George Foreman III will speak on April 28 at a fund-raiser supporting programming for Homeport children. The son of legendary fighter George Foreman recently answered questions in the run-up to the event at Hollywood Casino Columbus.
Homeport: Anybody who has ever followed boxing knows that your father, George Foreman, was an Olympic gold medalist and two-time world heavyweight champion. His fame later extended to the business world as pitchman for the “George Foreman Grill.” Is it easy or hard (or both) to be the son of a very famous person, especially in that you carry the same first and last name? What lessons or interesting story can you share in that regard?
George Foreman III:
With all great things comes great responsibility. The great thing about having a father like Big George is that he has worked hard to leave us (his children) a positive legacy, which makes it easy to make a good impression because all I have to do is uphold the pre-conceived notion that I am a nice person. Yet it is a great responsibility to genuinely be this person because if you are not sincere it will eventually show.
H: While you have boxed, you are also an author and entrepreneur. Your book, “The Fighting Spirit, The Art of Winning Your Fight,” states that, “Fighting is not a sport. It is a Spirit.” You also have a gym and business line known as “Everybody Fights.” How did you evolve into the person you have become? Was it a natural progression or was it a challenge?
Everybody Fights is simply the acknowledgement that everyday is a fight and that undaunted optimism is the key to winning. I am definitely a product of my experiences. Both my parents are undying optimists who would give the shirt off their back to a stranger six days a week and twice on Sunday. I've seen them both get knocked down and get back up stronger multiple times. When I left my business career for professional boxing I realized that the sport is the ultimate metaphor for understanding and winning the real fights in life outside the ring. It's become my life’s work to use what I have learned to help the world fight.
H: Homeport is an unusual real estate entity, a non-profit that is holistic in nature, trying to help individuals of low to moderate income have a stable life through reasonable rents and meaningful supportive services. One of our goals is to help children through after school and summer activities including a special program partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Columbus. Your appearance here is meant to help draw attention to the needs of our children and breaking the cycle of poverty. If you were to talk to the children, what would be your message?
#1 You can do anything you want to do in life if you are willing to fight for it. Everyone wants to be great, but not everyone wants to do what it takes to be great because being great takes fighting, fighting every moment of everyday against anything in the way of you and your dreams.
#2 No one is ever going to understand and believe in your dreams the way YOU do. When you have a dream, never believe anyone who tells you it's impossible, just nod and wink. But always listen to people who tell you HOW, to get it done. Whether you agree with them or not, just listen. And only take advice from experts who have proven to be successful at what they are advising you on.
#3 Your friends are the people who help you get things done. That's it. Everyone else is family or entertainment but those who help you accomplish your dreams and are there to help you when you are in need, these are your only friends.
#4 When you get an opportunity, to quote George Conrades, always: 'Show up, On Time, Dressed to Play (work), Everyday.'
H: While our program on April 28 is aimed at helping Homeport children, what message can you share with persons of any age on how to succeed, to attain that fighting ‘spirit’ you reference in your book? I presume this will be the topic when you speak here.
Learn to listen and communicate and spend as much time mastering this skill as possible, as it is often the difference between good and great relationships that is the foundation of all great accomplishments. There are classes and books about communication, take advantage of them. I would also tell them that the word "impossible" is not an absolute, it is just a description of probability, that their belief is what dictates what is truly "possible" or "impossible".
H: Have you ever been to Columbus? What do you know about our town? What do you hope to have accomplished by the time you get on a plane and head back to Boston.
Yes I have been to Columbus. I traveled there to listen to one of my greatest mentors, technology executive George Conrades, give a commencement address at Ohio Wesleyan University. To this date it is still the best I have ever heard. I must admit that I do not know much about the Columbus except that I have always liked the people I have met from there. I hope to leave Columbus having learned something from the people I speak to and head back to Boston inspired.
The fund-raising event supporting Homeport's after school and summer programming is $45 and begins at 5 p.m. on April 28 at Hollywood Casino Columbus. To learn more or purchase a ticket, click here.