Meet Levi Forte, The Boxer George Foreman Feared August 28, 2008Posted by Lipstick in Heroes, Personal Experiences, Travel.
I met a wonderful man in Miami: “The Battling Bellman” and all-around good guy Levi Forte.
Levi is a retired heavyweight boxer who in 1969 went ten rounds with an in-his-prime George Foreman and lost by only one point. He has also been a bellman at the Fontainebleau Hotel for 44 years. So of course, I pestered him to tell me about himself.
At the end of the 1969 fight against Foreman, when the decision was not yet announced, Foreman muttered to Forte “I’m never fighting you again”. And he didn’t. But Levi Forte later gave some advice to Mohammad Ali before The Rumble in the Jungle: “He doesn’t have stamina, keep him punching and he’ll get tired”. Ali replied, “Heh, I’ll keep on the rope… and he’ll be the dope”.
Forte attended the Rumble in the Jungle and at one point during the fight, Ali looked at him and said “Now?”. Levi nodded and Ali kicked it in and knocked Foreman out.
Levi’s wife is writing a book on his years at the famous hotel and I asked him for a little celebrity dirt: Bob Hope was the cheapest celebrity he ever encountered. Bob and Levi had a ten dollar bet on a fight and Bob wouldn’t pay up until the hotel owner shamed him into it.
This is one of the reasons I love to travel — you meet such fascinating and wonderful people.