‘Big George’ is a two-time world heavyweight champion and an Olympic gold medalist. Meanwhile, ‘Iron Mike’ reigned as the undisputed world heavyweight titleholder from 1987 to 1990.
During the heyday of their respective careers, they were among the most feared heavyweights. Foreman (76-5, 68 KOs) fought professionally from 1969 to 1998, while Tyson (50-6-2 NC, 44 KOs) was active from 1985 to 2005. Curiously, the two never met each other inside the squared circle despite having overlapping active years.
In an interview with ESPN in 2019, Foreman bared the reason why he never crossed paths with Tyson during their careers.
“I call him Mike ‘Nightmare’ Tyson, that guy was a nightmare in the ring. I mean really. If he missed you with his left, then missed you with the right, he’d bite you. I didn’t want to have anything to do with that. I didn’t want him.”
Although he admitted that he didn’t want to step into the ring with Tyson during their primes, Foreman also claimed that he knew that Tyson was afraid of him.
“I could really punch, and of course, I was an expert at punching downward. My manager would hold a bag and he was down there, so I learned to really develop power from punches for guys who were down low. He [Tyson] was smart enough to understand that. As they got taller, my manager was not taller, so there was a deficiency there. But Tyson was very smart. Cus D’Amato and Tyson were a smart team, period.”
George Foreman thinks Mike Tyson is an inspiration
Despite being heavyweight rivals who never fought each other, George Foreman still has a deep respect for Mike Tyson.
Not only does Tyson have superb boxing, Foreman thinks his fellow former heavyweight champion is somebody that everyone can draw inspiration from. He said in the same interview:
“I love him because he’s strictly positive. He’s got nothing to say negative about anything. He’s having fun with life, and that’s what it’s really about anyway. Have some fun, get out. Mike Tyson is a great guy to look at. Look at his life. What a book, when he’s ready to write his own book.”