparks, beginning with a retrospective by Top Rank founder and CEO Bob Arum.

Writing in the Las Vegas Sun last year, Arum provides a detailed history of some of the major match-ups held at Yankees Stadium: "With all this history surrounding Yankee Stadium fights, it was an honor for Top Rank to stage the last fight card at the ballpark Sept. 28, 1976. World champion Muhammad Ali, with recent exciting wins over Joe Frazier, Ron Lyle and George Foreman, defended his crown against Ken Norton in their third epic contest."

Writing at ESPN.com in 2008, Don Stradley outlines the role ballparks played in boxing: "There was a juicy irony in seeing fighters in such a pastoral setting. Baseball was the all-American game, marketed primarily as family entertainment. Boxing, however, was for creatures of the night."

And in this classic account originally published in 1955, legendary New Yorker writer A. J. Liebling paints a vivid portrait of his experience of the epic brawl between Archie Moore and Rocky Marciano at Yankee Stadium: "I had seen the first boxing show ever held in Yankee Stadium-on May 12, 1923. I had forgotten that it was the first show, and even that 1923 was the year the Stadium opened."

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