BOXING ICON FOSTER NOT QUITE RODNEY DANGERFIELD
San Francisco, CA– The recent passing of former light heavyweight champion Bob Foster got it’s share of media attention. Few penning a column today had the chance to spend time with “The Sheriff” of Albuquerque, New Mexico, who was probably the greatest light heavyweight champion in history. The few who did get to know the historically shortchanged Foster include myself.
THERE STOOD THE “GREAT” BOB FOSTER
When I first met Bob Foster, it was in Albuquerque, NM in the 80s, he was still refereeing an occasional fight and held a position as an Albuquerque Deputy Sheriff. Being me, I chased Foster around until I saw a spot where I can get his undivided attention. Once the champion sat down, he fired up a cigarette. “OK, you got me. What do you want to know?” If you approached Bob and he felt “good vibes.” Foster was accessible. So from that point forward, he would call me, “Pablo.”
NEW MEXICO BOXING/COMBAT SPORTS HAS HAD GOOD RUNS!
There were some good times in Albuquerque in the 90s and early part of this century as Frankie Archuleta did well, while Danny Romero and more notably Johnny Tapia soared to great heights wearing boxing gloves, while another Albuquerque boxing champion, Holly Holm just plastered MMA’s biggest star Ronda Rousey in less than six minutes of fighting a fortnight ago. With all this, still in the background of the New Mexico boxing scene was this iconic champion unbeaten in 15 title fights and retiring as champion after a Draw over 15 rounds with Jorge Victor Ahumeda (40-5) in 1974. Foster won the belt when he defanged the great Dick Tiger of Nigeria in a 1968 upset.
COULD NOT MATCH THE HEAVYWEIGHT MUSCLE MASS
“The big guys, both Ali, (Joe) Frazier, were just too big across the back for me. I was 6’3, taller than them. Nobody lifted weights back then. (Michael) Spinks did it. I would have knocked out Michael Spinks. He couldn’t pull that bull s*it on me. I’da walked him down and punished him. I know he was the only light heavy to win a heavyweight championship, but again, I’da ran his ass out of the ring. The fights I lost in and around my prime were to Ali and Frazier and they were both people say were in their prime.”
FOSTER “STRUGGLED” TO WEIGH 175
“I had problems with the weight….I used to have to drink a beer every night in training to keep near weight or I’da dropped more weight. Some of those fights when I was ’75. I was really 70, 71, 72. Back to Spinks, he showed what he was made of with (Mike) Tyson. He quit, didn’t even even get hit. I never laid down. I think they will look at us years from now and realize Spinks couldn’t beat me ever. Against Ali, I had him hurt and cut. I just was too damn’ skinny to fight heavyweight.”
THE JOHNNY TAPIA RUN IN ALBUQUERQUE Read more