Former world heavyweight champion ‘Big’ George Foreman admitted he wished he’d avoided a fight with Muhammad Ali.
Ali wouldn’t be on his resume if he could go back and have his glorious career all over again. Foreman also stated he stayed away from the more dangerous opponents during his second career.
The retired veteran was a juggernaut in the ring and seemingly unstoppable when a younger, fresher Foreman ran into an aging Ali for the world-famous Rumble in the Jungle in 1974.
At the time, Ali was a massive underdog to defeat the undefeated king of the ranks in Kinshasa, Zaire. Foreman was 40-0 with 37 knockouts to his name.
Big George Foreman
‘Big’ George had wiped the floor with Ali’s greatest rival Joe Frazier. Also, one of his most formidable opponents – Ken Norton.
Foreman ended both within two rounds in the two years before their meeting. This had led to most believing Foreman would have way too much for the 44-2 Ali.
Predictions came on the basis that ‘The Greatest’ had gone 24 rounds in two battles with Norton (losing one) and 12 rounds with Frazier in the run-up to their clash.
As everybody now knows, Ali used his rope-a-dope tactics to frustrate Foreman. He took everything the champion had until he was utterly spent.
They were tactics never seen before in such a high-profile fight.
Ali took a dog-tired Foreman out in the eighth round, handing him his first loss and leading to a second reign at the top of the sport in a battle of former Olympic gold medallists.
Foreman has since admitted he never fully recovered psychologically from the knockout. He would spend ten years out of boxing before making one of the most revered comebacks of all time to become the oldest-ever top-division ruler.
Record-breaking feats aside, Foreman stated his only career regret to date was when agreeing to share the ring with the wily Ali.
He answered honestly when fans’ questioned him on the subject.
Ali, Bowe, and Lewis
“Muhammad had my number. If I’d done it all over No Ali fight,” said Foreman in direct response to a question on what he would change if he could restart his career from scratch.
Further pushing from the public regarding potential fights with Riddick Bowe and Lennox Lewis during Foreman’s ‘second career’ brought honest answers from the legendary figure.
“I didn’t want any of ‘Big Daddy’ Bowe [and] Lewis was a fight I didn’t want. Mama didn’t raise no fool,” he said before finishing the session on why a clash with Earnie Shavers didn’t happen.
“When I was the champ, we tried to make [the] Shaver’s fight. But he lost important fights. Later on, [it was] pretty much the same.