George Foreman reveals why he never faced 'monster' Mike Tyson

‘That guy was a nightmare in the ring, I didn’t want anything to do with him’: George Foreman reveals why he never faced ‘monster’ Mike Tyson after making shock heavyweight comeback aged 38 in 1987

  • Foreman made a surprise return to the ring aged 38 after a decade away in 1987
  • At that time, Mike Tyson, 21, held the WBC, WBA and IBF heavyweight belts
  • There were ‘serious negotiations’ to make the high-profile fight happen
  • But Foreman has admitted Tyson was a ‘nightmare’ in the ring and a ‘monster’
  • However, Foreman believes Tyson was frightened of facing him as well 

George Foreman has admitted ‘didn’t want anything to do’ with ‘monster’ Mike Tyson when a fight between the two heavyweights was mooted in the late 1980s.

Two-time world champion Foreman was 38 in 1987 when he stunned the boxing world by announcing a comeback.

At that time, Tyson was only 21 but held the WBC, WBA and IBF belts, the first heavyweight boxer to have all three simultaneously.


George Foreman (left) could have faced reigning heavyweight champion Mike Tyson (right) following his return to the ring in 1987 but both fighters had reservations

Foreman fights Rocky Sekorski following his return to heavyweight boxing aged 38 in 1987

Foreman had not stepped into the ring for 10 years when he made his decision to return 

But the showdown never materialised and Foreman has explained the reasons why.

‘That guy was a nightmare in the ring. I didn’t want anything to do with that guy,’ he told ESPN.

‘I didn’t want a part of Mike Tyson. He was a monster.

‘If he missed you with his left, then missed you with his right, he’d bite you.

‘Those are the kind of guys you see in a nightmare. You want to wake up and say, ‘so glad that’s a dream.’

‘I didn’t want any part of Mike Tyson – no way.’

But Foreman revealed that Tyson felt the same way at the time, adding: ‘He was scared and I was glad of that.’

Tyson shows off his WBC, WBA and IBF belts ahead of his 1987 fight against Tyrell Biggs

Tyson floors Frank Bruno during their fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in February 1989

Instead, Tyson went on to extend his undefeated record by beating the likes of Larry Holmes, Michael Spinks and Frank Bruno before suffering his first loss, to Buster Douglas in 1990.

Foreman, who famously fought Muhammad Ali in the 1974 ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ instead made his 1987 comeback against Steve Zouski.

He continued fighting until he was almost 49 and ended his career in 1997 with a professional record of 81 fights, 76 wins including 68 by knockout, and five losses.

Foreman was beaten by Muhammad Ali in the Rumble in the Jungle in Zaire in October 1974

Foreman told On The Ropes boxing: ‘There were a couple of times serious negotiations were going on with the Mike Tyson fight.

‘Mike Tyson just didn’t want to fight me. Not to say he couldn’t have beaten me.

‘I mean, this guy could punch. The bigger they are the harder they’d fall as far as Mike Tyson was concerned.’

 

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