Leyla Leidecker, wife of Yuri Foreman who is a model and also a former boxer, says the referee should have stopped the fight right after her husband was badly injured when he slipped on a wet floor in the seventh round of their championship match.
Foreman was defending his WBA super welterweight title against Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto when he slipped on the wet floor near his corner and twisted his right knee in the seventh round. Foreman could hardly move but managed to finish the round.
On the eight round, somebody from Foreman's corner threw in a towel which the referee ignored and allowed the fight to proceed. Mercante later claimed the towel was thrown by an unauthorized person from Foreman's corner. After a short break and asking Foreman if he wanted to go on, Mercante ordered the fight to continue.
The referee stopped the fight on the ninth round when Foreman hit the canvas after Cotto attacked him with a series of powerful punches that found their mark on the helpless Israeli boxer.
"They had to stop it," she said. "He wasn't in any condition to continue fighting. Why put him in the situation of getting hurt more? There was no use continuing. He wasn't going to win. There was no miracle that was going to happen. What was the point? Maybe I should just punch the referee in his face."
Leidecker and Mercante had a verbal confrontation in the dressing room after the fight when Mercante came in to check on Foreman. Murray Wilson, Foreman's manager, had to calm her down before things got out of hand.
For his part, Merccante explained his side of the controversial decision:
"I can understand why she was upset," Mercante said. "She's his wife. But he's a champion and I wanted to give him a fair opportunity to defend his title. A few weeks ago, I had just the opposite situation where I stopped a fight and the wife came after me saying that I didn't give her husband a fair chance to defend his title."
It was Foreman's first defeat in his professional boxing career.