Foreman vs. Norman: What would happen?

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 23, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Checking out the Lennox Lewis-Vitali Klitschko fight last Saturday night on HBO (or, should I say, the biggest indignity in boxing history since &uot;Marvelous&uot; Marvin Hagler whaled Sugar Ray Leonard back in 1987 and then lost on a fallacious split decision – Klitschko would have only needed one more round to put a way-out-of-shape Lewis on the canvas), I heard George Foreman, my all-time favorite boxer, elaborating on his umpteenth potential comeback.

&uot;I don’t think I want to fight Lennox Lewis or Mike Tyson,&uot; Foreman, who turns 55 in January,

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told co-commentator Larry Merchant. &uot;I want to fight some 24-year-old guy who’s inexperienced in the ring.&uot;

Well, by George, George, I think we’ve found you a new opponent: ME!

That’s right, Mr. Foreman (I was raised to respect my much-elders). No, I’ve never boxed (though I dabbled in professional wrestling for a while before the tag team of concussion/appendicitis took me out). Yes, I once got the tar beaten out of me by female boxing champion Heather Stevens (all 5’4&uot;, 125 pounds of her), when I interviewed her for the Virginia Beach Sun in 1999. But I’m 24 (meaning that I was born 12 years after Foreman’s first fight), in pretty good shape, and could probably beat Peter McNeeley (but then… who couldn’t?).

Think about it, Suffolk. What revenue we could generate! A boxing legend who whomped such ring legends as Joe Frazier, Gerry Cooney and Ken Norton against a local hero (at least, in my own mind!) who stepped into the ring with Larry Holmes and Butterbean last summer (forget the fact that it was for interviews!). The thing has &uot;Pay per view&uot; written in red ink all over it. Norman vs. Foreman: The Battle of the Ages – Young vs. Old!

We’ll strap up a ring in the middle of the Nansemond River High School gym: The Thriller on the River! Sure, it’s not quite on the level of such luminaries as Madison Square Garden or the Norfolk Scope, but its better than getting beaten up and down in front of hundreds of thousands (refresh my memory… who fell in the legendary &uot;Rumble in the Jungle&uot; battle before half the continent of Africa?).

Let’s be serious here. How much training does one musclebound loon need to step into a ring and go punch-for-punch with another guy who’s desperate to get Parkinson’s syndrome? It’s the simple, innocuous art of beating someone’s brains into grape jelly. Nothing you can’t learn at a bar full of pretty girls, eager hormone-drive farmboys and, of course, alcohol (I went to Old Dominion University, buddy! Get through the bars around THAT campus, and you’d be BEGGING to fight Muhammed Ali!).

Come on, George. Let’s strap on the gloves. Just promise that I can interview you from the Obici Hospital intensive care unit afterward.