Foreman in no neutral corner after 8-round win over Coetzer

January 18, 1993|By Michael Katz | Michael Katz,New York Daily News

RENO, Nev. -- George Foreman made his getaway at 5:45 a.m. yesterday, $5 million richer, one fight closer to the final heist, the one where the 44-year-old would-be-TV comedian laughs all the way to another heavyweight title shot -- especially since Lennox Lewis now has offered him 55 percent of the take.

Foreman, who thought he spent too much time re-arranging Pierre Coetzer's sour puss before referee Joe Cortez finally stopped the Saturday-night slaughter in the eighth round, couldn't wait to get back to his family in Texas yesterday. At his age, he won't wait for a title fight, either, longtime adviser Ron Weathers said.

Weathers virtually ruled out the contracted meeting with Tommy Morrison, who survived two knockdowns by Carl "The Truth" Williams in the fifth round to score an eighth-round TKO and put himself in position for the April 16 bout with Foreman.

"George can make maybe $14 million with Morrison," Weathers said. "But he can make $20 [million to] $24 million against Lewis."

Even with subtractions for hype, either bout would put Foreman over the $50 million earnings mark since his improbable comeback six years ago after a 10-year rest.

And the hype has begun. For one, the Foreman camp now has joined the WBC in recognizing Lewis as world champion "because he'll fight anybody anywhere," Weathers said.

"Riddick Bowe won't fight George Foreman and he won't fight Lennox Lewis," Weathers said. "We'd like to fight Bowe because people still recognize him as the legit champion because he beat Evander Holyfield. But how can you fight a guy who don't want to fight you and how can you deal with a guy like [Bowe's manager] Rock Newman?"

Lewis, represented here by his lawyer, John Hornewer, has offered Foreman the bank. Weathers said the Englishman would even move up his mandatory first defense against Tony Tucker, now scheduled April 24 in London, to get Foreman out of the game quicker. Win or lose, Weathers said, the next fight would be Foreman's last.

Lewis also has offered to fight Foreman in the United States -- though Weathers said it was possible a third country, such as Japan or China, might make an offer neither side can refuse.

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