After you found God, you started preaching on street corners, and it actually led to you becoming close with your father, whom you didn't have a good relationship with.  Was that a coincidence?

 

Isn't that the strangest thing in the world?  When I [started going to church], there were so many preachers there. They'd let me tell [my] testimony, but I didn't get a chance to preach much. One kid said to me, "George, I know how you can preach. Let's go on the street corners."  I [began] traveling from one street corner to another, three-fourths through Louisiana, Tyler, Texas, all around Houston. So I picked a certain corner, just by coincidence. And I preached on a corner, it wasn't too far from where my father, J.D. Foreman lived, who had always been an alcoholic.  I didn't know that he was hiding in the way, listening to everything I said, and watching me carry on. 

 

The next week he was in church. And he said to my mother, "You know, something's happened to that boy. I got to find out what it is." He never took another drink. We [would go] to church as brothers--he called me the preacher, and he was Brother Foreman—until the day he died. 

 

How difficult was it to come back to the ring after being a preacher? 

 

The punching bag used to be the fellow I was going to fight.  I could just see that bag—see [my opponent] in the bag— and tear the bag up. But, after the experience [in 1977], I went to a punching bag, and it was just rags and leather. I just couldn't concentrate like that anymore. So, I left boxing for 10 years. 

 

I started a youth center in Houston. The kids would come in and want to learn to box, they wanted to tear up the world, beat up the world. And I'd try to show them they didn't need anger.  They didn't need all that killing instinct they'd read about. You can be a human being and pursue boxing as a sport. What I learned from them is never to punch in anger. And, in the end, it rubbed off on me. I was able to go back into boxing because I'd learned from the children.You don't have to try to hurt people and be angry to be an athlete. 

 

But isn't it hard to throw a punch without being nervous that you might inflict pain on someone else?

 

No.  It would be hard to throw a punch to someone who wasn't a boxer, who wasn't in the ring, and who didn't have on a pair of boxing gloves and who hadn't been training.