Sunday, April 18, 2021

George Foreman weighs in on secret behind Tom Brady’s post-40 success

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Even at 43, Tom Brady bobs and weaves and sticks a jab in Father Time’s face and here he is, back in the Super Bowl, fighting again for the heavyweight championship of his sport.

And so Big George Foreman, the standard bearer for everyone willing to stand up defiantly to the notion that 40 is a death sentence, watches Brady and can’t help but recall how and why he was able to knock out 26-year-old Michael Moorer in the 10th round to win the heavyweight title for the second time at age 45.

Foreman tells The Post: “There’s no reason why he shouldn’t win this thing. No reason why.”

When you ask Foreman how he did what he did during a remarkable comeback that began at age 38 and was panned by naysayers, you begin to understand why he likes Brady by KO even though he won’t be one-on-one in any ring with Patrick Mahomes.

“Your thinking ability comes alive,” Foreman said from Houston.

I wanted it [laugh]. Then you go home at night crying.” George Foreman and Tom BradyGetty Images (2)

Brady is the outlier, because quarterbacks aren’t supposed to play at the level Brady is operating at now.

“People invest a lot of money in racehorses — lots of money into ’em,” Foreman said. “And then they get to a certain age, and they decide, ‘Well, let’s get a young horse.’ Never trying to see if they could get a few more years out of ’em.”

With the Lombardi Trophy waiting at the finish line, Foreman expects Brady to run this race like Secretariat.

“At that age, not only you got your physical stuff, but you can think like no one else on the field,” Foreman said. “You can outthink defenses, offenses, you can outthink everybody, even outthink the coach!

“Like me, I had my trainers, I was talking to them, telling them things.

“I would outthink him,” Foreman said. “When I was 23 fighting for the championship of the world, all I did was get that fist and try to knock those guys out. All I had was fists, strength. The second time around all I had was thought. I was thinking, thinking, thinking, taking my time, staying out of range, moving into range, recovering from a punch, taking time, too much thought went into that older George.”

Too much thought for the Young Foreman.

“To get into the ring and fight and think is a treasure,” Foreman said. “Because I was in that ring with nothing but physical strength, and not one minute to think.”

Too much thought even for the Muhammad Ali he lost the title to in Zaire in 1974.

“I had the strength. I had the power. I had the youth,” Foreman said. “I just didn’t have the thinking power. Put that thinking power together with the same punch and strength — I even gained strength in my latter years, I gained power. And I had the thinking power. It wouldn’t have been a contest.”

Asked how the Older Foreman would have dealt with the Ali Rope-A-Dope, Foreman said:

“There wouldn’t have been a Rope-A-Dope.

I kept cornering him, he couldn’t get away, trying to knock him out real quick. But you notice I never cornered Michael Moorer. I kept him in the middle of the ring and kept it a boxing match.

“You know I never watched one film of Muhammad Ali. I never studied one thing about him. And if someone would have asked me, ‘George why don’t you look at these films?’, I would have thought they were trying to make me look down on myself. When I fought for the title at 45, I studied film.”

His Ali-Older Foreman prediction would have been Older Foreman by decision.

“Yeah, ’cause you don’t knock Muhammad out,” Foreman said.

The Older Foreman didn’t have a diet regimen.

“I was gonna eat what I wanted when I wanted [laugh],” he said.

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Brady, of course, isn’t likely to go anywhere near a cheeseburger.

“He probably sneaks around and has his little cheeseburgers and stuff to eat,” Foreman said. “Don’t fool yourself — you can’t last this long without a cheeseburger [laugh].”

But the Older Foreman’s workouts were more intense.

“I’d run like three miles when I was heavyweight champ of the world the first time, the second time around I’d start off on the road, my wife would drop me out sometimes 17 miles from home, and I had to make it back … 10 miles minimum, because I knew I needed that endurance,” Foreman said.

Everything was about endurance.

“The workouts were about endurance and stamina, that stuff lives inside the brain. When you’re out there on that road, sometimes three hours out there working out, all of a sudden your brain comes alive and it has that stamina, the endurance to take it through to the 10th, 11th and 12th round.”

Foreman was a defensive tackle in his early years and admired running backs Jim Brown, Floyd Little and O.J. Simpson, and Broadway Joe Namath. But he has always had a soft spot in his heart for the young at heart. He mentions former Raiders QB-PK George Blanda, who retired one month before his 49th birthday.

“I’m always for the second-chance guy, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar when he was scuffling in his last year,” Foreman said. “Michael Jordan went down to Washington. I never was a fan of his at all, I never did like Michael Jordan until he teamed up with Washington and made the comeback. I would stop whatever I was doing and try to find every game. I was pulling for him like I’d never pulled for him before.”

On Super Sunday, Foreman will be watching from home pulling for Tom Brady to bring the Bucs home.

“I’ll be so scared,” Foreman said.

“I know deep down that my accomplishment played a great part in that. ’Cause it’s in the mind of everyone. Even in management — ‘Ohhhh, the 40s not a death sentence anymore. I know now.’ What I accomplished wasn’t for me, it was for the whole world of sports. Changed everything.”

Tom Brady by KO.

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