Muhammad Ali – This article originally appeared on NECN on June 4th, 2016.
George Foreman III, the son of George Foreman, owns a gym in Boston and spoke of Muhammad Ali with great admiration. (Published Saturday, June 4, 2016)
Following the death of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, the son of one of his greatest rivals spoke with great admiration Saturday from his Boston gym.
“He said he was the greatest before he was champion, when he was champion,” George Foreman III said of Ali. “When he lost it, three years later, not doing anything, ‘I’m still the greatest,’ won it again, ‘I told you I was the greatest.'”
Foreman III, the son of George Foreman, a world heavyweight champion like Ali, owns Everybody Fights in Boston.
“We feel privileged that we had such a great human being come into our sport – lower himself to be in our sport, because he was so much bigger,” the younger Foreman, himself a retired fighter, said.
Ali took away the championship title from George Foreman in 1974 at the Rumble in the Jungle match in Zaire – his father said it was a tough moment.
“The early 70s, they were competitors. He would tell you that even though it was only two or three years, they were like intense competitors, he wished they had just been like brothers,” Foreman III said, explaining that the two remained friends for the past 40 years.
“It was a strange thing to fight someone you’ve admired for so many years,” the older Foreman said Saturday. “Although all I wanted to do was knock him out. He was still the toughest man I’ve been in the ring with.”
Ali’s accolades include many wins, but what Foreman III admired the most was his humanitarian work he did outside of the sport. It was his boldness that’s encouraged him to focus on more than the ring.
“Be defined by your character and what you stand for, what you believe in,” he said. “Don’t be shy about being a hero.”