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George Foreman Speaks On The Top 5 Boxers Of All Time And HBO’s Championship Bout

The most interesting man is the world isn’t the cavalier chum in those Dos Equis beer commercials, it’s legendary pugilist George Foreman. His track record is as solid as his right hook. The rugged brawler won an Olympic gold medal in 1968, has been heavyweight champion twice and is still the oldest title-holder in history. Let’s not forget that he’s survived a brutal bout with Muhammad Ali in the Rumble in the Jungle for added measure. On the personal side, he’s named all five of his children “George” and has flipped 100 million portable George Foreman Grills, earning him over $200 million dollars. Now that’s a charmed life.

Since retiring in 1997, Foreman has taken up boxing commentary and gives incredible insight on the physical aspect and business angle of the sweet science. VIBE caught up with George Foreman, to discuss the sport and the upcoming featherweight championship fight (he's co-promoter of this event) with undefeated World Boxing Organization (WBO) featherweight champion Mikey Garcia vs. Juan Manuel Lopez this Saturday, June 15th on HBO at 10:45PM ET. Tune in and watch history be made in the squared circle, but first check out the grillin’ master's Q&A below. -Richard Boadu

Talk about this weekend's fight between Mikey Garcia and Juan Manuel Lopez.
George Foreman: It’s going to be great. I’m interested in Garcia. I want to see what he’s going to do. He’s the best left hooker that’s not from Philadelphia. He’s the champ right now so that means a lot to me. I’m just happy to be in a promo with a real title match.

This year is the 40th anniversary of you winning your first heavyweight title. How did you feel after winning that fight?
Foreman: It’s like it just happened yesterday. I had fought 37 matches since I won the gold medal. I wanted to be a champion but I didn’t want to get in the ring with Joe Frazier. I knocked him down the first time and thought to myself, “He’s going to kill me.” I knocked him down again and again. I was knocking him down out of fear, and before I knew it, they were holding my hand up and calling me the champion. My life hasn’t been the same since. As soon as you become champion, you can feel the legacy of Jack Dempsey, Joe Johnson, Muhammad Ali and all of the great fighters. All of it just falls right on you. It feels like you’ve been anointed.

What do you consider the highest and lowest moments of your career?
Foreman: The Olympic Gold medal in 1968 was definitely the highest moment of my career. It was a dream come true. I was a 19-year-old boy and it was just amazing to be standing on top of the podium and hearing the National Anthem in the background. I’d have to say losing the title to Ali in ’74 was the lowest moment in sports for me. It was the most devastating thing in my boxing career, and it still hurts to this day.

Who are your top five pound-for-pound fighters of all time?
Foreman: In no particular order: Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson, Floyd Mayweather (we need to wait ‘till his career is over to see where he ranks), Oscar De La Hoya, Sugar Ray Leonard (it never got any better than him) and Muhammad Ali. I’ve got six in there, but that’s okay.

In terms of popularity, boxing is nowhere near where it was during your prime. What's it going to take to get the sport back to the level that it once was?
The sport needs a personality, not a fighter. We’ve got plenty of great fighters in the sport, but no personalities. No one is standing for anything. The last personality we had was Mike Tyson. He stood for something. It wasn’t much, but he stood for something. We need another personality, not like Mike, but another Ali, Joe Louis or somebody like that. Once we get a new personality and sportswriters to write about him, the sport will be #1 again if that happens.

Take us through a day in your life now.
I get up early. I breed German shepherd dogs so I’m up early taking care of them. I also run the George Foreman Youth Center so that also keeps me busy. I’m a full-time minister so my Sundays are always busy. I just try to spend as much time with my wife, kids and 8 grand kids. Anytime I can sneak in a moment to fish and ride horses, I’m a happy camper.

For more from Richard Boadu, check out 6Magazine.com.

Photo Credit: Getty

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Inductee Bill Withers speaks onstage during the 30th Annual Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony at Public Hall on April 18, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio.
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Nile Rodgers, Lenny Kravitz And More React To Bill Withers' Death

Bill Withers, an acclaimed vocalist known for songs like "Lean On Me," "Lovely Day," and "Grandma's Hands," passed away from heart complications on Monday (March 30). He was 81.

With a legendary pen that wrote three Grammy Awards, an NAACP Image Award, and an ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Heritage Award into his trophy case, Withers’ melodies served as the soundtrack for many listeners across generational lines. The Songwriters Hall Of Fame inductee was later bestowed with the title of a soul legend by the masses given his striking lyrics.

Here, those who were touched by his music share their reactions on social media.

One day I will play this song again because it IS a lovely day. For now, Rest In Peace dear man. Your music cheered my heart and soothed my soul. https://t.co/wdqebBRFkW

— Billy Dee Williams (@realbdw) April 3, 2020

Aw man, Bill Withers was really the greatest. Grandma’s Hands, Ain’t No Sunshine, Lean on Me, Use Me Up, Just The Two Of Us and obviously Lovely Day are some of the best songs of all time. My heart really hurts for him, it reminds me of playing records with at my grandma’s house

— Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) April 3, 2020

 

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Rest well Bill Withers.

A post shared by Raekwon The Chef (@raekwon) on Apr 3, 2020 at 8:23am PDT

Bill Withers was part of the soundtrack to Saturday mornings when it was time to clean the house. I know my mom is crushed right now. 😔

So many positive childhood memories. #billwithers

— sheena. (@raneehs) April 3, 2020

The world lost a legend. Soul singer Bill Withers' song Grandma's Hands is one of my favorites and reminds me of my grandmother and so many other mother-figures in my life.

Let's all continue to live by his cherished lyrics during these times and lean on each other.

— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) April 3, 2020

will miss bill withers’ sweet baritone. growing up, my family spent many a sunday morning getting ready for church listening to his music. his music is as familiar to me as buster brown shoes and bacon frying in a casket iron skillet. gah, we lost a good one!

— jaredmichaelowe (@jaredmichaelowe) April 3, 2020

 

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2020 has been awful to us. #RIP Bill Withers. I’m going to be listening to his music all day. If you are unaware of just how important Bill Withers is to hiphop, google “Who sampled Bill Withers.” If you are unaware of how important Bill Withers is to music and to our culture, watch the Still Bill documentary. Keep your loved ones in your heart, always.

A post shared by Talib Kweli (@talibkweli) on Apr 3, 2020 at 7:34am PDT

#LeanOnMe was the first song i sang in school choir. it introduced me to the heartbeat of my own grandparents. rest dear #billwithers and thank you for the gift of so much peace. https://t.co/YSQujz5hDj

— mobrowne (@mobrowne) April 3, 2020

My heart is demolished . 💔💔💔 I loved Bill Withers like a father. I promised Bill last time we spoke I would always look out for his son Todd-who has autism.🙏🏽

My deepest heartfelt condolences to his beautiful wife Marcia, Kori and of course Todd.

I HATE 2020. I swear 😞 pic.twitter.com/VKdH1Ou011

— Holly Robinson Peete (@hollyrpeete) April 3, 2020

Ellis Marsalis and now Bill Withers, all these libraries burning 💔

— Diana Armstrong (@SimbaFiasco_) April 3, 2020

REST IN LOVE Bill Withers 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/V4oPJDbPyZ

— Keary Colbert (@kearycolbert) April 3, 2020

Ain’t No Sunshine is forever one of my favorite songs. It has such a special place in me and my brother’s heart. Sleep in power, Bill Withers.

— dique a phantom thief (@voodewchild) April 3, 2020

RIP to this National Treasure .. Bill Withers 🙏🏾😪 pic.twitter.com/NoMj2fiM3T

— Kaelynn KK Harris (@kaelynnharris) April 3, 2020

Heaven gained another angel 😇 RIH Bill Withers 1938-2020 pic.twitter.com/qY6mqK4Rai

— Effortless Beauty ♊ (@ladybear83) April 3, 2020

Oh no my friend Bill Withers has died. One of the best songwriters and lovely humans ever. Fuck U 2020 U suck

— Diane Warren (@Diane_Warren) April 3, 2020

bill withers has one of those voices that moves me. i always felt like he was speaking from a place I could identify with my soul. we lost a legend today.

— bad n bruja (@geminisunvenus) April 3, 2020

#RIPBillWithers Class, class and more class. https://t.co/nmdufDEpFP

— Nile Rodgers (@nilerodgers) April 3, 2020

Ask any songwriter in the world and they will tell you Bill Withers was a genius whose life's work was a gift. Rest in peace. You are beloved.pic.twitter.com/3rbXxVs7jt

— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) April 3, 2020

“He’s the last African-American Everyman,” musician and band leader Questlove told Rolling Stone in 2015. “Bill Withers is the closest thing black people have to a Bruce Springsteen.”

— Daryle Lamont Jenkins (@DLamontJenkins) April 3, 2020

Bill Withers. RIP. Thanks for all the magic.

— Alchemist Type Beat (@Alchemist) April 3, 2020

R.I.P. Bill Withers 🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿 Super Legend

— juicy j (@therealjuicyj) April 3, 2020

Rest in power Bill Withers. Your voice, songs, and total expression gave us love, hope, and strength. My soul always has & always will be full of your music. Your humility displayed & depth of your power as you carried us all to a better place. You're still & always will be Bill. pic.twitter.com/mkpcSBfuZv

— Lenny Kravitz (@LennyKravitz) April 3, 2020

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