Foreman on Pascal-Hopkins II

By Robert Ecksel on May 17, 2011
Foreman on Pascal-Hopkins II
"It's not limited to just pride in yourself, but also your community, your family, and boxing."

A man of few words, someone who let his fists do the talking, Foreman was big, he was bad, and he gave people pause with his baleful stare…

Those who knew George Foreman when he was young must still be shocked by his transformation. He was a surly heavyweight champion. A man of few words, someone who let his fists do the talking, Foreman was big, he was bad, and he gave people pause with his baleful stare. But a KO loss to Ali, followed by a visitation from Jesus, turned George Foreman into the lovable codger we know today.

With his record as the oldest man to win a world title on the cusp of being broken, Foreman is graciously praising Bernard Hopkins, who might accomplish that feat Saturday night in Montreal.

“I thought such a record would last a lot longer than it has lasted,” Foreman says, “because 45 is phenomenal and just think, Bernard Hopkins is 46. He’s probably the only one who could break such a record because not only does he possess this big punch to get a knockout, but he’s also a good boxer, and at times a counterpuncher. He can pull it off. No doubt about it.”

Hopkins can definitely pull it off. If there’s something Hopkins can’t do, I’ve yet to hear about it.

“It’s all about pride,” Foreman says. “It’s not limited to just pride in yourself, but also your community, your family, and boxing. Those are the similarities we have. He looks in the mirror and he still sees a young kid. I did the same thing. You step into the ring at 46, you just got to understand that you are just a kid like the other guy across the ring. ”

When Foreman was considering a return to the ring after 10 years in the trenches waging war against sin, many tried to discourage him. But others were in his corner.

“Larry Holmes told me when I made up my mind to get back into boxing, he said, ‘George, you can do it.’ He said, ‘If I had your punch, there wouldn’t be any question about it.’ He encouraged me more than anyone. Muhammad Ali was always, ‘Keep punching. You can do it.’ Joe Frazier—he had a little faith in me. So, from the days back, the previous guys did encourage me in their own way.”

Pascal has the hometown advantage. Although Hopkins loves to make naysayers eat their words, Pascal will be cheered by thousands of fans.

“That hometown thing,” says Foreman, “it gives you an extra something in your body that you generally don’t have. I mean, it gives you more courage. It gives you more speed. He is able to land shots that Bernard Hopkins is not able to land. Bernard is a decisive, good, crisp puncher. He doesn’t waste time on throwing nothing shots. The champion—he doesn’t mind. Any shot is a point and I think he’s better equipped to win because he’s not looking for a knockout. It’s a point system and he is better equipped to win this fight on the point system.”

But Foreman isn’t counting Hopkins out—not by a long shot.

“Bernard is a thinking man’s fighter. I didn’t realize that until he fought Trinidad. I had no idea. I always considered him a good, rough-and-tough fighter. But with the Trinidad fight he took his time, he measured the ring, measured the fighter, used his jab, and threw his right hand from a distance until the time for the knockout. He is the last truly thinking man’s fighter, boxer and puncher. That’s what makes Bernard unique. He thinks in the ring. Most people, even myself, were overtaken with that moment. You get excited. A guy hits you in the eye. You got to get him back. You got to get payback. This man thinks. He doesn’t wait for the corner to tell him what’s going on. He thinks while he’s active in the ring.”

“My hope is that he’ll go out there and put on a good fight. Understand that these fights generally are not won by decisions. In the latter rounds, he should look for a knockout like I did. There was no way I could have been in the record books without that one-two knockout punch. Bernard Hopkins, he’s got it, but he’s going to have to get it by way of knockout.”

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  1. Dave Wilcox 08:58am, 05/17/2011

    I will never forget Lampley’s call of the Foreman-Moorer fight…“It happened”

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