Former World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Olympic gold medalist, minister, pitchman, husband and father are just a few of the many titles George Foreman has.
TheGrio spoke with the business icon and his son and assistant George IV “Bigwheel” about what inspires George Foreman and what’s next for the Foreman brand.
The elder Foreman will share his journey from the streets to grills to eco-friendly cleaning products in a CNBC Titans.
TheGrio: Did you ever dream this level of success as a child? Who inspired you as a child?
George Foreman: Not at all, you don’t think this level of success even existed. I dreamed big, wanted to be on the front page of a magazine. As a teen I thought about being a boxing champion.
As a child, always had something in me. I looked up and decided I want more, more more. My mother was such a hard worker and I wanted more things for her. Knew I needed lots of money and wanted her to enjoy things in life. It occurred to me as a young man I would need to be a great, well a successful athlete. Inspiration from watching my mom work so hard and wanted to pay her back.
Tell me what the transition from boxer to business mogul was like for you. At this point, do you see yourself more as a boxer — or a businessman?
I had two careers in boxing — first time I wanted notoriety, success. Took 10 years out to be an evangelist and I been a preacher for 10 years I literally ran out of money and realized what money was really for — for charitable organizations and helping kids, helping them go to college. Wished I knew how to be a businessman. I approached boxing second time around as a business. Did promotions, corporations, foundations and all of sudden didn’t see myself as a boxer, but a businessman. Thought how to make this a business during his last few years of my career. Even in the ring throwing a punch, I knew I had to do it in a certain way to be able to sell products.
What lessons learned as a boxer helped you as a businessman?
Just believe in your punch and don’t stop throwing punches. Even when you getting beat up bad, just don’t’ stop throwing your best punch. Could be the last second of the last round and you could win. In business if you just keep throwing a quality punch, you can win. Some people in business have never experienced rejection can’t take it and quit. Just keep throwing the punch, you can eventually win by knockout.
WATCH A PREVIEW OF GEORGE FOREMAN’S CNBC TITANS PROGRAM
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What is your proudest accomplishment?
Being a father in the last years have motivated more than anything. For someone to look in your eyes and say that’s my dad. I have seen so many children wait until their parents passed the l building before they came out, because of shame. But for almost 40 years now I’ve been blessed to have all my children proud to say ‘that’s my dad!’ That is my greatest accomplishment.”
: What is it like working closely with your father and family?
George IV Bigwheel: If there’s a line between father and son or boss and son, it’s been erased. Everything we do, it’s not only father and son, but mentor and apprentice. He’s such a great teacher. As he came up through boxing and business he had to do everything himself. In doing so, he teaches me what to do in situations.
What have you learned from working with your dad?
The insight gained from daily interaction is the most valuable attribute. You can never have too much to do. Some people try to avoid the full plate or multitasking. My dad says the president of the United States has a million things to do, so do a million and one things.
What are your father’s unique characteristics as a businessman versus a boxer?
He keeps the same characteristics in both. In his second career, he was bigger in size and older in age and had to learn how to sell people on his character and not just his athletic ability. From the second he woke up until he went to sleep, he was selling himself to people even with the cameras off.
Mr. Foreman, what legacy do you want to leave for your family and young people?
George Foreman: It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from. The buck stops at you. If you really believe you can do something, doesn’t matter what mother, father or sister says. You want to dream of owning General Motors you can do it. If you want to be heavy weight champion of the world, or own a grilling company go for it. It all starts and ends with you.
Where does the Foreman brand go from here?
George IV Bigwheel: He’s accomplished so much, the thing about George, he’s always looking at what’s next. We have a cleaning product. Everyday he comes up with something new whether it’s a radio show or he talks about opening another clothing line. The sky is the limit.