LAS VEGAS — Yuri Foreman, the fighter from Brooklyn who is studying to become a rabbi, joined the list of Jewish boxing champions Saturday.
Despite his underdog status on the Manny Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto undercard at the MGM Grand, Foreman convincingly defeated Daniel Santos of Puerto Rico to capture the World Boxing Association’s 154-pound championship.
Foreman won by decision, leading by at least 6 points on all three cards (two judges scored the fight 117-109; another had it 116-110).
Foreman (28-0) spent Friday after sundown inside his hotel room, without a television, without phone calls, without anything except his usual observation of the Sabbath.
On Saturday, he fought in the first bout on pay-per-view, in front of politicians and diplomats who had traveled from Israel to see the fight.
Foreman was not expected to triumph Saturday. Santos (32-4-1) is older by five years (34 to 29). He held more experience and more power, and he fights left-handed — and Foreman had never defeated a left-hander. But Foreman led early and kept punishing Santos.
The outcome was never in doubt. Santos, the more powerful of the two, could not land a decisive blow. Foreman caught Santos in the back of the head at the end of the second round with an overhand right.
He continued to land punches, pushing Santos back into the ropes, rousing the sparse crowd still arriving for the main event.
The boxers exchanged accidental head butts in the seventh round: Foreman’s knocked Santos to the canvas; Santos’s opened a cut under Foreman’s left eye.
With the lead secure, Foreman did not fight defensively. Instead, he dropped Santos in the final round. Santos righted himself, but could not land the knockout punch he needed.