Whenever Boone Pultz speaks of his trials as a professional boxer, he invariably uses the word "we."
He isn't referring to his corner men or beloved family members, though he says each plays an importantpart in his career.
"Without God, I couldn't do it," he says. "God's my No. 1 man. Hegives me the strength to do it, to dig down deep."
The Pasadena resident could use the extra help if a proposed fight with former heavyweight champion George Foreman goes through as planned.
Although such a match is still in the negotiating stages, Pultz recently has been mentioned as a likely opponent for Foreman, the heavy puncher turned heavy preacher who launched an improbable comeback in 1987 after a 10-year absence from the ring.
"I'm supposed to go to Las Vegas Tuesday for a press conference," Pultz, 31, said. "It looks like the fight is going to happen (Sept. 7 on Home Box Office). We're just waiting to hear from Foreman's adviser, Ron Weathers."
In this instance, the "we" includes Pultz's longtime trainer, Truman Tuttle, who says the fight is "up in the air."
"They've got a date set, but we still have to fly out to Vegas to sign the contracts, and that's not definite yet," Tuttle said.
"We won't know until after that. Nothing is sure in boxing until you climb in the ring and the bell sounds. Then, everything is on."
Pultz, who grew up in Cape St. Claire andattended Severna Park High School, won four straight Golden Gloves and Amateur Athletic Union championships before turning pro in 1982.
Less than three years later, he won the United States Boxing Association cruiserweight title, and later became World Boxing Organizationcruiserweight champion by taking a split decision over Magne Havnaa in Copenhagen in December 1989.
But Havnaa scored a fifth-round technical knockout in a rematch in May of last year, and Pultz hasn't fought since.
"We went into the fight with a couple broken ribs," said Pultz, who scored 12 knockouts in his first 19 bouts, all victories, before losing to Havnaa.
"We went to Copenhagen to postpone the fight and got talked into fighting anyway. It was a learning experience."
Imagine the experience he'll gain if he steps in the ring with Foreman, 42, who held the heavyweight championship in 1973-1974 and went the distance in losing a 12-round decision to current champion Evander Holyfield on April 19 in Atlantic City, N.J.
"This is it. This is the highest you can go," Tuttle said. "It's just fabulous, such an opportunity.
"Say he goes the distance and loses. He stillcan make a million dollars. He could lose the next five fights and still make a million dollars. All he has to do (against Foreman) is look good. Anything over that, like if he happens to beat him or knock him out, and he'd be on top of the world."
Pultz said, "I'm excited, thrilled. I really like our possibilities at this point and time. For some reason, Foreman is someone we've always had a gut feeling about. Our instincts said this would be a good fight.
"He's definitely a big draw. He's hot right now. A win over Foreman would put us right up there."
Foreman (69-3) has been offered $5 million for his next fight, no matter who the opponent is, now that Holyfield and former champion Mike Tyson are out of the picture. The two signed Wednesday to meet in November, squelching any plans Foreman had of a big payoff.
Pultz would not disclose how much he has been offered to meet Foreman. But Tuttle said when talk first surfaced three weeks ago of a possible fight in China, Pultz's share of the purse was somewherebetween $300,000 and $750,000.
"Boone said, 'Hell, I'll fight himfor $10,000. Let's get it on.' But when you talk like that, that's all they'll offer him," Tuttle said.
Foreman, who won a gold medal in the 1968 Olympics, weighed 257 pounds for his fight against Holyfield. Pultz, who trains out of Tyler, Texas, and two gymnasiums in Prince George's County, normally boxes around 195, but hopes to remain at his present weight of 210 if the fight takes place.
"For some reason, I think he'll be around 240, so we'd be giving up about 30 pounds," Pultz said. "He's still a big man, but we'd fight him the same way whatever weight he came in at -- just attack him, in and out, quick movement, get the angles on him. He can't move as well as we can.
"The way to fight him is to attack and make him work. If we sit back and try to box him, he can stay there all day. Make him use up his energy.
"We'll get his attention."
Apparently, Pultz already has done so. But whether it leads to a September fight remains uncertain.