Arguably the greatest living heavyweight, former two-time heavyweight king George Foreman is already in the International Boxing Hall of Fame – and ever so rightly so. This weekend, the 74 year old all-time great will be honoured in Atlantic City, with “Big George” being enshrined in yet another Hall of Fame. Foreman, who spoke with RingTV.com about the upcoming shindig, says he has great memories of fighting in Atlantic City, not least his epic rumble with Evander Holyfield from April of 1991.
That night, with the odds as well as the experts, almost all of them, saying Holyfield would down Foreman somewhere near the middle of the fight, the amazing 42 year old instead pushed “The Real Deal” all the way, with defending heavyweight ruler Holyfield, all 28 years of him, winning the decision. That was Foreman’s first attempt at regaining the world title he had lost to Muhammad Ali in a whole other boxing era, but Foreman made believers of everyone in defeat.
Along with fighting Holyfield in Atlantic City, “Big George” faced names Gerry Cooney, Shannon Briggs and, in his final ring victory, Lou Savarese there. It is the Holyfield fight that sticks out uppermost in Foreman’s mind, however. Cornered by the legendary Angelo Dundee for that fight, Foreman recalled for Ring a moment in the 7th round.
“I remember the seventh round of the Holyfield fight, and referee Rudy Battle (who will also be honoured at the weekend) told me to ‘stop that,’ and Angelo Dundee yelled from my corner, ‘Rudy, what you’re doing is wrong!’ Foreman said, laughing. “I’ll never forget that moment. Angelo stepped up to bat for me. I won’t forget that moment in Atlantic City. Here I was, putting it on Holyfield, and the ref is trying to stop me. My last fight was in Atlantic City and my last victory was in Atlantic City. I have a lot of history in Atlantic City. I remember training for the Holyfield fight. All the fight fans and the people around the world wanted to see me fight. I felt like a real celebrity. Donald Trump was there, and Bob Arum was my guy, making sure everything went right. I like being reminded of those old times. I wanted to fight Mike Tyson, and I wanted to fight Tyson in Atlantic City. I was pushing for that fight and it never happened.”
Had the Tyson fight happened, Foreman would be an even bigger legend, an even more globally idolised and respected ring warrior today – if that even seems possible. To this day, fans debate with passion what would have happened had Foreman and Tyson fought in 1990 or 1991. Many people do feel Foreman, with his style, his size, and his sheer strength (not just from a physical standpoint) and pulverizing power, would have been too much for the much younger “Iron Mike.”
As it is, Foreman made good on his real goal, that of regaining the heavyweight title. That historic night came in Vegas, not in Atlantic City. But as Foreman says, he has “a lot of history in Atlantic City.” Heck, Foreman has a lot of history in many places.
It promises to be some great night in AC on Saturday!
Along with Foreman, Shannon Briggs, David Tua, Pinklon Thomas, Tracy Harris Patterson, Doug DeWitt, Darroll Wilson, Shamone Alvarez, Jamillia Lawrence, Joe Hand Sr, Matt Howard, Rudy Battle, Benjy Esteves Jr, Arnold Robbins and Lee Samuels will be honoured on Saturday.