George Foreman is one of the biggest names in boxing history, and as such, knows a thing or two about fame and being on the back end of legendary trash talk
Foreman is known to boxing fans around the world as the man who was expected to easily deal with the threat of Muhammad Ali in “The Rumble in the Jungle”.
This fight is one of the most notable in boxing history. A supposedly “over the hill” Ali rope-a-doped and took a barrage of punches on his way to dropping the human-wrecking ball and “unstoppable” Foreman to reclaim the heavyweight championship of the world in Zaire in 1974.
Foreman was like nothing seen in heavyweight boxing before. The man was a bully inside the ropes, who had destroyed everyone before him in 34 professional bouts. Prior to the Ali fight, “Big George” had annihilated Joe Frazier and Ken Norton, the man who had shattered Ali’s jaw to beat “The Greatest” the previous year. Ali was 32 years old in this fight and was not the lightfooted slickster of his previous years. Ali shocked the world (again), breaking Foreman’s spirit on his way to cementing his place in the pantheon of the greatest fighters the world had ever seen.
To say Foreman knows a thing or two about silver-tongued trash talkers is an understatement. Ali had subjugated his formidable opponent to some legendary quips and verbal beat downs, including telling a crowd in Zaire prior to the famous fight that he would kill Foreman…in Zaire’s Lingala dialect: “Ako bo mai ye“.
Additionally, the boxer formerly known as Cassius Clay had Foreman in his sights when he quoted the immortal lines in 1974:
“Now you see me, now you don’t.
George thinks he will, but I know he won’t.
I done wrassled with an alligator, I done tussled with a whale.
Only last week I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalized a brick.
I’m so mean, I make medicine sick.”
Conor McGregor is often compared to Ali when it comes to trash talk, but if you would have made this comparison while in the company of Foreman prior to the Mayweather vs McGregor circus, he would have no idea who the Irishman is. Foreman recently appeared on The Jake Brown Show, and stated:
“The other guy [mcgregor] – no one even knew his name and now he keeps flirting with the idea of him fighting Floyd Mayweather. He should take advantage of that and go out and fight 100 more people and wait until the Mayweather fight happens. He’s famous now. He’s almost a household name and he was not until the talk of him fighting Mayweather. It doesn’t even have to happen. I’m not buying anymore Mayweather fights. Best believe that. Not me.”
While Mayweather’s name in boxing is one of the biggest in living memory, it is a far shout to suggest that he brought McGregor’s to the fore. Challenging “Money” to a fight is bound to win you back-page headlines in every capacity, but it is the ubiquitous appeal of the Irishman’s character (much like Ali) that has seen him conquer ground in the fame game which (aside from Ronda Rousey) is unparalleled for an MMA fighter.
While Foreman’s words may indicate that he is not a keen fan of MMA, the steady growth of the sport means that there are many fans of both the ring and the octagon who will have been more than familiar with the names Mayweather and McGregor prior to their names sharing the headlines.