Infuriated by some comments that Rouse’s manager had made before
the bout concerning the fact that even though Foster knocked out Rouse
in their first bout he was not able to drop him, Foster dropped Rouse
five times en route to a fourth round knockout victory. A knockout
in 10 to retain the title against Mark Tessman followed, and then
he was given the chance to challenge for the world heavyweight title.
Facing world champion Joe Frazier on the night of November 18 in Detroit,
he was knocked out in two rounds.
After defeating Hal Carroll
by a knockout in four rounds to defend his crown, the WBA stripped
him of the title, but he remined as world champion on the WBC. Foster
became enraged at the WBA, which proceeded to have Vicente Rondon
of Venezuela and Jimmy Dupree fight for the world title. Rondon won,
becoming the second Latin American world light heavyweight champion
(after Jose Torres), and Foster set his eyes on him. Foster went on
defending his WBC title, and he defeated challengers Ray Anderson,
Tommy Hicks, and Brian Kelly. Of those three, it was Anderson who
was the only one to last the 15 round distance with Foster.
Foster and Rondon met in Miami on April 7, 1972, in a unification
bout. Foster became the undisputed world champion once again, by knocking
Rondon out in the second round. In his next fight, he used what many
critics have called one of the best punches in history to retain his
title by a knockout in four against Mike Quarry. Foster then went
up in weight and faced former and future world heavyweight champion
Muhammad Ali, in what was legendary referee Mills Lane’s first bout
of note as a referee. Foster lost to Ali by a knockout in the eight,
after being knocked down 7 times.
In 1973, Foster retained his
title twice against Pierre Fourie, both by decision. Their second
fight had a distinct social impact because it was fought in Apartheid-ruled
South Africa. Foster being Black and Fourie being White. Foster became
a hero to South African Blacks by beating Fourie the first time around,
and in their rematch, the first boxing fight in South Africa during
Apartheid featuring a White versus a Black, he cemented that position
by defeating Fourie on points again.
Piet Koornhoff was the
south African Minister of Sport at that time and he had to be persuaded
to allow the fight. He had to amend the regulations relating to the
prohibition of “mixed sport” in order to do so. Bob Foster was allowed
into the country on condition that he refrain from making any political
comments or speeches. In a post fight interview he diplomtatically
responded to a specific question that he liked the country and would
be willing to come back again. This explains the sentiment of Mark
Mathabane as noted in his autobiography Kaffir Boy, that South Africa’s
black population felt betrayed by Foster since he didn’t address Apartheid
during his time in South Africa.
His last defenses as world
light heavyweight champion came in 1974, when he was dropped by Argentinian
Jorge Ahumada, but managed to keep the title with a draw. After that,
he announced his retirement, leaving the world’s light heavyweight
Foster returned to the boxing in 1975,
winning a series of 10 round contests, before retiring from the sport
permanently in 1978 at the age of 40.