Foreman may see light when swelling subsides

Phil Jackman

April 13, 1992|By Phil Jackman

George Foreman is no dope, a condition it's safe to say puts him in the minority in the fight game. That's why George will take another look at what happened in a Las Vegas ring Saturday night and decide to ride off into the sunset.

If he doesn't, he certainly should.

It was painful to watch, Big George being given every opportunity to make a short night of it as Alex Stewart set up shop directly in front of Foreman's biggest bombs.

After being dropped twice in the second round, however, Stewart decided to join in the fisticuffs and it was only by the slimmest of margins (one point from two judges) that Foreman prevailed.

Big George makes splendid use of his bulk (260 pounds) and the only remaining valid punch in his arsenal, the left jab. But once his bull-like thrusts are halted, he becomes a target for almost any counter-punches headed back his way. And while Foreman can still take one good shot, any series of punches, even if no heavier than taps, cause him to lose balance and send him reeling around like a runaway meteorite.

Once on the canvas, it's likely lumbering George wouldn't be able to gain his feet in 10 minutes, much less 10 seconds.

Of course, the money is great, Foreman touching up HBO for $5 million. But it's a known fact George knows no monetary need these days and his likeable and lively personality has set up a series of high-profile opportunities he already is cashing in on.

Foreman will find it difficult not holding a retirement announcement in abeyance until the result of an Evander Holyfield-Larry Holmes scrap in June is in. However, that's just postponing the inevitable.

For one thing, Holmes has virtually no chance of putting up as good a fight against the champ as Foreman did, and Big George took a fearful battering. He's half-hoping Holmes takes the title and these two geezers 43 and 42 can get it on for one more huge payday.

A lot of what Foreman has accomplished in his comeback over the last four years bordered on travesty. A fight against Holmes would leave no doubt, and perhaps even the anything-goes promoters will realize it.

Meanwhile, just 24 hours before and, as advertised, a thrill-a-minute card of under-publicized but far more capable fighters had a Showtime audience squealing with delight.

The only problems on a show topped by Julio Cesar Chavez in a Mexico City bullring were promoter Don King's constant aping in the background and the victorious fighters, on command, making reference to their undying love for convicted and jailed rapist Mike Tyson.

The fights, no doubt, will be rerun, maybe even making it to network. It took until the fifth round for Chavez to get rid of Angel Hernandez, who seemed doomed from the start considering the size of the ring: a cozy 16 feet by 16 feet.

Julian Jackson also took five rounds to get by Ron Collins. And for a few fleeting moments, it appeared as if the heaviest puncher in the game might be the victim of an upset.

The Edwin Rosario-Akinobu Hiranaka home run-hitting contest lasted for just 92 seconds, but it was the wildest minute and a half since the famous Marvin Hagler-Tommy Hearns first round several years back.

The pronounced underdog from Japan, who had left his country to fight just once only to be beaten, brushed off a couple of Rosario haymakers and pummeled the ex-champ. His was a masterpiece of a game plan: "I plan to attack when I am attacked."

It's unfortunate Stewart wasn't on the same plan a day later against Foreman.

As impressive as the action by the "little guys" was, a bonus is always in store for viewers when Ferdie Pacheco is doing the yammering ringside. His latest contribution to the lexicon of boxing was to refer to the battered state of knockout victim Collins as performing "the dance of unconsciousness while all [internal] circuits are going out."

Pacheco also didn't mince words when he pointed out "the problem with Rosario is he's at the end of the road." Edwin, 37-5 with 32 knockouts, is not yet 30 years old. What choice words might the Fight Doctor have for the 43-year-old Foreman?

Probably only one: Quit.

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