The 40-year old Foreman has been on the comeback trail for two years,
steamrolling over all 15 opponents, and all via the knockout. He's back after
a ten-year layoff from fighting- devoting that time to religion. After his final
match before retirement- a 12-round loss to Jimmy Young, Foreman says he was filled
by the Holy Spirit, and became a preacher for the non-denominational Church of the
Lord Jesus Christ, in Houston, Texas- his hometown. There are two doors to the world,
George claims. He used the front door to get into boxing, and the back door for the
lord. Now his quest is to become heavyweight champion once more. Foes have found
that Foreman hasn't lost his punching power. George says it's even more dangerous
today, because he's learned when and where to deliver.
FOREMAN: I've been travelling around the country, getting first and second round
knockouts, and that helped my knockout percentage of course. But, from time to time
it helps to get those extra rounds in: five, six, seven, eight, nine, sometimes even
ten. Sometimes I would want to extend it, but I don't want to wait around for a
decision. You never know whose home town you're in. But I want to extend myself a
The way Foreman has it figured, those avoiding the inevitable are only
literally hurting themselves.
FOREMAN: I've had a few guys who've really tried to move and stay out of trouble,
and wait for the latter rounds. But, they shouldn't wait around. A lot of people say
"Hey, George doesn't have stamina," but they better stop this. Someone's going to get
themselves hurt waiting 'til the latter rounds doing nothing but adding unneccessary
George says he'll give it another four years in his pursuit of the crown. And he
believes he'll have to battle with promoters and match-makers every step of the way.
Foreman says there are so-called "white envelope" fighters- those who have been
knocked out or have remained inactive, but still achieve a high ranking.
FOREMAN: I'll take anybody at any time but there are a lot of the top ten fighters
who have signed for me. But then they're told by promoters: don't fight George
Foreman, I'll give you so much money, wait for a title shot. And then when I go and
talk to them, they tell me "So what, I'm not going to fight you."
And some of the promoters even called me, and I've told this to the press.
They boast to me that they can keep guys in the top ten forever whether
they fight or not. And they told me I wouldn't get in there unless I sign with them.
And Foreman has not impressed the individual state boxing commissioners, who must
approve of all matches.
FOREMAN: They say, hey George, you gotta fight this guy. But they will not demand that a
top ten boxer fight me. So they're telling me in their own words that I am the leading
contender, that I gotta fight who they match me with. And this is a compliment to be
thought of in that fashion at my age.
George says he doesn't even need to stare down his foes these days, he's that good,
and does little research of his opponents before bouts. He says he'll chew up and spit
out current heavyweight champ Mike Tyson- if he's allowed the chance. George says it's
the Tyson camp that's been fueling the "Foreman's fat" stories, and the public- plus
the informed media- have gone along for the ride.
FOREMAN: I would do a lot better with Mike Tyson because as you know, whenever you get
a fella who's afraid he's gonna do things to protect himself. Mike Tyson I think wouldn't
be that afraid of me. He would come forward and of course, I'd get a quicker knockout.
At a fighting weight of over 250- that's 50 pounds heavier than it was for his
championship win over Joe Frazier in 1973, critics have plenty to poke at; claiming
Foreman's comeback fights have been against a row of marshmallows. But George won't stop
until the public tells him to. He says he's going to remain a fighter, and enjoy his age
at the same time.
FOREMAN: As you get older, you should enjoy some of the pleasures of life. You know when
I was younger I'd sit down and eat a dozen eggs, but now I've cut back to eleven. They
say that I'm old but I truly believe that life doesn't begin until you're forty. No
matter what I've heard about George Foreman, those people out there have shown me:
we're with you, you can do it. I want to tell all those guys at home who are 40 and
40-and-a-half hey, don't worry about it, there's nothing to it, you can do anything
that I can do.
Foreman says he's been discredited throughout his boxing career but would rather
endure the skepticism instead of losing his knockout punch. Bill Flynn, WXXI 1370.