George Foreman headlines the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame 2023 class
George Foreman kind of loses track. The all-time great doesn’t exactly know how many hall of fames he is in. Maybe six. Possibly seven. His piles of accomplishments and the times he’s been honored are so many that they tend to blur through the years.
On Saturday, at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, in Atlantic City, New Jersey, “Big George” will be inducted into yet another hall of fame, as part of the 2023 Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame induction.
Foreman will be joining Shannon Briggs, David Tua, Pinklon Thomas, Tracy Harris Patterson, Doug Dewitt, Darroll Wilson, Shamone Alvarez, Jamillia Lawrence, Joe Hand Sr., Matt Howard, Rudy Battle, Benjy Esteves Jr., Arnold Robbins and Lee Samuels.
They will be inducted alongside posthumous pioneers such as Buster Drayton, Marty Feldman, Rocky Castellani, Frankie Polo, Joe Miller, Horace M. Leeds, “KO” Becky O’Neill and Willie O’Neill.
Foreman (76-5, 69 knockouts) will turn 75 on January 10, 2024.
“It’s always great to be honored,” Foreman said. “People are really kind to me. That matters more to me, how kind people have been to me. I always felt like I’m cheating someone anytime I would be inducted into a hall of fame. I ran a lot of miles, I did a lot of sparring, and had so many knockouts. I never did it to be honored in any hall of fame. I never thought about that.
“I never thought I would be honored like this, it’s like I’m cheating someone out of something. I just didn’t feel I deserved anything like this. I fought to win, and when I came back the second time in my career, I had to pay bills and when I came around the second time around, I really want to be a champion, when I knocked out Michael Moorer.”
Foreman said when he thinks of Hall of Famers, he says Joe Louis, Jersey Joe Walcott, Jack Dempsey come to mind.
Foreman had some memorable fights in Atlantic City. The last fight of his career came in Atlantic City, when Foreman lost a majority decision to Shannon Briggs on Nov. 22, 1997. In 1990, Foreman stopped Gerry Cooney in two, and he decisioned the previously undefeated Lou Savarese in the penultimate fight of his career.
Foreman also lost to Evander Holyfield in April 1991 for the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world.
“I remember the seventh round of the Holyfield fight, and referee Rudy Battle told me to ‘stop that,’ and Angelo Dundee yelled from my corner, ‘Rudy, what you’re doing is wrong!’ Foreman said, belting out a laugh. “I’ll never forget that moment. Angelo stepped up to bat for me. I won’t forget that moment in Atlantic City.
“Here I was, putting it on Holyfield, and the ref is trying to stop me. My last fight was in Atlantic City and my last victory was in Atlantic City. I have a lot of history in Atlantic City. I remember training for the Holyfield fight. All the fight fans and the people around the world wanted to see me fight. I felt like a real celebrity. Donald Trump was there, and Bob Arum was my guy, making sure everything went right.
“I like being reminded of those times. I wanted to fight Mike Tyson, and I wanted to fight Tyson in Atlantic City. I was pushing for that fight and it never happened. Tyson had everything to lose, so to speak.”
Foreman said one of his best lasting memories was during the ring walk for the Cooney fight. He had an old girlfriend in the stands, and he had a distinct memory of a nickname he had in Houston, Texas. She yelled the nickname and Foreman stopped his ring walk.
“I had to find out who was yelling that nickname, where did it come from?” Foreman recalled. “My old friend called me by that nickname and I stopped my ring walk right there and had to find out. Once I spotted my friend in the stands, that made her night. How many does a fighter stop his ring walk to find out where someone they know is in the crowd? I did. And I did in Atlantic City.
“The city holds a lot of special memories for me.”
For more information please visit the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame website at www.acbhof.com.
Editors Note: Joseph Santoliquito will also be inducted with the 2023 Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame class.
Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/RingTV.com since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.