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NEW YORK - Miguel Cotto stopped champion and aspiring Rabbi Yuri Foreman in the ninth round of a bizarre WBA super-welterweight title bout on Saturday as boxing returned to Yankee Stadium for the first time in 34 years.
Cotto had been getting the better of Foreman with his heavier punching but his task was made easier when the Israeli hurt his right knee after slipping twice in the seventh round as the fight continued despite efforts by his corner to stop it.
Foreman was in obvious discomfort and had limited movement and his knee buckled again in the eighth round following another slip, prompting his corner to throw in the white towel to signal an end to the fight.
However, referee Arthur Mercante Jr cleared the ring and asked the boxers to continue since he did not know who threw the towel and felt the bout was still competitive.
Mercante did eventually halt proceedings after 42 seconds of the ninth round when the Puerto Rican landed a punishing left hook to the body that crumpled Foreman against the ropes and to the canvas.
"I felt bad for him (Foreman) but you have to keep on fighting," the 29-year-old Cotto told reporters.
"It was a lot of pain, very sharp pain," said Foreman, who wore a brace on the knee from the start to protect an old injury.
"I'm a world champion, now former world champion. We're not quitting. We're world champion and we need to fight."
Cotto improved his record to 35-2, and finished his 28th opponent within the distance, as the Puerto Rican added the super-welterweight crown to his previous reigns as welterweight and light-welterweight champion.
Foreman fell to 28-1 in his first defence of the crown he won last November by a unanimous decision over Daniel Santos. - Reuters