|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
“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?
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
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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?
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.
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
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?
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?
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
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?
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.
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
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, www.GeorgeForeman.com.
Jenna: Any message you want to pass along to boxing fans?
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?
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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