Foreman's Loss to Ali on the next "Top 5 Reasons You Can't Blame..."

17.08.06 - ESPN Classic’s original series, Top 5 Reasons You Can’t Blame..., takes a fresh look at sports personalities who are remembered largely for their mistakes, controversial moments or questionable decisions. The next episode to debut on ESPN Classic will be Top 5 Reasons You Can’t Blame George Foreman for Losing to Muhammad Ali on Tuesday, August 22 at 10 p.m. ET..

Host Brian Kenny will guide viewers through Foreman’s road to the heavyweight championship, examine the reasons that did not make the cut and detail the top five reasons for "Big George's" loss. The episode will include interviews with Foreman, George Chuvalo, Evander Holyfield, Ken Norton and more.

“Best of the Rest” - the reasons that did not make the top five:

Sonny Liston. The former heavyweight champion, who lost the title to Ali in 1964, was a bad role model for Foreman.

Loose ropes. Even before Ali and Foreman entered the ring in Zaire, the ring ropes were sagging.

Top reasons:

#5: Zaire. The distant location should have provided a homecoming of sorts for both African-American combatants. Instead, Ali spun it to his advantage.

#4: Black Magic. Ali turned to sorcery to get edge on Foreman. Ali was told by the witch doctor of Zaire's President Mubuto, that a woman with trembling hands would put a spell on the champion.

#3: Foreman’s Cut. Eight days before the original fight date of September 24, Foreman’s sparring partner Bill McMurray clipped the champ above his right eye with an elbow. Foreman required 11 stitches and the fight was postponed 5 weeks.

#2: Foreman’s corner. Veteran trainer Dick Sadler and Hall of Famer Archie Moore were out-foxed by Team Ali, beginning with the preparation of the ring on fight night.

#1: He really was "The Greatest." For more than a decade many criticized Muhammad Ali for claiming he was the greatest. By defeating Foreman, he left no doubt that he was.

Excerpts from Tuesday’s telecast:

George Foreman
“I had knocked Kenny Norton, who beat Muhammad Ali, and I'd devastated Joe Frazier, I figured hey, I'm just gonna waste Muhammad Ali in two or three rounds.”

Al Bernstein -- Boxing analyst

“The whole atmosphere just freaked him out. Had that fight been in Houston or Las Vegas or New York, a very different George Foreman mentally would have probably walked into the ring.”

Jerry Izenberg – Veteran journalist
Ali used Africa to beat George Foreman. Ali made himself a citizen of Zaire emotionally with the people and he made George an interloper.

Pete Bonventre -- Veteran journalist
“I do blame George Foreman's corner for the results of that fight. It is up to the champions corner to determine the tension of the ropes. The ropes were loose that night.”

“They figured I'm gonna knock him out. I was eventually gonna get him. So there wasn't much advice for me. ‘Get him, get him, get him,’ that's all.”

“About the sixth round, when I hit him hard in the side, I mean I got a good shot. And he said, ‘Is that all you got, George?’ And I remember thinkin', ‘Yup, that's about it.’”

Article posted on 18.08.2006

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