Weighing in on Cotto-Foreman

On Saturday, Miguel Cotto and Yuri Foreman will bring boxing back to Yankee Stadium for the first time since Muhammad Ali and Ken Norton went toe-to-toe for 12 rounds in 1976. The return to the big stage has fight fans all across the Big Apple talking. And talking. And talking.

If there's one thing New Yorkers aren't shy about, it's sharing their opinions. And not just about the match itself, but how the historic bout touches on religion, literary boxing influences, ethnic parades, hip-hop and the ongoing interborough grudge match.

&#8226; "Anytime you have anything other than baseball at Yankee Stadium, it's a prestigious event. To have [Miguel] Cotto fighting there is incredible, it's cultural for us. Cotto's a gladiator, he'll die in the ring. He has my respect as a man any day. It'll be exciting because the Brooklyn fans will be out to support their fighter. I was there at MSG when Cotto fought [Zab] Zudah and the environment in the building was tense. I'm gonna get ringside in Yankee Stadium, up close and personal to watch my man Cotto explode and knock [Yuri] Foreman out. I'm not much of a decision guy; I want the fireworks." -- Fat Joe, rapper/CEO of Terror Squad Entertainment, Bronx

&#8226; "We're going to have a real clash of the titans right here in the Bronx, in our very own brand-new coliseum. The enthusiasm for this fight and the return of boxing to Yankee Stadium is very obvious across the Bronx. We've always been known for world-class baseball, and now we'll be known for world-class boxing as well. While I think both fighters are solid, Miguel Cotto has a huge fan base in the Bronx, myself included." -- Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

&#8226; "Personally speaking, I'm a lover not a fighter-but we know the 'Brooklyn attitude' always prevails! To Foreman, Brooklyn says: Lots of mazel!" -- Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz

&#8226; "Cotto's washed up already; punch him in the nose and he'll fall back. [Yuri] Foreman is a Jewish guy who gets busy and he's gonna whip Cotto's ass. It's cool to have boxing back at Yankee Stadium, but it should've been a bigger fight than these two. They need to get [Floyd] Mayweather against my man [Manny] Pacquiao." -- Ill Will the Barber, haircutter, Brooklyn

&#8226; "It's been 34 years since the last fight [at Yankee Stadium], so it will be great for the fans to come to the Stadium to watch something different from a baseball game. Cotto, being a Latin guy fighting, I hope he wins it. I like to watch the big fights. I wish I was going to be here to see it." -- Robinson Cano, second baseman, New York Yankees

&#8226; "As Jews we should always strive to privilege words over fists. The rabbi training the rabbi should know better." -- Andy Bachman, rabbi, Congregation Beth Elohim, Brooklyn

&#8226; "If people think Yuri Foreman is the hardest-punching rabbi who's ever lived, they never met the guy who presided over my bar mitzvah training. My rabbi threw an uppercut so vicious his yarmulke would come unpinned and fly off his head, all because I'd slipped up again and read Torah from left to right. So, hell yeah, I'm rooting for Foreman. There's gotta' be one time in this world where a Jew beats up a Puerto Rican. Flotilla like a butterfly, sting like a bee Yuri." -- Rob Tannenbaum, singer/performer, Good For the Jews (http://goodforthejews.net/)

&#8226; "It's time for the Puerto Rican Day parade and that can only mean one thing: Miguel Cotto is coming to town with his fists in the air. There will be a trail of die-hard Puerto Rican boxing fans waving flags and cheering loudly -- can there be more of a New York experience than this? Of course: Just bring in New York's own Jewish boxing sensation Yuri Foreman, and his flag-waving, cheering fans, and you've got the ethnic soup bowl of our great city. Prediction: If Cotto gets to Foreman early, the fight is his, but if Yuri out-slicks Miguel in the first few rounds, his chances to steal the fight get increasingly better as the rounds go on." -- Lt. Dave Siev, head coach, NYPD Boxing Team

&#8226; "Crooklyn versus the Boogie Down? That's the most obvious question ever. Crooklyn will destroy. I'll be impressed if Cotto gets to the second round. The Boogie's going down." -- Dan Rollman, co-founder, Universal Record Database, Brooklyn

&#8226; "Big fights are great for the city. I remember going to watch the first Roberto Duran-Sugar Ray Leonard match on closed circuit at Shea Stadium. It's an intriguing bout with a Jewish fighter this high in the rankings and the Spanish population that loves Cotto. I root for New York homeboys, but Foreman doesn't have a knockout punch, so I think Cotto takes him out early." -- Anthony, maintenance worker, Brooklyn

&#8226; "The advertising for the fight has been low, so I wonder if it's a test run for a bigger fight down the line. To be honest, I've heard more talk about the upcoming Jay-Z/Eminem concert and the Notre Dame game against Army at Yankee Stadium. I'll be rooting for Cotto so the Bronx can start celebrating the Puerto Rican Day parade early." -- John Stover, bartender, Yankee Tavern, Bronx

&#8226; "The Flymingo Kid says Cotto is going down ... [via] knockout, in the fourth. In the urban community, the fight is buzzworthy. It's hot, but they haven't really commercialized it. These aren't no-name fighters, but I think they want to make sure it runs smoothly before going after Mayweather. His ego wouldn't allow him to turn down the public spotlight of Yankee Stadium." -- Julian James (also known as "The Flymingo Kid," also known as "The John Belushi of Hip-Hop"), recording artist with Doug E Fresh, Bronx

&#8226; "They should have done more promotion in the community around here. No flyers, nothing. The only ads have been on YES. There's a rumor 35,000 tickets have been sold, but I think a lot of Puerto Ricans don't even know there's a fight on Saturday. They need to host the Golden Gloves at Yankee Stadium. That would be something. Cotto lost some of his popularity after losing to Pacquiao and if he loses to Foreman, he should retire. Oh, could you tell the pay-per-view companies that they need a lower rate for small businesses like mine?" -- Francisco Martinez, owner, Vega Alta Sports Bar, Bronx

&#8226; "[In response to Martinez] I disagree. To me, this fight is going to be big. A lot of Puerto Rican people will be coming out to watch it -- and to party." -- Geraldo Toro, retiree, Vega Alta Sports Bar, Bronx

&#8226; "All I know about boxing, I learned from the writing of Joyce Carol Oates. And Oates just seems more Brooklyn to me. So I'm going with Yuri Foreman." -- Stephanie Anderson, bookstore manager, WORD, Brooklyn

&#8226; "These big events belong in New York City, not Atlantic City or Las Vegas. They need to have title fights everywhere -- at Citi Field, MSG and the new Nets arena in Brooklyn." -- Robert, waterproofer, Brooklyn

&#8226; "Is George Foreman fighting? I'd watch him. For real, I think this fight will be better because they got the big screens, so even in the cheap seats, fans can see it. If tickets are reasonably priced, say $50, I'll go check it out. I'm eatin' good beforehand though. I'm not paying $10 for a hot dog." -- Julius, waterproofer, Brooklyn

&#8226; "New York City was the Mecca of boxing, home of all the greatest trainers and so many legendary fighters. We've been blessed and people who really know the fight game know we're still the capital of boxing. If Foreman wants to be a legend, he needs this fight. He has to go face-to-face with Cotto and trade punches, but I think he'll stumble. Cotto is carrying the Puerto Ricans on his shoulders and I always say, 'Go with the knockout punch.' It's what we all want to see." -- Wilson Ramirez, owner/trainer, Zaragoza Boxing Gym, Brooklyn

&#8226; "To steal a catchphrase from our neighbors across the river at Madison Square Garden, we kind of consider ourselves Brooklyn's mini-mecca of boxing. The buzz inside Red Star on the night of a big fight is real close to what you feel at the arena. The air is electric, people are visibly excited about the fight, it's hard to find a conversation in the hour or so leading up to the main event that doesn't revolve around one or both of the featured fighters. Cotto is a warrior, always gives you 100 percent. Win or lose, he never quits. I think Yuri Foreman is too much of an unproven commodity. Being from Brooklyn and being the hometown kid doesn't get you too far. I know this is a historic fight as far as Yankee Stadium goes, but on a personal note it will be historic for me as well. I'm taking my 12- year-old daughter to her first fight. So regardless of who wins or loses, it will be a memory that will last a lifetime. I hope it's a 12-round slugfest and she remembers it as a great fight!" -- Eric Hall, general manger, Red Star, Brooklyn