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THE MARKETING OF BOXING'S HEAVYWEIGHT MEGA-STAR
Published December 2, 1994
With George Foreman set to appear on the "Tonight Show" with Jay Leno, ESPN's "SportsCenter" Cover Story was on his new-found stardom and marketability. ESPN's Charley Steiner: "The question facing Foreman: Should he go for the big, fast money immediately?" Mike Trainer, Sugar Ray Leonard's manager: "George Foreman's going to live a long life. He's not going to box a whole lot longer. What he needs to do is select a very few quality products and insist on a long-term arrangement." Holmes cited food, autos, hotel chains as possibilities. Steiner: "George Foreman has already proven he can sell himself and help market products. But will Foreman be able to market boxing and jump-start a sport that so desperately needs one?" USA TODAY's Jon Saraceno said Foreman is more like a "B-12 booster" for the sport than a "vaccination": "Boxing is so endemic with its problems that those things are not going to be solved by George Foreman." The piece closed with a clip of Foreman filming a new Econo Lodge spot (ESPN, 12/1). SHOULDN'T A GUY HIS AGE BE IN BED BY 11:00? Foreman got a double-segment with Leno on "Tonight." Told that he was a motivation for middle-aged people everywhere, including a 50- year-old woman who wanted to have a baby, Foreman looked in the camera and said: "Don't go doin' that, ladies." On a more serious note: "You want to make sure people know if you stop dreaming, you may as well be dead." On his future plans: "They should have a mandatory retirement age for certain -- fighters should not go beyond 65." Foreman said the strangest endorsement offer he's had is for a vegetarian burger: "I asked, 'Where's the beef going to be -- in the buns, or what?'" (NBC, 12/1).