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"It was the toughest fight I ever had, and it was my last fight. Foreman hit very hard. When you get hit by George, you feel like you've been pumped with Novocain. The first time he hit me in the face, it went numb; I had no feeling in my cheeks or lips. It was like going to the dentist. When it was over, I told my brother, 'Foreman's going to be the heavyweight champion of the world.' Foreman's kept himself in good condition. He has a very strong heart, and I believe he will take Holyfield out in the fourth round."
Waldhelm, 54, who was Foreman's first professional opponent, has been a bouncer for the last 23 years and now works at Christopher's Supper & Nightclub in Brooklyn.
"Foreman a heavy puncher? I make the Joe Frazier analogy. You fight a guy like Joe, it would be like a Pontiac hitting you at a hundred miles an hour. With a fighter like Foreman, it was like a Cadillac hitting you at 50 miles an hour. There is a different impact. George is more heavy-handed, not fast. George has done a marvelous job in terms of p.r. When he was a young guy, he wasn't likable; he was surly, almost arrogant. Now, he seems like a different person. He's always smiling. People identify with him, all that stuff about burgers and pork chops. But I think Holyfield will outbox him. He'll make George miss him. After about four or five rounds, Foreman will be like a sitting duck."
When not playing cards at the Lansdown Gym in Toronto, Chuvalo (center), 53, produces boxing shows for TV syndication. He has also had parts in 15 movies. "I had my arm ripped off in The Fly," he says. "I'm always being beat up. I never get the girl."
"It was a close fight. He had me down in the first round. He broke three of my ribs, but I still went the distance. He's a heavy hitter, but not the heaviest. George Chuvalo hit the hardest. I was paid $1,900 for the fight, but Foreman told me I gave him a million dollars' worth of experience."
Forte, 50, is attempting a comeback, guided by his first manager, Mack Goodman. "I never really retired," he says. "One of the reasons for my return is because I want to get even with Foreman." Forte was Ali's traveling sparring partner for several years and has been a bellman at the Fontainebleau Hilton Resort and Spa in Miami Beach since 1968. He was the National Bellman of the Year in '90. Says Forte, "I have checked some famous people in: Elvis Presley, some presidents, Jim Brown, Aretha Franklin. Sugar Ray Leonard came over to me and said, 'You don't look like no fighter.' I said, 'You don't either.' We both had the same trainer, Angelo Dundee, and his fighters don't get beat up."