Up to two fighters and the top two are arguably the scariest boxers in any division at any time in boxing’s long history. George Foreman knew that “Big George” was just that … BIG. His personality for the past 20 years is almost the complete opposite of how he presented himself early in his career.
These days, his infectious smile is not what we saw from George Foreman when he was destroying opponents with power shots never before seen in the heavyweight division. Foreman’s intimidating physique was enough to scare some men. After winning a gold medal in boxing at the 1968 Olympics, Foreman turned pro and immediately his power was on display. In his first fight, he scored a TKO over Don Waldhelm in the third round. Only Roberto Davila took Foreman the distance this in his eighth fight.
In his first 25 professional fights, George Foreman only had to go the distance three times against Davila, Levi Forte and Gregorio Peralta. Everyone else succumbed to power before the fourth round. George Foreman’s first title was the NABF belt when he defeated Gregorio Peralta in a rematch, this time with a 10th round TKO.
Foreman would remain undefeated until he got his first title shot on January 22, 1973, against reigning champion “Smokin” Joe Frazier. While Frazier often appeared to be a muscular heavyweight, George Foreman made him look small. The result was one of the worst beatings any heavyweight champion has received, as Foreman brought him down seven times in the most brutal way, with a shot that lifted Frazier. The new champion was crowned and jaws dropped everywhere in awe of Big George’s sheer power.
Foreman would defend his title twice. Naturally by knockout. First, it was José Román who had no chance and lost in the first round. Then a very good Ken Norton who was impressed in two rounds. That was in March 1974 and his next challenge came from a former champion in Muhammad Ali. The fight took place in Kinshasa, Zaire and many believed that Ali would be a victim like everyone before him.
Ali’s handlers were nervous because they thought he could be seriously injured in the ring. But this is what made Muhammad Ali one of the greatest of all time … his improvisation. Knowing that Foreman was a heavy hitter, Ali devised the strategy that is now a household term, “rope-a-dope.” Ali got out and leaned against the ropes and allowed Foreman to hit him at will, but most of those bombs hit Ali on the arms and shoulders. That and lying down, Foreman’s power was greatly reduced. The strategy was BRILLIANT.
Just as Ali had expected, Foreman got tired and hit to the point where by the eighth round he had nothing left and Ali, who had reserved his energy, used it to attack Foreman and ultimately knocked him out. It was one of the most impressive upsets in boxing history.
After the fight, Foreman left the sport only to return two years later and knock out Ron Lyle and then Joe Frazier again. With just that loss of Ali on his record, a lithe Jimmy Young decided Foreman in 1977, prompting Big George to quit the sport. At least that’s what we think.
Ten years after Young’s loss, Foreman made an unlikely comeback. With a 46-2 record, Foreman started his winning path again even with that historical power he possessed. 17 KOs or TKOs in a row, as well as to force Bert Cooper out of that fight, Foreman fought for a 10 decision with Everett Martin before stepping into the ring with another great man, Gerry Cooney. Cooney had eliminated Ken Norton in one of the scariest knockouts he has ever seen after eliminating Ron Lyle and Jimmy Young by knockout.
Foreman put Cooney into retirement with a KO in the second round. This being 41 years old. A few wins later and Foreman 69-2 faced “The Real Deal” Evander Holyfield in a title fight only to take Holyfield the distance and lose by unanimous decision. Foreman decided to keep fighting and racking up three straight wins only to lose to the late Tommy Morrison in a WBO title fight, this by decision. Despite that loss, Foreman had a chance to fight Michael Moorer for the heavyweight championship and, at age 45 (1994), Big George surprised everyone by knocking out Moorer by the full count of 10 and regaining the title. heavyweight he had had. long before this fight.
George Foreman was now the oldest man to win a heavyweight championship and would defend it three more times with wins over Axel Schulz, Crawford Grimsley and Lou Savarese only to lose the title in his final fight against Shannon Briggs, but only by decision. majority. .
George Foreman would become a television celebrity selling his famous “George Foreman Grill” among many other appearances. When he fought Briggs on November 22, 1997, he was 48 years old. Another crazy fact about Big George, he has 12 children. That’s right, even a dozen. Funnier are your child’s names. George Jr., George III whom he calls “Monk”, then there is “Big Wheel” or George IV, “red” born George V or “Red” and wait … George VI or “Little Joey”.
You may be wondering who names six children all “George.” Foreman explains that he did it because “I called all my children George Edward Foreman so that they would always have something in common. I tell you, if one of us goes up, then we all go up together, and if one of us goes down, we all go down together! “Foreman is a fun-loving guy with a great sense of humor so different from his demeanor when he first turned pro and that’s what earned his spot on this list because he was an absolute monster in the ring.