"I had a lot of second thoughts about fighting Foreman. I had just come off a fight with Jerry Quarry. I knocked him down in the first round, but they said I hit him after the bell. They robbed me. I wasn't in any frame of mind to be fighting Foreman. Plus, my son, Michael, was born that day, and I wasn't able to be there. George is a pretty heavy puncher. He hit me on the top of the head, and I went numb. I thought I could have continued, but the referee stopped it. As far as Holyfield, Foreman doesn't need the money, so what's he doing fighting at his age? I don't think he has any chance of beating Holyfield."
Brassell, 48, retired from the ring after 23 fights and settled in his hometown of Lima, Ohio, where he worked for the state welfare service. "That was depressing, investigating welfare fraud," he says. Today, Brassell manages a Clyde Evans supermarket in Lima.
ROY (COOKIE) WALLACE
KO'D IN ROUND 2
SEPTEMBER 23, 1969; HOUSTON
"George is a devastating puncher. He threw the hardest punch I was ever hit with. He will be the world heavyweight champion again. People don't understand that age is just a number; George is not old, he's just aging. People don't want young whiskey, they want whiskey that has aged."
Wallace, whose age is unknown, says he won this trophy for being heavyweight champion of Texas in 1972. He has known Foreman since '64, when both of them used to work out at the Red Shield Boys Club in Houston. In '74, while working as a cargo supervisor for Braniff Airlines, Wallace suffered a hip injury, and today he lives with friends in Dallas and gets by on welfare and disability checks. "Some days I can't get out of bed," he says. "I'm told I have a disease in my lower pelvic bone. I'm very depressed." He is devoted to Foreman, who, he says, bought him a red Corvette in '76. "I love this guy," Wallace says. "I would carry George's bag if he needed a handler."
KO'D IN ROUND 1
DECEMBER 6, 1969; LAS VEGAS
"The fight should not have taken place. I was a very skinny heavyweight, six-six and 183 pounds. When I looked at George at the weigh-in, I knew I wasn't ready for him. I was hit by a right hand and an uppercut that split the inside of my mouth. I had 33 stitches. I give him a 70 percent chance of beating Holyfield, and I'm sure he could beat Tyson. Age has no bearing on anything you do in life. George is doing things the right way. He's learning to pace himself. He is learning how to go into the later rounds."
Hazleton, 43, was taking steroids to build himself up as far back as the late 1960s. "I was taking maybe 100 milligrams a week about the time I fought George," he says. "I shot up sometimes just before I would fight. In the '80s I was up to 3,000 milligrams." In the early '80s, Hazleton began to suffer from blood clots in his left leg, which were attributed to his use of steroids. The leg was amputated in 1986, but he continued to use steroids. His right leg was removed the following year. Today, Hazleton, who lives in Detroit, spends much of his time lecturing on the evils of bodybuilding drugs. "I try to stay healthy and strong," he says. "I still want to keep my looks. I would like to get into acting."
JAMES (BABA) WOODY
KO'D IN ROUND 3
APRIL 17, 1970; YORK CITY
"George came out like a house on fire. He is the hardest puncher in the world, but I felt the referee stopped the fight too soon. I was the kind of fighter who got better as time went on. When I fought him, I don't think George was confident about his boxing ability. He would try to conquer with brute strength. George is a powerful person, but unless he can box, I don't think he can beat Holyfield."