Interview: George Foreman

By Jeff Zimmerman
Photo: Robert Hughes caught up with legendary former heavyweight world champion George Foreman and his son George Foreman IV (aka Big Wheel) at the recent Mikey Garcia vs. Juanma Lopez press conference in Dallas.

On getting his boys in the business
It’s my boys getting ready to form Foreman Boys Productions and getting a little guidance from someone that has been doing it forever. Can you believe I remember when he was just a rookie himself, Bob Arum and now all of sudden he is the expert. He was the one that would go around asking what to do, now he’s the one that everyone follows around on what to do, I am happy if I can align my boys with him and myself to put on some good quality boxing.

Comparing winning a world title or Olympic gold to working with his boys
It’s family business and there is no pleasure like doing work in the family business, greatest pleasure.

On their first show with Top Rank in Austin
It was really good, it was organized. They played a big part of putting it together with the production. My sons were really a part of it with the publicity stage and helping with the boxers. It was a pleasure because this is a family business, something I have done all those years and to see them becoming experts on the other side of it.

On your relationship with Bob Arum through the years
We have always been friends. One thing you do, you win boxing matches, you lose boxing matches, but you never lose friends. Bob and I have kept the same friendship, same level of friendship as always.

Thoughts on today’s heavyweights
There aren’t any. The heavyweights, they are almost not existent. We are hoping with the Foreman name jumping back on the scene it may provoke some big heavyweight to say I can be champion like George and come back on the scene. We’re hoping. No matter how content you are with the other weights people still like to see the giants slugging each other. Most of the time bouts don’t last but a minute or two, but they love it.

Relationship with Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali and me are best of friends. We have always been friends. We talk all the time; his daughters will put him on the telephone. I saw him last year at his birthday celebration and I spent time with him, but his daughters always put me on the telephone and if there is a rumor about him being sick, they will call me quickly to dispel it.

Thoughts on the fight
I’m looking for Mikey Garcia; he may be the best left hooker that didn’t come out of Philadelphia that we have ever seen, so this is an exciting bout. And just think it is happening in Dallas, that’s the most special part about it.

Also on hand was George Foreman IV (aka Big Wheel).

On learning the business from Bob Arum
So far it has been a great learning experience, it’s strange, because you grow up in boxing literally from birth in my position and you look up and you know the sport in and out but then you get to learn the whole new side of the promotion. You sit down and listen and learn from the greats in George Foreman and Bob Arum and shut your mouth and do as you’re told, before you know it there’s a brand new face in boxing.

The biggest thing he has learned so far
The biggest thing I have learned on the promotional side is the value of a good name. You hang around George Foreman and Bob Arum and you walk into a building, you walk into a room and the first thing you notice is their name recognition, if you could develop a good name, than the skies the limit.

On working with his brothers
My brothers, see I grow up, me and my brothers spent all of our lives fighting and competing in basketball games, football games, before you know it, you look up and we’re teammates, we are on the same field, the same side trying to promote to make a great brand, so it’s a new avenue for us to be on the same side, but we all grow with each other, we play with each other and now we work with each other.

Thoughts on the fight
Being able to come to Dallas, Texas at the American Airlines Center, we get to hang out with Mark Cuban, to see where Dirk Nowitzki sits, it’s just an awesome opportunity, and it’s almost unbelievable.

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