Former two-time heavyweight champion and boxing legend George Foreman has opened up about his shame for punching so hard.
“Big George” enjoyed two distinctive parts to his boxing tenure, in which he picked up world titles in both.
The first part came on the back of an Olympic gold medal at the 1968 Games in Mexico. Foreman turned professional soon after and went on a savage rampage of knockouts.
By the time he fought an undefeated Joe Frazier in 1973, Foreman was already 37-0 and the most feared man in the sport.
GEORGE FOREMAN POWER
He recalls how his ferocious power led to plenty of sleepless nights.
“Two things I will never forget about my boxing career; How hard I could hit [not proud of the first part] and how hard they punched me.
“I heard bells and whistles while bodies collapsed,” said Foreman.
“The first time around [1967 to 1977], I hit so hard. I’d wake up ashamed of what I had done to [those] good people.
“I felt like they were boxing, and I was slaughtering.”
Asked how he generated that velocity, Foreman responded: “My gift was recklessness. I didn’t care if I broke my shoulder, arm, or knuckles or if I flew out of the ring.
“I had to get a KO or fall down myself.”
Despite his reputation, Foreman had his own insecurities. He made sure he did the work in the gym to give him the tools to compete.
“All of the fighting [in my mind] is done out side the ring in preparation for the fight: one more mile, extra shadow boxing, and sit-ups.
“But once the bell rings, you’re safe. You practice so many hours; then we execute so perfectly.
“That’s when we realize The stars did it; excepting credit for such is crazy. Heaven does it.”
Leaving the sport in 1977 after struggling to cope with the defeat at the hands of Muhammad Ali in Zaire three years earlier, Foreman found God. He would eventually make a remarkable comeback ten years later.
Foreman again worked hard in training, but he kept his excess weight to make himself harder to put down. That stoppage to Ali urged Foreman not to want to go through that kind of loss again.
It worked, especially against Michael Moorer when Foreman rode out a storm to KO the champion and become the oldest heavyweight ruler ever in 1994.
WBN Editor Phil has over ten years of boxing news experience. Follow WBN on Twitter @WorldBoxingNews.