Legendary heavyweight champion George Foreman advised boxer Bernard Hopkins to retire from the sport, days after the light-heavyweight champion beat Beibut Shumenov to unify the IBF, WBA and IBA titles.
Hopkins is the oldest world champion in boxing, winning the WBC light heavyweight belt in 2011 at the age of 46, beating Foreman’s old record. Foreman was 45 when he won the world heavyweight title.
Two years later, Hopkins broke his own record when he beat Tavoris Cloud to win the IBF light-heavyweight belt.
Foreman, who retired at age 48, told TMZ that it was time for Hopkins to hang up his gloves.
“Bernard, you looked great! Fantastic! Isn’t that the way you wanna go out? You looked unbeatable. Now leave,” said Foreman.
“I think Muhammad Ali would say the same thing. Get out and smell the roses,” he added.
Foreman said he briefly considered making a comeback at age 56, but was advised by his wife not to do so.
“Around my 56th birthday, I was gonna come back. I saw a path to the heavyweight championship. My wife said, ‘You’re not gonna do it.’ We all need someone like that,” he said. “It was the best thing that could have happened to me.”
“Leave while you can,” he advised Hopkins. “When the curtain closes, you don’t want to be laying on your back in the middle of the ring.”
Hopkins beat Shumenov by split decision to unify the light heavyweight belts, and later showed no signs of wanting to retire, even saying that he wants to fight unbeaten American Floyd Mayweather Jr.
But Foreman stressed that “there’s life after boxing,” as the Hall-of-Famer has already shown. Foreman has made millions off the famous George Foreman Grill, and even joked that Hopkins can do the same.
“If he makes a Bernard Hopkins Grill, I’ll have all my kids buy one,” he said. “I have 10 kids, 10 grandkids, and two great-grandchildren. He can make a lot of money just off us.”