Foreman III looks for Win II
Story & photo by Chris Cozzone
Battering down an unwon 0-5 fighter might not convince the boxing community that he’s got the goods of his legendary father, but George “Monk” Foreman III is on a mission to set himself apart from the handful of sons-of-legends prominent – and not so prominent – in the sport.
“This is all about learning on the job,” says Foreman, who made his pro debut last month with a first round kayo over an 0-1 fighter. “My amateur career was very short – I’ve had zero fights, though I’ve been around the sport all my life.
“But I want all of you to know, that there’s an American heavyweight prospect on the team.”
On Friday night, at New Mexico State University’s Pan American Center in Las Cruces, N.M., Foreman (1-0, 1 KO) will headline a card in a four-rounder against unwon George Burrage (0-5), of Meridian, Mississippi, who’s been stopped in three of his five losses.
“I don’t know much about this guy,” admits Foreman, who does not seem overly concerned. “But I do know his name is George, too – so put your money on George. You won’t lose.”
Foreman is used to the name George. It’s not only his father’s name, but the name of four brothers.
“We all have nicknames,” says George III, who is known around the house as “Monk”.
“Monk,” now 26, played around with boxing at 19, but chose academics over boxing, achieving his BBA at Rice University before going on to serving as business manager of his father’s business empire.
“It was about a year ago that he decided to box,” says “Big” George, manager and trainer for his son.
“I was shocked.”
Big George assumed George III was just staying in shape, at first.
“But his mother kept telling me, ‘He’s down there in the basement again.’ I didn’t like it.”
Finally, Big George gave in.
“I took it upon myself to get involved,” says Big George. “If that’s what he wanted to do. It’s no good if someone’s pushing you into it. You got to want it.”
The hunger is there, says Big George.
“He’s got it. We tried to fight him amateur but we couldn’t get any matches locally, and I didn’t want to go right into the Golden Gloves. So, we did the next best thing – we turned pro.”
The Foremans are not worried about a lack of amateur fights.
“This is on the job training,” says Big George. “Jack Dempsey, Jack Johnson – those guys learned on the job – and that’s what we’re gonna do.
“This is a great chance for him, and a big chance for me to groom a fighter from scratch. I figure it’s gonna take two or three years to produce a champion.
“It’s not about time, though, it’s about fights.
George III is thrilled about working under, and with, his father.
“There’s no one better out there,” he says. “No one more experienced. We’re a great team.”
. . . .
The “WarZone” card, promoted by Powerhouse Combat Sports, marks a return of professional boxing to Las Cruces. Despite the southern New Mexico city being a hotbed of talent – due to amateur champs Austin Trout, Siju Shabazz and Sammy DiPace – the city has not had a pro boxing card for a year-and-a-half.
Co-headlining the card, and running in the same vein of blood relations to famous fighters, the nephew of former featherweight legend Salvador Sanchez is scheduled to fight. Sharing the same name as his uncle, Sanchez (14-3-2, 6 KOs) will take on Mexico’s Benito Abraham (10-15-4, 6 KOs).
At the top of the heap of local talent, undefeated Austin “No Doubt” Trout (18-0, 13 KOs) will look to inch his way another half-a-notch or so toward top ten contention in the WBA by going eight with journeyman Marcos Primera (20-17-2, 13 KOs).
Powerhouse Abie “The Heat” Han (6-0, 5 KOs), of El Paso, fresh off a knockout win on the Escalante-Lock card last Friday, will get a break from the New Mexico Athletic Commission in regard to opposition and time between pro fights, when he takes on not-so-fresh Sergio Santana (0-1-1), also of El Paso, who has not fought in five years.
Han’s sister, Jennifer, a standout amateur champion who’s been trying to go pro for nearly two years now, will finally get her chance when she goes four with Melissa St. Ville (0-1-1).
Finally, in a heavyweight match-up, Aaron Lyons (9-5) will take on Charles Davis (17-17-1, 4 KOs).