George Foreman provides unique insight on Muhammad Ali on 'The Fight Game'

Combat columnist
Boxing
Former heavyweight champions Larry Holmes (L), Muhammad Ali, and George Foreman (R) pose last year at a tribute to Ali at The Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Stephen Cohen/Getty Images)

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Former heavyweight champions Larry Holmes (L), Muhammad Ali, and George Foreman (R) pose last year at a tribute to Ali at The Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Stephen Cohen/Getty Images)

Muhammad Ali knocked out George Foreman in the eighth round of their 1974 heavyweight title fight in Kinshasa, Zaire, in a fight that became known as "The Rumble in the Jungle." The men became close friends in the years after their bout, and Foreman discusses it in the most recent episode of "The Fight Game with Jim Lampley."

The broadcast airs for the first time on Tuesday at 11 p.m. ET on HBO.

In quotes from Foreman provided by HBO to Yahoo Sports, Foreman recalls a 1978 telephone call with Ali in which the late champion urged him to fight Ken Norton. Ali died at 74 in Phoenix on June 3.

It was the last of the Seventies, I believe 1978, Muhammad Ali, I do not know how he got my number because he avoided me. He didn't want to give me a title rematch. He called and complimented me for about 20 minutes then he said 'George, would you do me a favor?' He knew I liked him. I said, ‘Certainly.’  He said, 'Please come back and beat Ken Norton and fight him for me. They are going to strip me of my title and I can't beat him. George, you can. He's afraid of you. I'll let you use my training camp and everything but please come back and beat him for me.'

That day forward we became the best of friends and we starting talking on the telephone.  He'd call me, I would try to run him down wherever he be.  We had these religious conversations.  His children became good friends with my children.  That is where the love affair began, right there at the end of the Seventies.

Foreman is among nine guests who will appear on the show with Lampley. Others include actor Jack Nicholson, a long-time Ali friend; rapper L.L. Cool J; sociologist Harry Edwards; 1968 Olympic medalist Tommie Smith; journalist Kelefa Sanneh of The New Yorker; long-time former HBO boxing analyst Larry Merchant, who covered Ali's career; and HBO boxing analysts Roy Jones Jr. and Max Kellerman.

 

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