Most people today know George Foreman as the fatherly and charming grill salesman that stars in TV Land’s new reality series Family Foreman, debuting tonight (July 16).
But the rough and tumble sport of boxing is still in the 59-year old former heavyweight champion’s blood, and Foreman didn’t pull any punches when discussing the state of the sport during the recent Television Critics Association Tour.
Foreman said boxing, which vaulted him to prominence first as a gold medal winner at the 1968 Olympics and then as a two-time world heavyweight champion over a remarkable 30-year pro career, lacks marketable superstars.
Indeed, with Oscar De La Hoya in the twilight of his career and with Floyd Mayweather’s sudden retirement from the sport arguably at the high point of his undefeated career, Foreman’s jab at the sport couldn’t have been more accurate.
“There are still great boxers around, but there is a personality aspect that’s absent, Foreman said. “We need a hero, someone to just wake us up. Boxing just does not have that right now.”
Foreman also took a swing at Mayweather’s recent accusations that HBO boxing announcers promote White and Hispanic fighters more than they do black fighters during the network’s live World Championship Boxing telecasts. Foreman, who served as HBO top color boxing commentator in the 1990s and early 2000s, says Mayweather should stop complaining and join HBO as a commentator and talk up the sport and boxers himself.
“I don’t like when boxers complain about everything … I became a multi-millionaire on HBO and every three years they gave me a lot of money," he said. "You can’t take a company like that and say bad things about them unless you know something, and I don’t know anything like that.”