Born in Borger, Texas, Foster became closely associated with Albuquerque, New Mexico. He grew up in and began his amateur career in Albuquerque. He also worked at the police department from 1971 until his retirement in 1994. Foster is universally recognized as one of the best light heavyweights who ever lived as his 17-year professional career saw him amass a record of 56-8-1 (46KO). He holds victories over Henry Hank (twice), Eddie Cotton, Dick Tiger, Roger Rouse (twice), Ray Anderson, Vicente Rondon, Mike Quarry, Chris Finnegan and Pierre Fourie (twice). Foster never lost the title in the ring. He instead vacated the title in 1974 after a disputed draw against Jorge Ahumada.
Foster’s long frame generated devastating punching power. Standing 6’3” with a 79-inch reach, his left hook in particular was one of the most feared punches in boxing for good reason. His one-punch knockout victory over Dick Tiger for the title is legendary because it would turn out to be only Tiger’s second loss inside the distance and the sole 10-count KO defeat of the Nigerian’s career. Foster’s fourth-round annihilation of previously undefeated Quarry is another great example of Foster’s punching power as well as his underrated boxing skills. If you want to see how a great fighter sets up the killer blow, watch Foster v. Quarry.
Foster also engaged with Chris Finnegan in 1972 and his stirring 14th round KO over Finnegan would be named Fight of the Year.
Foster’s fists were only part of his intimidating persona. He had a deep voice and was as capable as any of a fearsome stare. These qualities went along with Foster’s punching power and his great skill-set in the squared circle.
His success at 175 was never able to transition at heavyweight as Foster struggled against men who weighted more than 200 pounds. He went 4-5 against these men, but keep in mind he fought high-quality opposition such as Ernie Terrell (KO by 7), Zora Folley (L 10), Joe Frazier (KO by 2) and Muhammad Ali (KO by 8). Foster became the victim of a devastating left hook from then-heavyweight champion Frazier and was knocked unconscious. Foster was able to open a cut over Ali’s eye, but “The Greatest” replied with seven knockdowns. Foster only lost three times in 44 bouts staged in light heavyweight.
Foster garnered several awards throughout his career: He was voted Fighter of the Year by the Boxing Writers Association of America in 1968 and was voted into the International Boxing Hall Of Fame in 1990. He was rated the third best light heavyweight by THE RING Magazine in 1994 and voted the eighth greatest puncher of all time by THE RING in 2003.
His record and available video footage prove conclusively that Foster was one of the greatest to ever lace up a pair of gloves. Although he is no longer with us in the physical world, his spirit and mark will always remain in boxing. If you’ve never had the pleasure of watching Foster, his fights can be found on YouTube.
Rest in peace champ, you’ve earned it.