Where Are They Now? - George Foreman. This recent East Side Boxing article provides a good rundown on where big George has been and where he's at now: George Foreman. by Geoffrey Ciani - East Side Boxing - 18th August 2010 This week’s 86th edition of On the Ropes Boxing Radio featured an exclusive interview with former two time heavyweight champion of the world ‘Big’ George Foreman who was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2003. This content is protected Foreman became the oldest heavyweight champion in history when he defeated Michael Moorer by knockout at the age of 45 in November 1994, a full twenty years after he had last held the title. Foreman currently acts in the capacity of manager and trainer for his son, George Foreman III (9-0, 8 KOs) who is better known as ‘Monk’. Here is a complete transcript of that interview. JENNA J: Alright guys, it’s time for our second guest of this week’s show. He is a former two time heavyweight champion and is also a member of The Boxing Hall of Fame. We Have ‘Big’ George Foreman on with us now. How you doing today, George? GEORGE FOREMAN: I’m living the good life in Houston. It’s pretty hot. How is everything? JENNA: Everything is great, George. We are happy to be talking to a legend of the sport like yourself, but before we discuss your career in the ring, let’s talk a little bit about what you’re doing now and that’s being the trainer and manager of your son, George Foreman III. How did you feel about your son wanting to get into the sport of boxing? FOREMAN: It’s quite interesting because I have five sons and the most docile of them all is George Foreman III. We call him the ‘Monk’. Monk’s not been much of an athlete nor did he have any aggressive side, so when he decided to go into boxing it shocked all of us. My wife only agreed that he could if I made certain that I kept him protected by being his trainer and manager. JENNA: I’ve heard some rumors that when he first started out, he was training himself basically for the first year with tips from you and then one day you decided to get in the ring with him, and spar, and see what he was made of. Is that true? FOREMAN: Yeah, I found out of course when he was attending college in California. Periodically he stopped by the gyms and tried boxing out on his own and here in Houston, of course, I thought he was concentrating thoroughly on his college because he got a college education at Rice University. I come to find out he’s sneaking in to the gym and trying all the time. But he hadn’t had a boxing match before I started trying to help him, he had only sparred. JENNA: How do you feel when you watch your son getting into the ring for a fight? FOREMAN: It’s not an easy thing because at first, even me, I didn’t even like to come out. I’d prepare him for the boxing match, get him in good shape, and I hired two other guys to work in the corner. I wouldn’t even come out until the fight was over. That’s how it bugged me, but now I’m getting braver to the point where at least I can come out and watch. JENNA: Now your son’s doing this with no amateur experience. You had a short amateur career yourself, but a successful one. How important do you think amateur experiences are for a fighter just to make that transition to the professionals? FOREMAN: I think if it’s available it would be a great thing, but if it’s not, you just really can’t look back. Probably one of the greatest boxers of all time never had one amateur fight, like Jack Dempsey. And I myself only had twenty-five, and of those twenty-five, strangely enough most of those were the year of the Olympics—qualifying through the Golden Gloves, the Nationals, the AAU, the Olympic Trials, and the Olympics. So amateur experience is a wonderful thing but if you don’t, you just can’t even look back because professional boxing is altogether different, anyway. JENNA: Let’s talk a little bit about your career. How was it that you got into the sport of boxing? FOREMAN: I just went down to the gym to lose some weight, actually. Then I got into a lot of trouble in the Job Corps Center and they seemed to think that if I was interested they would allow me to stay in the Job Corps Center. It would get me out of trouble. I figured I was going to be a good street fighter after a year of my amateur boxing, going back to Houston, Texas and beat everybody up. Little did I know it would lead me into Gold Medal matches and I would pick up skills on the left jab, the right hand, and all those things where I even lost my desire to even be a street fighter. JENNA: Now winning the Gold and becoming the best American upcoming heavyweight, what was that feeling like when you won the Gold? FOREMAN: Oh winning that Gold Medal, I tell you, just to be on the Olympic Team was really wonderful to me. I had a lot of friends who had served in the Armed Forces. They’d come home with their uniforms and they were so proud, and everybody was proud of them. I didn’t get a chance to serve. By 19 years old, I was on the Olympic Team and I had those colors, the tracksuits, the dress-up suits, everything. I told my mom how proud I was to have some uniforms, even if I didn’t win a boxing match. So to win one match after another and then be in a position to win a Gold Medal—wow! That blew me away. Winning that Gold Medal at the end, I wanted the whole world to know where I was from, so I picked up a small American flag and paraded around the ring to make sure they knew. This was my chance to represent my country. That was greater to me then even winning the boxing matches. JENNA: Now after that you decided to turn professional. What was it like and what were your expectations when you decided to become a professional boxer? FOREMAN: Expectations. I wanted to go on and work for the Job Corps Center and finish my college education and all of that, but everyone said I can make a lot of money and become champion and finally someone confessed that I could make a million. Ha! So I expected going into boxing that I would make these hundred thousand dollars and eventually make a million. That was my expectation, but I found out along the way that I could punch, really punch. One knockout after another and before long, surprisingly, in three and a half years I was the number one contender in the world. It surprised me. JENNA: Well George, we’re also joined by my co-host Geoff Ciani. Geoff. GEOFFREY CIANI: Hi George, it’s a pleasure to have you on the show. FOREMAN: Thank you, Geoff. CIANI: George, when you did fight for the heavyweight championship against Joe Frazier, you went into that fight as a three-to-one underdog. Did the perception that Joe was going to beat you, did that give you any extra motivation going into that fight? FOREMAN: Just getting in the ring with Joe Frazier was extra motivation because I had seen Joe Frazier. I had been matched thirty-seven times previously, and my manager would always tell me the other guy had a weak jaw, he didn’t have this, and we’d concentrate. But fighting Joe Frazier was the first time in the dressing room that he didn’t even tell me anything because we both knew not to go there. This guy had no holes in his armor. This was a great fighter. It was the first time I had gotten into the ring where I was really afraid. I was afraid. I’ll tell you, you corner a cat and that’s when you can get hurt, and I was the cat that night. CIANI: What was going through your mind when it was over after two rounds and you won the heavyweight title? FOREMAN: After you win the title, the first thing that comes to your mind is ‘unbelievable’. Then your name, just like a cash register, starts going—Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, Sonny Liston, Floyd Patterson, George Foreman. Your name fits right in there and you can feel it. In a split second, the heavyweight champion of the world, it was the most dynamite season for a long time. Plus, I was going to get that million dollars. CIANI: Now after that, one of the title defenses you had was against Norton and you stopped him in two rounds as well. Did you think, going into that one that it was going to be a tougher fight? FOREMAN: I expected the Norton fight to probably be the toughest fight I had ever had in my career because he was a big man just like me. He was all really loaded with muscles. He had a record filled with lots of knockouts. As a matter of fact, he had gone two fights with Muhammad Ali and they both looked like he won to me, although he won the first one and lost the other by decision. I really thought this was going to be it for me. I trained harder for the Norton fight than I had ever trained in my life. CIANI: Now speaking of Ali, George, when we had Angelo Dundee on our show he was talking about your fight with Ali and Angelo said, ‘People try to say that I designed the rope-a-dope, but I thought Muhammad was a dope to be on the ropes’, and I’m wondering, looking back on that fight and the story surrounding the ropes in that fight, what are your thoughts on that whole thing looking back on it now?