Sunday, June 04, 2023  |


George Foreman on Floyd Mayweather Jr.: ‘A loss could devastate him.’

Fighters Network
Muhammad Ali v George Foreman

The Rumble in the Jungle (AFP/Getty)

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George Foreman, who knows a thing or two about a mega fight, offered his two cents on the upcoming showdown between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao on May 2. Foreman, whose legendary fight with Muhammad Ali in Zaire remains as one of the few times in boxing history where the fight actually lived up to the hype, spoke to the media during a conference call in advance of his appearance on the HBO special “Mayweather/Pacquiao The Legends Speak” to give his perspective on what to expect in Las Vegas next Saturday.

“I think for those of us who really are pure to the laws of boxing, it’s going to be a fantastic, amazing boxing match and one that is going to live up to all the hype,” the former two-time heavyweight champion explained.

When it came to picking a winner, Foreman stated his case for Pacquiao, but also suggested that we could be in for some interesting judging come May 2.

“I picked Pacquiao to win six rounds and I think the seventh round will be even,” Foreman said. “Mayweather comes on, but because he starts slow, it’s going to be too late … This fight will be won by one round by Pacquiao on points.”

Being a boxer himself, Big George would go on to break down how he figures the fight will go based on both boxers’ tendencies.

“Mayweather starts off early kind of looking for his timing and Pacquiao will pot shot him and get ahead on points … and he’ll stay ahead,” Foreman said as he outlined how the fight would play out. He also suggested that because Mayweather is a counterpuncher by nature that he’ll likely give away a few rounds early and it could spell out his demise. “He’ll slow down later on and Mayweather will [become the aggressor] but he doesn’t have a right hand. He’ll hurt his right hand. He can’t get a knockout. So he’ll just have to cruise on in and win or lose the fight just by a couple of points.”

Ultimately, Foreman believes that because Pacquiao is stepping into the ring as the underdog that there is a lot less pressure on him to win. And, because of that, it will allow him to be a little bit looser than his welterweight counterpart.

“Once you get into a boxing match of this nature and you’ve never lost before, you wake up in the morning, your heart is beating, you go to bed with a fast beat. You’re nervous. There’s so much pressure on Mayweather. More pressure probably than any athlete around right now because he’s undefeated,” Foreman said.

Maybe Foreman is siding with Pacquiao because he’s the underdog and is well aware of how being the favorite did him no favors against Muhammad Ali. His eighth-round TKO loss to Ali haunted him for several years and played a major role in the personality shift from menacing monster to lovable big guy. Keenly aware of the devastation to his ego that came with that shocking loss (and the only time Foreman had ever been stopped), the former heavyweight champion offered some insight on whether Mayweather could handle a blemish on his record in a fight of this magnitude. Speaking from experience, Foreman thinks that a loss to Pacquiao could destroy Mayweather’s psyche.

“I was in that position when I lost to Muhammad Ali,” Foreman reflected on his mindset after The Rumble In The Jungle. “It wasn’t like I lost the title. You lose your perspective of who you are as a human being. This could really knock him out and that’s why I don’t think there can easily be a rematch if Mayweather loses because you have to go out into the mountains somewhere, the hills somewhere, to try to find himself all over again. This could devastate him as a boxer, not as a man, but as a boxer, this could devastate him.”


READ: Rumble in the Jungle retrospective: Ali-Foreman 40 years later