Nearly 10 years
after they fought in Za�re, George Foreman and Muhammad Ali met again. Foreman
carried 278 pounds and wore black shoes with a hole in the right sole. His hair
was shorn nearly to the skull, emphasizing the gladness in his eyes. His tie
was loosened and his top shirt button undone to allow for the freedom and
frequence of his laugh.
He walked past
the gilded furniture in All's Los Angeles mansion, the antique chairs with
ropes between the armrests to prevent anyone from sitting in them. He continued
past great vases, flowing draperies, Renaissance paintings and Oriental rugs, a
gleaming Steinway and two children's games—Chutes & Ladders and Rrib-bit.
He chatted with the caged cockatoo and parrot while waiting for his host.
Foreman had flown from Houston, where he is a preacher in a small church, to
Los Angeles, where he was to receive an award, and something had impelled him
to see this man.
At last Ali
appeared, taking small, slow steps like sips from a drink he no longer wanted.
He wore slacks and a sport shirt and carried his shoes. His eyes seemed glazed,
almost as if he were in a trance, but they flickered when he saw Foreman, and
the two men embraced.
himself slowly onto a sofa and said, "I'm getting old."
forward, struggling to follow Ali's slurred rasp. "You're supposed to enjoy
that," he said with a grin. "Where's your son?"
"You need to
take him everywhere you go," Foreman suggested softly.
Ali reached for a
satchel of thick religious books and he inadvertently knocked over a lampshade
with a shoulder. "Let me show you my stuff," he said. He opened a Bible
to a verse in Exodus warning man not to honor false images—and the two men
began to circle and stalk each other once more.
wrong," Ali said, handing Foreman a picture of a white Jesus Christ.
"Why are all the saints and the angels and Jesus Christ always white? Won't
it blow all their minds to get up there and find out He's got kinky