George Foreman became boxing’s oldest heavyweight champion at the age of 45. Now, 26 years later, Foreman has said he can envision the record being snatched by Mike Tyson, 54.
“If he gets back into shape the way he is now, then gets his timing back, and all the other things fall into place, he can have the opportunity to fight for the title,” said Hall of Foreman. Famer, at USA TODAY Sports on Sundays. “If he can be managed well, a champion, the right champion, will come to him. And if the right one comes, he can knock him out.
Foreman’s comments came a day after Tyson returned to the ring 15 years after his last fight. He looked formidable, albeit against Roy Jones Jr., 51.
Fit and powerful, Tyson fought Jones to a draw in an eight-round exhibition match, as scored by three former WBC champions.
“Tyson looked great,” Foreman said. “He really did. And Roy Jones had to use all of the old skills in the book to not get knocked out.
“I just couldn’t believe what I saw. And it was just an exhibition. Just think if (Tyson) has been in business for the past two years. He would be in line to be the world champion again at 54, 55. ”
To challenge Father Time in the ring was Foreman’s crowning achievement. In 1994, at the age of 45, he knocked out Michael Moorer, then 26, in the 10th round of their bout to win the WBA, IBF and Lineal Heavyweight Championships.
Foreman, 71, said Tyson’s path to another title shot would likely require at least three more fights and could take two years.
“You have to have a really good manager to tell you who to fight and who not to fight,” he said. “But if he finds someone who can make creative moves, he can be in the highlight quickly,”
Fighting in two-minute rounds at the Staples Center without spectators and against a 51-year-old is hardly called a “big moment.” But that didn’t dampen Foreman’s enthusiasm for Tyson.
“What impressed me the most was that he missed a lot of shots,” Foreman said. “He found himself out of his position. He picked it up and got back on track. Roy Jones got him confused the first or two rounds, and he fought.
“It impressed me more than anything he did. Keeping his mind in the game. He almost lost his temper a few times and he patted (Jones) on the shoulder and let him go.
Although Tyson failed to connect with most of his punches, he landed a vicious uppercut.
“My jaw is still sore,” Jones said. “He’s able to fight anyone because, frankly, people are going to have a hard time coming out of the first two rounds with him. That was the hardest part, passing the first two, three laps.
“So if he surprises you, you’re going to have problems. I felt everything. He’s still an exceptional puncher, and he can do whatever he wants.
Larry Holmes, the former heavyweight world champion, is less convinced.
“I wasn’t impressed,” Holmes told USA TODAY Sports. “He couldn’t get close to (Jones). And by the time he got closer, it was a wrestling match. This is what it was.
Teddy Atlas, the boxing trainer and fight commentator, said the idea of Tyson competing against elite heavyweights like Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder is delusional.
“It would be a joke,” he said. “It would be a one-turn debacle.”
Yes, Atlas is well aware of what Foreman did against Moorer in 1994.
“The speed passes, the timing passes, the reflexes disappear,” he says. “But as George Foreman proved, the power remains. Power is one of the last things to run away from you.
Like Foreman at 45, Tyson looked powerful at 54.
“But you can see there were opportunities to catch Tyson when he arrived,” Atlas said. “Jones couldn’t stand in that kind of pocket, if you will, and throw a straight right hand. Tyson, coming in, he starts to throw a left hook, and he starts to create an opening that can be filled. Jones couldn’t do that. He was physically and mentally incapable of doing this.
The same wouldn’t be true against elite competition, said Atlas, who noted that Tyson showed better technique and turned out to be more physical than Jones because, “I also saw a guy who was old, who had just been destroyed by hard blows and straight punches. before it’s ever near.