Like all of us, heavyweight legend “Big” George Foreman has been impressed by the amazing punching power of ruling WBC heavyweight champ Deontay Wilder. But Foreman, who some experts say is THE hardest punching big man in the history of the sport of boxing (others pointing to Earnie Shavers, others still to Sonny Liston or Rocky Marciano), has yet to be convinced that Wilder, 42-0-1(41) ranks as the absolute best puncher in the history of the heavyweights.
As George explained when speaking briefly with TMZ Sports, Wilder needs to “have a performance like Mike Tyson did over Trevor Berbick” before he can be lauded as the best puncher.
“He’s good but he hasn’t approached Joe Louis, Joe Frazier, Mike Tyson,” Foreman, a two-time ruler of the division, said of Wilder. “No, he hasn’t approached that kind of recognition yet. No way. For me, he has to have a performance like Mike Tyson did over Trevor Berbick. Boy, when I saw that, I was down visiting Vegas, and I thought, ‘this guy is a nightmare!’”
Indeed, Tyson’s two-round decimation of Berbick was stunning, in terms of both power and speed. Wilder has wiped out some good heavyweights (arguably far better heavies than Berbick) but has he ever electrified the way the peaking Tyson did? One way Wilder can be looked at as the best big man on the planet, according to Foreman, is for him to KO Tyson Fury in their anticipated return fight. If he can do that, Wilder will have to be respected, if he ain’t already.
“I think the Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury rematch would be one of the greatest of all time,” Foreman said of the rematch we all hope will go down in February. “Not just today, but of all time. If I see that fight, I would say Deontay Wilder has moved up in status and whoever wins the fight will probably be one of the greatest heavyweights of all time.”
High praise indeed from a living legend. But agreed: if Wilder can put Fury’s lights out (as he came close to doing in their first thriller of a fight; only for Fury to do the impossible and rise after taking not one flush punch but two flush head shots from Wilder in that surely iconic 12th round), he will be looked at by all as THE biggest puncher of the division and very arguably as THE best heavyweight out there today.
Wilder can crack, we all know that. But is he number-one in heavyweight history? Not yet, George Foreman says. And who can argue with Foreman?