MacArthur "Mac" Foster (June 27, 1942 – July 19, 2010) was a 20th century American heavyweight professional boxer.
He competed from 1966 to 1976, winning 30 of his 36 professional bouts, with all his victories coming by way of knockout. He scored notable stoppages of heavyweight contenders Thad Spencer, Cleveland Williams, whom he defeated twice, and Zora Folley. Foster went the distance against a prime Muhammad Ali in April 1972, losing by a fifteen round unanimous decision.
Foster was born in Alexandria, Virginia, a son, and the third of eleven children, of a Mississippi sharecropping family. He spent his childhood years in Fresno, California, where his father found employment as a nurse. Foster picked grapes and cotton as a youth. Fresno State University offered him a track and field scholarship out of Washington High School, but he declined the opportunity, choosing instead to enlist with the United States Marines. Whilst serving with the Marines he won fourteen amateur boxing titles, and was deployed for two combat tours in the Vietnam War. After a discharge from the Marines with the rank of sergeant, Foster turned professional, becoming the third Fresno boxer of note (Young Corbett III was a world welterweight champion and Wayne Thornton rose through the rankings to become a number one heavyweight contender in 1970). He trained with Pat DiFuria at the Merced Street Gym.
Standing at 6 ft 2" in height and known as "Big Mac The Knife from Fresno", Foster made his professional debut in 1966, winning his first 24 fights by knockout, and was named The Ring's Progress of the Year for 1969. Britain's Boxing Illustrated wrote, "He could certainly whack!"
Whilst being employed as a sparring partner for Sonny Liston, Foster was reputed to have knocked down the former world champion, causing Liston two days later to work Foster over during another sparring session before handlers could intervene between the two men to stop it.
In 1969 Foster knocked out contender Thad Spencer in the first round, and twice knocked out a past his prime Cleveland Williams.
By 1970 Foster was ranked as the world's number one heavyweight contender and seemed set for a title shot, but his 24–0 winning streak came to an end when as favourite he was stopped in six rounds by the more experienced Jerry Quarry in June 1970. After the Quarry fight, Foster knocked out ageing but well rated Zora Folley in one round.
In April 1972 Foster faced Muhammad Ali in Tokyo in a rare 15 round non-title bout. Although he beat Ali's prediction of a fifth round stoppage by lasting the distance, Foster lost a clear decision to the former champion.
Foster followed up his loss to Ali with knockouts of journeymen Sam McGill and Charles Williams. He was then outpointed by Bob Stallings, Joe Bugner and Henry Clark in consecutive bouts.
Foster served as George Foreman's sparring partner for Foreman's world title bout with Ken Norton in 1974. He retired from boxing in 1976 after losing his fourth consecutive decision, this time to prospect Stan Ward. Foster's final record was 30–6, with all 30 of his wins coming by knockout.
After retiring, Foster volunteered his time as boxing coach for youth.
Foster died at the age of 68 of MRSA on Monday, July 19, 2010. His body was buried at the San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery in Santa Nella, California.
He married Yolanda, the marriage producing four children, Gregory, Joshua, Nathaniel and Nicole.
Professional boxing record
|30 Wins (30 knockouts), 6 Losses (1 knockout, 5 decisions)|
|Loss||30–6||Stan Ward||UD||10||February 26, 1976||San Jose Civic Auditorium, San Jose, California|
|Loss||30–5||Henry Clark||UD||10||May 30, 1974||Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland, California||1–7, 1–7, 3–7|
|Loss||30–4||Joe Bugner||PTS||10||November 13, 1973||Empire Pool, Wembley, London||96.5–100|
|Loss||30–3||Bob Stallings||SD||10||June 30, 1973||Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, Illinois|
|Win||30–2||Charles "Hercules" Williams||KO||10||May 3, 1973||Chicago, Illinois|
|Win||29–2||Sam McGill||TKO||9||April 11, 1973||Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, Illinois|
|Loss||28–2||Muhammad Ali||UD||15||April 1, 1972||Nihon Budokan, Tokyo||65–73, 67–75, 66–74|
|Win||28–1||Giuseppe Ros||KO||8||December 26, 1971||Hallenstadion, Zurich|
|Win||27–1||Billy Joiner||KO||5||July 29, 1971||Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California|
|Win||26–1||Mike Boswell||TKO||4||March 25, 1971||Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California|
|Win||25–1||Zora Folley||KO||1||September 29, 1970||Selland Arena, Fresno, California||Folley knocked out at 3:04 of the first round.|
|Loss||24–1||Jerry Quarry||KO||6||June 17, 1970||Madison Square Garden, New York City||Foster knocked out at 2:05 of the sixth round.|
|Win||24–0||Jack O'Halloran||KO||1||April 9, 1970||Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California|
|Win||23–0||Jimmy Rossette||KO||4||March 24, 1970||Selland Arena, Fresno, California|
|Win||22–0||Bob Felstein||KO||2||December 16, 1969||Selland Arena, Fresno, California|
|Win||21–0||Cleveland Williams||KO||3||November 18, 1969||Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, Texas|
|Win||20–0||Cleveland Williams||TKO||5||September 13, 1969||Selland Arena, Fresno, California||Referee stopped the bout at 1:35 of the fifth round.|
|Win||19–0||Roger Russell||TKO||3||August 19, 1969||Selland Arena, Fresno, California|
|Win||18–0||Thad Spencer||KO||1||May 20, 1969||Selland Arena, Fresno, California|
|Win||17–0||Roger Rischer||KO||4||January 21, 1969||Selland Arena, Fresno, California|
|Win||16–0||Joe Hemphill||TKO||3||November 27, 1968||Silver Slipper, Las Vegas, Nevada|
|Win||15–0||Tommy Fields||TKO||5||August 16, 1968||Centennial Coliseum, Reno, Nevada|
|Win||14–0||Tommy Burns||KO||1||August 8, 1968||Seattle Center Arena, Seattle, Washington|
|Win||13–0||Curtis Bruce||TKO||3||July 9, 1968||Selland Arena, Fresno, California|
|Win||12–0||Sonny Moore||KO||2||April 2, 1968||Selland Arena, Fresno, California||Moore knocked out at 2:50 of the second round.|
|Win||11–0||Steve Grant||TKO||2||February 27, 1968||Selland Arena, Fresno, California|
|Win||10–0||Hubert Hilton||TKO||5||January 23, 1968||Selland Arena, Fresno, California|
|Win||9–0||Roy Wallace||KO||7||November 28, 1967||Selland Arena, Fresno, California|
|Win||8–0||Ray Junior Ellis||KO||2||October 11, 1967||Selland Arena, Fresno, California|
|Win||7–0||Floyd Joyner||TKO||7||August 29, 1967||Selland Arena, Fresno, California||Joyner down in the sixth and seventh rounds. Foster caught Joyner in a barrage of punches and the referee stopped the bout at 1:45.|
|Win||6–0||Lino Armenteros||KO||3||June 13, 1967||Selland Arena, Fresno, California||Armentiros knocked out at 0:59 of the third round. Armenteros retired after this bout.|
|Win||5–0||Lou Phillips||KO||3||May 9, 1967||Selland Arena, Fresno, California||Phillips knocked out at 1:53 of the first round.|
|Win||4–0||L.J. Wheeler||TKO||6||March 14, 1967||Selland Arena, Fresno, California||Wheeler down in the third round and three times in the sixth.|
|Win||3–0||Sam Wyatt||KO||1||February 6, 1967||Selland Arena, Fresno, California||Wyatt knocked out at 0:13 of the first round. One of the quickest fights in Boxing history.|
|Win||2–0||Leroy Birmingham||KO||1||January 5, 1967||Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California||Birmingham knocked out at 2:12 of the first round.|
|Win||1–0||Jimmy Gilmore||KO||3||November 28, 1966||Las Vegas, Nevada|