Heavyweight legend and Hall of Famer George Foreman was very impressed by the professional boxing debut of UFC superstar Conor McGregor.
Foreman appeared on Obviously Fight Talk and discussed McGregor’s boxing debut and whether or not he believes the MMA fighter should continue in the sport.
McGregor made his debut last month at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, against the returning Floyd Mayweather Jr.
McGregor started fast and potentially swept the first three rounds, but fatigued down the stretch and was eventually stopped in the tenth round of the contest.
Foreman was impressed by McGregor’s ability to box, his fighting heart, and his ability to last ten round in his first boxing match.
He says that the media should apologise for their coverage & says the fight could be fight of the year:
“Well, for the first time, I think all of the media should apologize for all the negative things that was said about the fight. It’s going to be hard to top it. It could have been the fight of the year.”
On his surprise at McGregor’s skills:
“Not only did he surprise Floyd Mayweather, he surprised me and a whole host of experts. Because McGregor hit Mayweather often. His [Mayweather’s] defence didn’t even work against Conor. He had to come out and fight like an old boxing slugger – like George Foreman or something,” he laughed.
Explains why he was impressed with McGregor going 10 rounds – says even he couldn’t go the distance sometimes, referencing ‘Rumble in the Jungle’:
“This was my first exposure to him as a boxer. We’d seen some occasions where he’d gone in as an MMA fighter, which was pretty impressive, but I had no idea that he’d be able to carry a boxing match. The hardest thing in the world is to go 12 rounds in a boxing match. Didn’t you remember about George Foreman going for the rope-a-dope? I couldn’t even go for 7 rounds, 8 rounds, once. This guy went on even further. He could have done 12 rounds, but he just got tired.”
Speaks on McGregor’s power, his comments after he was asked if he was impressed with his power. Says the referee saved Mayweather in the 8th:
“Yes, I was, as a matter of fact the referee protected Mayweather in one of the last rounds. Conor hurt him. He had him hurt, and was going for the finish, and the referee stepped in for no reason at all and stopped it. It was a vicious body punch. Conor had him with a good body shot and the referee saved him, but that’s typical of a boxing match.”
On if he’s interested in watching him box again – says that he now believes an MMA fighter can compete in boxing if groomed properly:
“What I was interested in seeing, I saw. That a fighter from MMA, if he’s groomed properly, can cross over to championship boxing. He did it. He didn’t better. I went home and bought the fight in two locations, and it was the first time that I bought fights that I was content satisfied with. It was a good fight. Very good. It was worth my money.”
Comments on if boxing fans will now follow McGregor in his MMA career:
“Well, McGregor, he’s a celebrity now. He’s a top draw. He’s everything you want from an athlete. Wherever he goes now, the fans are going to follow him. They tuned in for Conor McGregor. Nobody tuned in for Mayweather. They turned in to see if he could do it, and he showed us something. I’m shocked. To go that many rounds with a world class boxer in boxing. His hands were tired because he couldn’t use any of his tactics from MMA, yet he still did a good job.”
His thoughts on GGG vs. Canelo – likes the fight, but says May-Mac is tough to follow:
“Oh, yeah, that’s another good fight. But, I’m telling you, it’s going to be a tough call to try come behind Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather. That’s a tough one to follow. It’s a tough show.”
Comments on whether boxing promoters will now be chasing McGregor to get him back into boxing:
“If you want some money, you gotta find Conor McGregor,” he laughed. “That’s for sure. If you’re satisfied with your pay, stay where you are, but if you really want a raise you better find Conor McGregor.”
On his advice for McGregor, and other fighters, for life outside of the sport:
“He’s in a class by himself. I’m a boxer. I can speak for Mayweather because I’ve been where he’s been and back. McGregor, he’s been where Floyd Mayweather, George Foreman, and everyone else has gone and come back. Now, this guy’s in a class for himself. He can advise young fighters, young MMA fighters, young boxers. He can advise them now. He’s an expert.”