George Foreman: "If I had to do it all over again, I would of never faced Muhammad Ali" - "On The Ropes" Boxing Radio #187! - w/ Jenna Jay - Doghouse Boxing
George Foreman: "If I had to do it all over again, I would of never faced Muhammad Ali"
By Jenna Jay, Doghouse Boxing (April 4, 2013) On The Ropes Boxing Radio
OTR #187 with George Foreman with hostess Jenna Jay.
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“The Rumble In the Jungle,” it was a boxing event almost as iconic as the fighters involved in it. This bout saw a young undefeated George Foreman lose the heavyweight championship of the world in 8 rounds to a boxer that went on to be known as “The Greatest of all Time”, Muhammad Ali. The fight forever changed the direction of Foreman's career and boxing history, as 20 years later a 45 year old George Foreman came back to knock out a then undefeated Michael Moorer to once again become heavyweight champion. In part 2 of my interview with “Big George” he discusses what moment he would change in his career if he had a chance and also talks about the fighter who broke his record as the oldest boxing champion, Bernard Hopkins. Foreman also spoke on the HBO vs. Showtime rivalry and the battle between boxing’s biggest promoters Top Rank & Goldenboy. Here is what George had to say.

Jenna: Ok, well George there is another older fighter out there that has been making some history like you did. Bernard Hopkins again became the oldest champion in boxing history when he beat Tavoris Cloud. What did you think of his recent accomplishment?

Foreman: I think it’s really good. Bernard, when he became the oldest champion at 46, as far as I was concerned that was enough, you break a record and nobody especially in that weight class should be in boxing unless you’re fighting for money. If he is not fighting for money, I think he should back away now. He has enjoyed his time, he’s got another title but move on to greener pasture. I want to compliment Bernard a lot, but at this point I think he should be smelling the roses and not be in boxing anymore.

Jenna: How do you compare an older version of yourself, with an older Bernard in terms of what you both did fighting late in your careers?

Foreman: I don’t think there is a whole lot of difference, we have one thing in common........we’re pretty stupid (laughing) I mean enough is enough.

Jenna: George, seeing as the fight you are calling is going to be on HBO, I got to get your views on the recent loss of talent the network has had with top stars now moving to Showtime.

Foreman: All fighters should be aware you are only as valuable as the amount of seats you can sell in an arena. Television is good, but television didn’t make boxing nor will it destroy boxing. It’s wonderful to have HBO as part of boxing, but fighters cannot depend on networks, never have been able to. It’s time for fighters to understand, go out there and work, fill arenas. You’re only as good as the amount people who shows up in the arenas. Don’t look for television, don’t beg for television  if it happens its great, but if it doesn’t move on. Boxing will survive, HBO, ABC, Showtime, it will survive and it’s older than all of them.

Jenna: Besides the networks battling, you have the top promoters Top Rank & Goldenboy. How bad is it for the sport that certain fights don't get made because these two promotional companies can't work with each other?

Foreman: Well you got these big boxing promotional companies that are one thing, but two they’re businesses, they are competing businesses too, and don’t expect them to do things, I heard it way back when it was Don King and Top Rank, even before Top Rank came into existence. Madison Square Garden and ABC sports, it will always be some competition and a reason for them not to get together but they always do.

Jenna: One thing George that I asked you in the past that has not changed is the state of the heavyweight division. The Klitschko's are still the heavyweight champions. What do you think that division needs to have the popularity it once had?

Foreman: The heavyweight division is absent of a popular champion and even a popular top contender so no one is really concerned about it, the state of heavyweight boxing is not that good as far as I am concerned,  Klitschko is a good fighter but he hasn’t had any champions or any competitors or any real challengers. So I am looking forward in the years to come, a big Heavyweight to come who will come in and who is attractive and who can really draw the crowd back in to the heavyweight division. It’s just not there now

Jenna: Do you think American Deontay Wilder could possibility become that guy in the future?

Foreman: I just don’t know. I’m looking for a big name, once you hear that name we’ll know he is right. He will burst on to the scene like Mike Tyson, Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, and the sorts. We haven’t had any of that happen yet. Even Lennox Lewis was a highlight of boxing.

Jenna: Ok, well I just have a few more question for you George and I want to ask you about your son, George Foreman III. Where do you see his future in boxing?

Foreman: He was very interested and had about 15-16 boxing matches. These college graduates are temperamental. They all always have something to fall back on, so he is taking a break from boxing from what I gather. I don’t know what his future is in boxing. He is highly educated, and I don’t like to take on fighters with college education, because they know how to quit and go make money somewhere elsewhere. But I think he is a good fighter and has a lot of potential.

Jenna: When you look back at your own career as a fighter, do you have any regrets?

Foreman: I didn’t really have to take on the Muhammad Ali fight, he was not the #1 contender for the title, I went out looking for him, making deals. If I had to do it all over again, I would of never faced that little boxer.

Jenna: How do you think your career would of went if you did not take that fight?

Foreman: I still would have a good career ahead of me, but when you think about it another end, you turn your hand one side, and then the other, I am happy to have been affiliated with that name, because this man made a great difference not only in boxing, but in the world in general. Muhammad Ali, forever, wherever the name Muhammad Ali will be spoken, George Foreman will be in the conversation, because of the Rope-a-dope. I will be known as the dope. But I am glad the fight happened. If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t have done it. But in retrospective I am just glad my name is associated with a big event like that. Rumble in the Jungle.

Jenna: When fans talk about fights they wished happened involving you George, they always bring up a Mike Tyson fight. If you did meet Mike Tyson when that fight was being discussed, how do you think it would of played out?

Foreman: One thing about it, there is an old saying; “One was scared and the other was glad of it.” That’s why the fight the never took place. But Mike Tyson could of existed as a pure puncher in any era. I think it would’ve been a good fight, but wouldn’t have gone beyond 3 or 4 rounds. And who would of won? I just don’t know.

Jenna: George you said earlier in the interview that you were getting back into promoting. Can you tell the fans a little bit about the company you have?

Foreman: Well right now we have the “Foreman Boys Promotions” my son wanted something to do. Then I realized we had a family business. It’s boxing, I know boxing, and I wanted them to be aware all of the history and the glamor of boxing and be apart of promoting good boxing matches. That’s what we doing now, we formed “Foreman Boys Promotions,” and we hope to put on big title matches.

Jenna: And is there a website where they can find out all the latest going on with you?

Foreman: Yeah I stick with,

Jenna: Any message you want to pass along to boxing fans?

Foreman: The things I'd like and expect boxing fans to remember is boxing has always been a sport who supplied the real heroes; from Max Schmeling, Joe Louis, all the way to Jack Dempsey, Jack Johnson, all these names, John L. Sullivan, are associated with boxing. Keep faith in the sport, we’ve been the bread and back of not only good boxing matches but real heroes and role models.

Jenna: Finally George, what are you expecting from the event you are announcing April 6th?

Foreman: I think this is something I am so excited about to be in that part of the world in China, and then listening and watching the audience and their participation. It’s just one of those things I don’t know what to expect. All I do know is that I’m excited. That’s the most important thing. I am truly excited.

***Special thanks goes out to Tim & Ruben for helping me to bring this article to the boxing readers.

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