Recently I interviewed legendary announcer, Michael Buffer. I asked Mike what single moment in all his years of announcing was he most proud of? He replied, “The night George Foreman, at age 45, knocked out Michael Moorer to win the Heavyweight Championship of the World. My final announcement began with, Ladies and Gentleman, the impossible dream has come true.”
Well, I saw that fight and always said I really would like to do an interview with Big George because I always felt he really had a wonderful career and deserved all the good things that came his way.
That day finally came and I found George more than willing to talk about boxing along with his legendary career. He is a very funny man and if you get the chance to meet him at a fight one day, you will probably be in stitches. He has a wonderful sense of humor and I think that is what endears him to so many people.
What inspired you to get into boxing?
I went into boxing at the age of 17 to lose weight and become a great streetfighter. I left California and went back to Houston, Texas. Next thing I know, I was fighting as a Golden Glover. It basically all happened as an accident.
You came from the era of legendary heavyweights such as Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Earnie Shavers, Larry Holmes and of course, yourself. How do you rate the overall heavyweight division today compared to the days when you first came into it?
I think what has happened, and it’s really a shame, is this. Muhammad Ali defined the heavyweight division for a long time with his pre-draft and after fight career, winning the heavyweight title three times and fighting Joe Frazier and myself.
I think people compare the heavyweights of then and now just too much. The heavyweights today are very good and should not be compared to the ones of the past. They are very competitive today and like I said earlier, just as good.
What big fights were you approached with that never materialized?
The fight that should have happened and we were on the steps so close was Mike Tyson. For some reason, Mike never wanted to fight me and it could have been for good reasons, probably for my benefit as well.
How about in your first career?
I was suppose to face Jerry Quarry. He was very strong and always drew a good crowd. Brad, he was a real good counterpuncher and they kept me away from him.
Out of all the tough opposition you faced in the ring, who do you feel was the toughest opponent and why?
Toughest has to be Muhammad Ali. He just took everything I had and gave me back something just as equally devastating. However, he was not the hardest hitter. That award goes to Ron Lyle who I faced in 1976 and who hit me harder than any other fighter I ever faced.
Your achievement of winning the title at the age of 45 is unprecedented in the sport of boxing and quite an accomplishment. You have several other accomplishments including, winning the Gold Medal in the ‘68 Olympics and the Heavyweight Championship, twice. What event do you cherish the most?
There will never be anything to top my athletic career like winning the Gold Medal in the Olympics back in 1968. To stand on that platform as a 19 year old boy, who till that point, had never accomplished anything, was a day I will never forget. (To my young readers, read this answer very closely because when I asked George this particular question, I could tell the answer came from deep in his heart. It shows you what all of you have the capability to do if you put your mind to it.)
What aspects of announcing do you enjoy the most?
When I really get to sit there and watch the boxer, then turn around and explain to the fans what is going on from a boxer standpoint, is a joy to me. I can explain things that the ordinary fan may overlook and I have the opportunity to point it out to them.
What fighter in the last 30 years do you feel moved the sport of boxing forward the most?
I would have to say Mike Tyson. He had a lot to do with the sustaining of the heavyweight Pay-Per-View fights. He brought the cable and PPV back which enabled a lot of us fighters to get the big bucks for these fights.
With all your knowledge of boxing and skills, are we going to see George Foreman the trainer?
Not at all. My big hope, is and I am trying to convince my wife of it is this, is at the age of 55, I want to make one more comeback
What is the greatest fight you have ever seen and why?
Marvin Hagler vs. Sugar Ray Leonard. I think it’s the greatest fight I have ever seen at anytime. It was a fight of science and Sugar Ray doing the improbable. So many people talked about it and I can remember commercials about it. I do feel Sugar Ray won that fight and executed the perfect gameplan.
Recently I interviewed Earnie Shavers, who you are compared to when it comes to the level of power in your punches. Earnie told me that his power came from the days when he worked on a farm chopping trees and throwing bales of hay.
What do you attribute your punching power to?
FEAR! I always had the fear that if I did not get my opponent out of there early, I would not be able to go past four rounds. I had this tremendous amount of fear and it enabled me to hit very hard.
I know we both support a retirement fund for all boxers. How would you like to see it accomplished?
I totally agree with you Brad, that we need one. I think it should be handled like this. Every time there is a boxing event a certain percentage of each ticket sold and each fighter’s purse should go into a pension fund.
I retired with money and you will see on my record, so and so, and only say that guy fought George Foreman. Well, those guys need a retirement fund just like the bigger guys do.
When you finally walk away from boxing, if you haven’t already, what do you want your legion of fans to remember you for?
That George Foreman had a lot of fun with his boxing career. I am even having more fun with the broadcasting career.
Finally, what is the saying you live your life by?
“Evil lurks where disappointment lodges”.
Professional Record: 81 fights; 76+ (68 KO), 5-
1971: North America Heavyweight
1973-1974: World Heavyweight
1976: North America Heavyweight
1994-1995: World Heavyweight
1995: I.B.F. Heavyweight
– 1969 –
+ (Jun-23-1969, New York) Donald Waldheim ko 3
+ (Jun-30-1969, Houston) Fred Askew ko 1
+ (Jul-14-1969, Washington) Sylvester Dulaire ko 1
+ (Aug-18-1969, New York) Chuck Wepner kot 3
+ (Sep-18-1969, Seattle) John Carroll ko 3
+ (Sep-23-1969, Houston) Cookie Wallace ko 2
+ (Oct-7-1969, Houston) Vernon Clay ko 2
+ (Oct-31-1969, New York) Roberto Davila 8
+ (Nov-5-1969, Scranton) Leo Peterson ko 4
+ (Nov-18-1969, Houston) Max Martinez ko 2
+ (Dec-6-1969, Las Vegas) Bob Hazelton ko 1
+ (Dec-16-1969, Miami Beach) Levi Forte 10
+ (Dec-18-1969, Seattle) Gary Wiler ko 1
– 1970 –
+ (Jan-6-1970, Houston) Charlie Polite ko 4
+ (Jan-26-1970, New York) Jack O’Halloran ko 5
+ (Feb-16-1970, New York) Gregorio Peralta 10
+ (Mar-30-1970, Houston) Rufus Brassell ko 1
+ (Apr-17-1970, New York) James J. Woody ko 3
+ (Apr-29-1970, Cleveland) Aaron Eastling ko 4
+ (May-16-1970, Los Angeles) George Johnson kot 7
+ (Jul-20-1970, Philadelphia) Roger Russell ko 1
+ (Aug-4-1970, New York) George Chuvalo ko 3
+ (Nov-3-1970, Oklahoma City) Lou Bailey ko 3
+ (Nov-18-1970, New York) Boone Kirkman ko 2
+ (Dec-18-1970, Seattle) Mel Turnbow kot 1
– 1971 –
+ (Feb-8-1971, Saint-Paul) Charlie Boston ko 1
+ (Apr-3-1971, Lake Geneva) Stanford Harris ko 2
+ (May-8-1971, Oakland) Gregorio Peralta kot 10 (North America, Heavyweight)
+ (Sep-14-1971, El Paso) Vic Scott ko 1
+ (Sep-21-1971, Beaumont) Leroy Caldwell ko 2
+ (Oct-8-1971, San Antonio) Ollie Wilson ko 2
+ (Oct-29-1971, New York) Luis Faustino Pires kot 4
– 1972 –
+ (Feb-29-1972, Austin) Murphy Goodwin ko 2
+ (Mar-7-1972, Beaumont) Clarence Boone ko 2
+ (Apr-10-1972, Inglewood) Ted Gullick ko 2
+ (May-11-1972, Oakland) Miguel Angel Paez ko 2
+ (Oct-10-1972, Salt Lake City) Terry Sorrels ko 2
– 1973 –
+ (Jan-22-1973, Kingston) Joe Frazier ko 2 (World, Heavyweight)
+ (Sep-1-1973, Tokyo) Jose Roman ko 1 (World, Heavyweight)
– 1974 –
+ (Mar-25-1974, Caracas) Ken Norton kot 2 (World, Heavyweight)
– (Oct-30-1974, Kinshasa) Muhammad Ali ko by 8 ( Loses World, Heavyweight)
– 1975: inactive –
– 1976 –
+ (Jan-24-1976, Las Vegas) Ron Lyle ko 4 (North America, Heavyweight)
+ (Jun-14-1976, Uniondale) Joe Frazier ko 5 (North America, Heavyweight)
+ (Aug-14-1976, Utica) Scott Ledoux ko 3
+ (Oct-15-1976, Hollywood) Dino Dennis kot 4
– 1977 –
+ (Jan-22-1977, Pensacola) Pedro Agosto ko 4
– (Mar-17-1977, San Juan) Jimmy Young 12
– 1978-1986: inactive –
– 1987 –
+ (Mar-9-1987, Sacramento) Steve Zouski kot 4
+ (Jul-9-1987, Oakland) Charles Hostetter ko 3
+ (Sep-15-1987, Springfield) Bobby Crabtree kot 6
+ (Nov-21-1987, Orlando) Tim Anderson kot 4
+ (Dec-18-1987, Las Vegas) Rocky Sekorski kot 3
– 1988 –
+ (Jan-23-1988, Orlando) Tom Trim ko 1
+ (Feb-5-1988, Las Vegas) Guido Trane kot 5
+ (Mar-19-1988, Las Vegas) Dwight Braxton kot 7
+ (May-21-1988, Anchorage) Frank Lux kot 3
+ (Jun-26-1988, Atlantic City) Carlos Hernandez ko 4
+ (Aug-25-1988, Fort Myers) Ladislao Mijangos kot 2
+ (Sep-10-1988, Auburn Hills) Bobby Hitz ko 1
+ (Oct-27-1988, Marshall) Tony Fulilangi ko 2
+ (Dec-28-1988, Bakersfield) David Jaco ko 1
– 1989 –
+ (Jan-26-1989, Rochester) Mark Young kot 7
+ (Feb-16-1989, Orlando) Manuel Clay De Almeida kot 3
+ (Apr-29-1989, Galveston) J.B. Williamson kot 5
+ (Jun-1-1989, Phoenix) Bert Cooper kot 3
+ (Jul-20-1989, Tucson) Everett Martin 10
– 1990 –
+ (Jan-15-1990, Atlantic City) Gerry Cooney kot 2
+ (Apr-17-1990, Lake Tahoe) Mike Jameson kot 4
+ (Jun-16-1990, Las Vegas) Adilson Rodrigues ko 2
+ (Jul-31-1990, Edmonton) Ken Lakusta ko 3
+ (Sep-25-1990, London) Terry Anderson ko 1
– 1991 –
– (Apr-19-1991, Atlantic City) Evander Holyfield 12 (World, Heavyweight)
+ (Dec-7-1991, Reno) Jimmy Ellis kot 3
– 1992 –
+ (Apr-11-1992, Las Vegas) Alex Stewart 10
– 1993 –
+ (Jan-16-1993, Reno) Pierre Coetzer kot 8
– (Jun-7-1993, Las Vegas) Tommy Morrison 12 (W.B.O., Heavyweight)
– 1994 –
+ (Nov-5-1994, Las Vegas) Michael Moorer ko 10 (World, Heavyweight)
– 1995 –
+ (Apr-22-1995, Las Vegas) Axel Schulz 12 (I.B.F., Heavyweight)
– 1996 –
+ (Nov-3-1996, Tokyo) Crawford Grimsley 12
– 1997 –
+ (Apr-26-1997, Atlantic City) Lou Savarese 12
– (Nov-22-1997, Atlantic City) Shannon Briggs 12