Of all the hypothetical, or ‘Dream Fight,’ scenarios boxing fans love to talk about and debate, a George Foreman Vs. Mike Tyson fight remains one of the most fascinating. Maybe it’s because the fight could actually have happened, in the 1990s, when Tyson was an ex-champ on the comeback trail post-Buster Douglas and Foreman was deep into his own “illogical” comeback – you know, the one that followed a ten-year layoff! Back then, Foreman’s rallying cry – along with him stating how his success would prove that age 40, even 50 is “not a death sentence” – was, “We want Tyson!”
As in Foreman wanted Tyson.
The fight never happened yet it came close a couple of times (with Tyson and Foreman even sharing a doubleheader, with a second one planned in 1990, the grand plan being for the two to then collide at the end of the year). All these years later, and fans seem about as split down the middle as can be when it comes to which monster puncher would have won had Foreman and Tyson slugged it out in 1990, 1991 or even in 1994 (this the year that saw Foreman realise his “impossible dream” of regaining the heavyweight crown).
Bob Arum, who promoted “Big George” as he began his wholly unexpected 1987 comeback, says today that he always felt Foreman would have won the fight by knockout. Not only that, but the Top Rank boss says he thinks it would have been an “easy fight” for the 40-something living legend. Speaking this week with Talk Sport, Arum explained why he felt Foreman would have had too much for Tyson back then, and he also said how one big part of Foreman deciding to come back was because Tyson was champ at the time.
“I always felt that if Mike Tyson got in the ring with George Foreman, who was tall, that Foreman would just hit down on Tyson and knock him out,” Arum said. “And that’s what George thought. He was always after me – this is when he came back, after ten years away – to make a fight with Mike Tyson. And I thought it would be an easy fight for Foreman.”
Again, the thought of these two former kings of the ring punching it out is nothing short of truly fascinating. And as to why the fight never took place, there are two schools of thought: Tyson wanted no part of Foreman, or Foreman wanted no part of Tyson. We never heard Tyson utter his reluctance to tangle with Foreman, yet stories have over the years come out, that say Tyson didn’t fancy a fight with Foreman. “I’m not fighting that f*****g animal! If you love the mother*****r so much, you fight him,” Tyson, it was claimed by writer Frank Lotierzo, said to Don King when King was hot on making the guaranteed blockbuster.
But Foreman quite recently gave an interview with ESPN in which he stated he wanted “no part of Mike Tyson,” that Tyson was “a nightmare.”
Could it be, quite amazingly, that BOTH men were reluctant to take the fight!? We will never know. Nor will we know who would have won. But Arum has his opinion (and I have mine: Foreman would have made Tyson quit, that’s if the too strong, mentally as well as physically, Foreman didn’t knock him flat) – and maybe you have yours?