"Tyson has fought and knocked a lot of guys out," Foreman says, "but they were prey. He's never seen anything like me. I'm not the best of fighters, by any means. I'm just the only one of my kind that's around—guys who throw punches. Sonny Liston. Cleveland Williams. Hooks that break your jaw. Joe Frazier. Predators."
Foreman has indeed been a thumping presence on this comeback, yet every critic eventually comes around to this: He has yet to stop anybody with a 10 count. All stoppages have been by referees. The worst was his last one. when Bert Cooper sat on his stool after two rounds and refused to come out. He said Foreman's punches were "buzzing" his brain.
Still, even these critics think that Foreman, though he can't win, will hang in there with Tyson. "In truth, I don't think Tyson could take Foreman out that quickly," says Arum. "Foreman will give you rounds, even if he has absolutely no chance."
Kulis agrees. "I cannot picture Mike Tyson running across the ring and knocking him down in 73 seconds." This is a fight that evidently has a grudging appeal. "I'd be eager to promote it," Kulis says.
Foreman is eager to have it, and with it the millions he can use to sustain the youth center and open others. Whereas he was once driven by a rage he couldn't understand, he is now fueled by compassion. Is this going to work? There is nothing about him that would seem to suit him for the desperate work he will have to do on fight night, not anymore. And never mind his age or size. Here is a man who used to train attack dogs. but who is now shopping for a "floppy kind of dog" more suitable for his kids. "I don't want no dog that will bite somebody," Foreman says. Is this the personality required to face down Mike Tyson?
But maybe there are other kinds of desperation. After all, who knows what a man goes through, a man who can cry at the spoilage of youth, at the waste, at the thought of all those kids with scars on their cheeks, kids who never heard Jim Brown, Mr. America, Doc Broadus, maybe George Foreman. Who knows what a man goes through, a man who can't sleep nights?