Never has the sport of boxing seen such an exhaustive transformation as that in the career of George Edward Foreman, who started off as a world-renowned boxer and later became an ordained Christian minister. Born in Marshall, Texas on January 10, 1949, the 6 foot 3 inch tall American has a lot of recognition to his name. Foreman’s boxing career can be viewed to comprise of two different time slots, one from 1969-77, and the other from 1987-97, following a 10-year break from the sport. Foreman also upheld a strong streak of 76 wins to only 5 losses, and is known to be the oldest Heavyweight Champion in history. Given Foreman’s accomplishments, the Ring Magazine ranks him as the 9th Greatest Puncher of all time.
Before beginning his career in 1969, Foreman represented the United States in the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games, winning the gold medal in the Heavyweight boxing category. In his first year as a professional boxer, he participated in 13 games, winning all of them. 11 of these games were won as a result of a knockout blow. The year 1970 turned out to be even more glorious for the 21 year old superstar, as he beat celebrated names in the game, such as Gregorio Peralta and George Chuvalo. Eventually, by 1971, Foreman had an impressive record of 32-0, and was now ranked as the number one challenger to the World Heavyweight title. In 1972, in an event labelled ‘The Sunshine Showdown’, every spectator could see the sheer ferocity with which Foreman had finally worked his way up to have a real shot at the title. He was to face the much feared and undefeated Joe Frazier, who had a near perfect record and had previously beaten Oscar Bonavena and Jerry Quarry successively to secure the championship. Foreman was to make history, as against all essential odds, he beat Frazier with a technical knockout in close to six rounds. One of the most difficult title defenses came against Ken Norton in 1974, who had 30-2 record. Norton was known to have an unorthodox boxing style, and could catch opponents by surprise. However, Foreman’s sharpness and deathly uppercuts was no match for Norton, who fell down to the floor in the 2nd round. The same year, Foreman witnessed his first ever professional loss against Muhammad Ali, in a fight that lasted for 8 intense rounds.
After taking down Ron Lyle in 1976 and consequently beating him, Foreman faced Frazier in another enthusiastic encounter, this time gaining precedence not so long after. After a 10-year break from boxing, he surprised many fans by entering the sport once more and took on a string of opponents before finally contending for the World Championship in 1994. His opponent was Michael Moorer, who proved to be tougher than expected. In the 10th round, Foreman laid a strong punch across Moorer’s jaw, knocking him out for good. This was a momentous occasion in boxing history, as Foreman had become the oldest World Heavyweight Champion. Foreman fought for the last time against Shannon Briggs in 1997. In a controversial setting, the 12-round match consistently showcased Foreman’s exceptional standing. The match was awarded to Briggs, however, despite a consistent and determined performance by Foreman. Foreman retired from the sport shortly thereafter, became an HBO analyst for a short period.