- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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LAS VEGAS -- Former two-time heavyweight champion and Hall of Famer George Foreman has been in his share of huge fights, including the famed “Rumble in the Jungle” against Muhammad Ali, two fights with Joe Frazier and the first HBO pay-per-view main event, in 1991, when it was called TVKO, against Evander Holyfield.
He knows the pressures that Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao are feeling as they get set to finally meet on Saturday night (Showtime PPV/HBO PPV, 9 ET) at the MGM Grand.
“This is probably for both Pacquiao and Mayweather the most lonely hours they’ve ever had in their life because you can train, you can have 1,000 people around you, but there’s no one truly to talk this over with,” Foreman said. “You’ve got to spend a lot of time within yourself. I remember that so much in those big fights how lonely it was because there is a conversation that can be discussed. You can only talk it over with you, inside you, and the bigger the fight is, the greater that conversation is, the greater you have to go inside of yourself. It’s lonely. It’s more than lonely.”
Foreman said that while both fighters are feeling pressure going into the biggest fight of their careers -- and one of the biggest fights in boxing history -- Mayweather is facing more pressure as the unbeaten favorite.
“I think Pacquiao has it a little better because he’s already picked as the underdog,” Foreman said. “There’s not a whole lot of pressure on him, but once you ever get into a boxing match of this nature and you’ve never lost before, you wake up in the morning, your heart is beating; you go to bed with a fast beat. You’re nervous. There’s so much pressure on Mayweather. More pressure probably than any athlete around right now because he’s undefeated.”
Foreman is not sure if Mayweather could ever recover from a loss, since so much of his persona is built on his undefeated (47-0) record.
“I was in that position when I lost to Muhammad Ali. It wasn’t like I lost [only] the title. You lose your perspective of who you are as a human being,” said Foreman, who is picking Pacquiao to win by close decision. “This could really knock him out. That’s why I don’t think there can easily be a rematch if Mayweather loses, because you have to go out into the mountains somewhere, the hills somewhere, to try to find himself all over again. This could devastate him as a boxer, not as a man, but as a boxer, this could devastate him, a loss.”
Former two-time heavyweight champion George Foreman knows the pressure Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao are feeling ahead of Saturday's fight.