It’s a fascinating Dream Fight with a most dreamlike quality: George Foreman Vs. George Foreman! Foreman, as we know had two incredible ring careers, from 1969 to 1977, and then, as an “old man,” from 1987 to 1997. Both versions of “Big George” were truly effective fighting machines. But which was better?
Foreman, in speaking with the New York Post, said it would have been no contest; that the older version would have beaten the young version.
Not only that, but Foreman says that if the great physical strength of “young” George could be fused with the thinking ability of “old” George, even Muhammad Ali would have been beaten.
“I would outthink him,” Foreman said of what would have happened had he fought his younger self. “When I was 23, fighting for the championship of the world, all I did was get that fist and try to knock those guys out.
All I had was fists, strength. The second time around, all I had was thought. I was thinking, thinking, thinking, taking my time, staying out of range, moving into range, recovering from a punch, taking time, too much thought went into that older George.
To get into that ring and fight and think is a treasure because I was in that ring with nothing but physical strength and not one minute to think.
I had the strength; I had the power. I just didn’t have the thinking power. Put that thinking power together with the same punch and strength. It wouldn’t have been a contest.”
Foreman says there would have been no Rope-a-Dope against Ali had it been the older, thinking version of himself in there with the man who stopped him in Africa all those years ago.
“There wouldn’t have been a Rope-a-Dope. I cornered Muhammad. I kept cornering him; he couldn’t get away, [I was] trying to knock him out real quick. But you notice I never cornered Michael Moorer.
I kept him in the middle of the ring and kept it a boxing match. You know I never watched one film about Muhammad Ali. I never studied him. When I fought for the title at 45, I studied film.”
So what would the outcome have been had the older, smarter but just as physically strong and powerful Foreman fought Ali? George says he’d have won a decision.
“Yeah, ’cause you don’t knock Muhammad Ali out,” Foreman said.
It’s a truly interesting subject. Did Ali beat a young fighter who simply never had a Plan-B, who fell into a state of near exhaustion when his big punch was not enough but would not have made the same mistake in a return?
Ali never fought Foreman a second time, but even if he had, the thinking is Ali would have always been too clever, too smart, and too good for the 1970s version of Foreman.
But that mix of the 1970s strength and power combined with the 1990s thinking ability? Now that is a “Dream Fight!”