By Evan Chan
Recently the Boxing Cinema was privileged enough to be granted an interview with the legendary two-time heavyweight champion “Big George” Foreman, who’s career highlights include bouts with boxing legends George Chuvalo and Joe Frazier, along with a historic match against boxing icon Muhammad Ali in the 1974 “Rumble In The Jungle”.
Evan Chan: George welcome to the Boxing Cinema it is an honor to have you here. What is the latest George Foreman news you want your fans to know?
George Foreman: “Let George Clean It” (www.letgeorgecleanit.com). My heart and soul has gone into this product. Good rot the planet! Boxing gave me lots, trying now to give back. No boxing, but George III, Monk, has won seven bouts now… I think he can!
EC: That’s an awesome product, I’m going to have to get some of that! That’s good to hear about your son George and his boxing career. How involved are you with his training? I read that he uses a lot of the same methods you once used during your career.
GF: My son Monk, George III, is both managed and trained by me. I might be the best at it, but I have most belief in him. He does have power, but it is my hope that he integrates a lot of pure boxing into his skills. Can’t out punch them all.
EC: How did you first gain an interest in boxing, and what would you say were your key ingredients to the success that you have enjoyed in the ring?
GF: Charles “Doc” Broadus, I met in ‘66. I said to him I wanted to be a boxer! In a job corps center, where I heard on radio, a young Cassius Clay vs. (Floyd) Patterson… this is where I first became interested. He (Doc) told me to come down to the GYM. He never stopped hounding me after that introduction. When someone else believes in you as Doc did me, it becomes contagious! His trust in me enabled me to seek titles. Someone counting on you, gives you endurance, stamina, and courage… which are a must to obtain success.
EC: You eventually had a chance to meet Cassius Clay, aka Muhammad Ali, what was your first impression of him?
GF: The first time I met Muhammad Ali… I was in complete awe. Seldom does one meet a person, who is all you think he should be! He was tall, handsome, an air of royalty that I had never seen before in any person. He was so kind to me.
EC: What are some of the memories that come to mind when you remember all the hype leading up to, and including the legendary “Rumble In The Jungle” fight?
GF: All of my memories of the George Foreman vs. Muhammad Ali fight were pretty sober. The world and the media had a ball… so much to write about. “Classic Boxer vs. The Puncher”, old guy and the aging warrior. I was untouched by the hype. Africa itself was so far away. Not a lot we could do or hear. There was more hype in the USA than we could get there. No big TV shows as this was before.
EC: The Rumble In The Jungle is often seen as part of the “Golden Age of Boxing”, and it is responsible for elevating boxing to the next level. Looking at today’s boxing stars, who would you say has the ability to do what you and Ali did for boxing during that fight? What are your thoughts on today’s heavyweight division?
GF: You do lots of fights, but there is no sure way to choose which will become “Rumble In The Jungle” type. It is the folks themselves who choose to make something that big. Heavyweights for the time being have no standout someone to make a statement with their life. It has got to be more than just a boxing match. Next year maybe?
EC: Your first fight against Smokin’ Joe Frazier was at “The Sunshine Showdown” in Jamaica where you won the WBC & WBA heavyweight titles for the first time. How would you compare Frazier’s boxing style to today’s generation of heavyweights?
GF: Joe Frazier’s close, infighting style was a classic. He took all the good stuff… from Armstrong, Marciano, and the great gym fighters of Philadelphia. With this and his conditioning Joe Frazier created a style that would overwhelm any of the champions of today.
EC: I heard Joe Frazier say once that you were the hardest puncher he ever faced. If you had fought “Iron” Mike Tyson in his prime, how would that fight have gone down?
GF: I had no idea… I’d knock Joe Frazier down so many times! Sadler (Foreman’s trainer) had prepared me for knock-outs no matter who I fought. Mike Tyson in his prime, would have faced the same Foreman Frazier faced! I have no idea if he would have beaten me or not… cause I did not know I was going to beat Frazier! The cards fell for me that time.
EC: How would “Big George” take on the two Klitschko brothers, Vitali and Wladimir? They are considered the most dominant in the heavyweight division today, and fans have compared you to the two brothers.
GF: When you become the heavyweight champ it is a feat no matter who you are. The Klitschko brothers are fine fighters, I wish them the best. I had a chance early in my amateur career to fight the tall guys in Europe. I was successful with straight right hand punching. I could
not try boxing… you had to punch. But never face anyone as skilled as these guys.
EC: George thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview I know you are a busy man. Is there anything you want to say to your fans in closing?
GF: Nothing more, but it was wonderful being pushed to recall some very important moments in my life. I do believe there were too few interviews of Joe Louis, Archie Moore, Ray Robinson, Marciano, and the likes. So I enjoy the fact that our words will out live us. Your questions were great.
EC: Thank you very much for your time George it has been fun! I’m glad you enjoyed the questions and I hope your son does as well as you did!
Interview originally posted on www.boxingcinema.com July 17th, 2010
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