By Chris Robinson
Former heavyweight champion and long-time HBO color analyst George Foreman is right at home with this week’s WBC Convention at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Foreman soaked up the spotlight on Monday morning during the opening ceremony for this week’s festivities and was a targeted interview for members of the media at hand.
Still involved in boxing today because of his son of the same name, a 14-0 heavyweight out of Humble, Texas, Foreman insists the sport is as good as ever and keeps tabs with the latest progression of today’s biggest stars.
More shocking than anything, says Foreman, has been the improbable ascent of Manny Pacquiao up boxing’s weight ladder, as the Filipino has had great success over 140 pounds against a high-profile list of opponents dating back to his December 2008 upset over Oscar De La Hoya.
“That’s been the biggest surprise of all, Manny Pacquiao,” said Foreman. “He’s just come from the bottom and now he is just the man of the sport. He’s probably the standard bearer for boxing right now.”
Foreman also showed fondness for another talented lefty, Argentina’s Sergio Martinez, but feels that he hasn’t gotten the desired level of exposure needed to be mentioned in the same breath of Manny.
“He’s good too but he’s going to have to do some more politicking before his name can be rolled in there with Pacquiao. But he’s a good champion and things are going to happen for him too,” said Foreman.
As far as the possibility of Pacquiao ever facing off with Floyd Mayweather Jr., Foreman isn’t counting on it.
“I doubt it,” he stated. “Both fighters are making all the money they want without fighting one another. They’re not egotistical enough to want to fight each other. It may never happen.”
Foreman was a terror in the heavyweight division in the 70's and proved the doubters wrong by scoring a dramatic victory over Michael Moorer in November of 1994 to again become champion. But never in any of his eighty-one fights did Foreman ever fantasize about the kind of money being discussed in a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight, with some numbers indicating that well over $50 million could be on the table for each man.
“Unheard of,” said Foreman. “Now, all of a sudden the purses are unlimited. There’s no amount that you can say and say that it can’t happen in boxing. One-hundred million dollars, it can happen in a boxing match now.”
[Reader's note: For more images from the WBC Convention in Las Vegas, including pics of Tyson, Alvarez, Duran, De La Hoya, Hagler, Cotto and others please visit Inside the 49th Annual WBC Convention ]