George Foreman has revealed he asked former opponent Muhammad Ali not to fight Larry Holmes before their fateful meeting in 1980.
Holmes beat down an aged Ali, winning every round at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas before the contest was halted in the tenth.
Afterward, Ali was urged by fans and fellow-professionals to hang up his gloves. But ‘The Greatest’ still wasn’t done yet.
Fourteen months later, Ali fought Trevor Berbick. And despite putting on a better performance than the Holmes fight, it was clear the three-time heavyweight champion was overbaked.
Foreman, who lost to Ali in ‘The Rumble in the Jungle’ six years prior, actually told Ali he should stay retired after he avenged a loss to Leon Spinks two years previously.
“Before the Holmes fight, we really talked. (I said) don’t do it Champ!” explained Foreman in regards to Ali accepting the Holmes contract.
“But Muhammad loves his family. He just wanted a little set aside (money). No different than any of us, but he just needed another profession,” added ‘Big’ George.
Ali was never the same once his boxing career was over as his health deteriorated year upon year.
Eventually, the man they called ‘The Louisville Lip’ was largely silenced for his remaining spell on earth.
Four years ago in June 2016, Muhammad Ali passed away. The realization of many was that boxing lost the great man many years prior to that day.
One of the best to ever lace them up, the sport will forever be indebted to Ali for transcending life. Something Foreman is grateful to have been a part of.
Since then, the top division has struggled for big personalities, with only the likes of Mike Tyson and now Tyson Fury, taking outside of the ring activities to new heights.
Tyson has recently announced his comeback to exhibitions at the age of 53. Whilst Fury is the biggest name in the 200 pounds plus weight class and wants to fight until he’s 40.