There is a certain category of people who, even being on a well-deserved pension, still looks very dignified, causes respect and even to some degree a fear of others. This is what the average citizen George Foreman, a legendary boxer in the past, appears before, and now he is a pastor of one of the religious trends. Even in his venerable age (he is already 67 years old), he is still in great physical shape and always smiling. In this article, we will consider in detail the life of this outstanding athlete and his main achievements.
Birth and childhood
The future champion was born in the US state of Texas, the city of Marshall, on January 10, 1949. Children and youth George Foreman spent in the streets of the Houston ghetto, where young people learned to rob, kill and rape. In parallel, many adolescents became drug addicts or alcoholics. There is a version, as if an outstanding boxer after leaving the sport at some point returned the purse of one of his victims, but the American himself denied all this and absolutely does not justify himself. "I was a thug, and for past crimes I do not have forgiveness!"
George Foreman, whose early life biography is quite typical of a resident of Houston, fought in the streets as part of a gang. His father left the family, and my mother was alone raising several children. George was also kicked out of school because he did not attend classes at all. In general, to his 16 years, the young man became an inveterate gopnik without the slightest bright prospects in his future.
However, fate has prepared the guy fate, which differs from that of his fellow-countrymen in the district. One day everything changed after George Foreman tried to escape from the police and hid under a strange house. In order not to betray himself with a smell, he smeared with dirt and died down, trying to wait out the round-up. And at the moment of being under the building, the words of his elder sister twisted in the boy's head: "You can do whatever you want! You still do not have a future! "Having got out from under the house, the young man washed himself and decided to change his life abruptly. As a result, he joined the ranks of the "Workers' Corps" - a state program aimed at combating poverty and unemployment.
The first steps in boxing
"Workers' Corps" was a saving straw for Forman. It was there that he received his primary education and basic work skills. In addition, there he also learned what boxing is. Already in the first sparring of his - street fighter with a lot of experience - very abruptly broke off. Opponent managed to inflict a large number of attacks without the slightest damage to himself, and George himself never hit the enemy.
So our hero realized that he did not know anything about boxing, and street fights gave nothing in terms of boxing, and he had to start training from scratch.
George Foreman on an amateur ring performed not very long and already in 1968 at the Olympics in Mexico he was able to win a gold award. In the final battle he was opposed by the outstanding Soviet athlete Jonas Chepulis. During the course of their battle, the American broke his opponent's face very hard, which also proved to be a manifestation of his long life on the street. Some time later, Foreman admitted that he was climbing into the square of the ring with a burning desire to kill all his rivals. As he then believed, killing one of his opponents, his career would start a new, brighter turn.
Transition to professionals
In the summer of 1969, our hero moved to professional boxing. George Foreman already in his first duel in the status of the pros brutally knocked out his compatriot Don Waldheim in the third round. After this fight was followed by a succession of more than thirty successful for Foreman battles and an exit to the championship fight, which should be discussed separately.
Conquering the world title
January 22, 1973 in Jamaica, a duel between two unbeaten until that time, the heavyweight - Foreman and Fraser. From the first seconds of the battle it became clear that the current champion will not last long.
And it happened. For an incomplete two rounds, Joe six times down, that in the end the wave naturally led to the stop of the fight and the award of victory to Forman by TKO. Honored in sports circles magazine "Ring" called this fight the battle of the year. After the conquest of the champion belt George successfully defended the title in a duel with José Roman and Ken Norton. And further on the way of Forman appeared no less legendary Mohammed Ali ...
Loss of the title of champion
Successful fights George Foreman broke off at the time of his meeting in the ring with Ali. Their battle took place in the autumn of 1974 in Zaire. Promoter of the fight Don King agreed with the ruler of the country to hold this fight in Africa and allocate to him a large at that time money - $ 12 million. By the way, each of the fighters received then 5 million.
Both Foreman and Ali arrived on the continent in good time and spent the whole summer there, systematically going through acclimatization. George Foreman's training took place in the capital's hotel, and Mohammed - in an atmosphere closer to ordinary people who literally worshiped him. A day before the scheduled duel, both fighters visited the party that President Mobutu arranged.
Since the place of the championship match was very high temperature and humidity, both fighters quickly began to lose their physical condition. Already from the second round, Ali begins to hang on the ropes and make effective counter-attacks, trying to conduct a successful cross in Foreman's head.
Throughout the first half of the fight Ali missed quite a lot of heavy blows, after which, he said, he began to have strong hallucinations. After the end of the fifth round, George asked the judge to pull the ropes, but his request was ignored. In the seventh three minutes, Ali began to build up his advantage, and in the eighth round he managed to knock out the young champion. Thus, Foreman lost the title and for a long time justified it in all the unfavorable moments for him: too weak ropes of the ring, very fast counting of the referee, poisoned water that his coach gave him.
After that, George fought with Ron Lyle, and the fight could end again for Foreman unsuccessfully, but he still managed to knock out his opponent.
In the summer of 1976, "Big George" again met with Joe Frazier and again won him a knockout, with the only difference that this time the fight lasted until the fifth round.
In the spring of 1977, Foreman suffered another defeat in his career. This time, he could not beat Jimmy Young. The fight lasted all 12 rounds, in the last of which the boxer was knocked down. This defeat was the impetus to the completion of our hero's career.
Life outside the ring
In 1977, Foreman George, a knockout in the performance of which the public liked so much, left professional sports. In his own words, he no longer wanted to do boxing, which did not bring anything good to people. The former boxer has radically changed his life. He became a preacher, opened a center for youth and began to teach difficult teenagers the ability to extinguish anger and aggression, urging them to give up violence. Also, the athlete built his own church on his own money in his native Houston and traveled a lot around the country.
And again into battle!
In March 1987, spectators again saw what the blow of George Foreman was worth. Return in the ring was successful for him: he managed to knock out Steve Zosuki. After this fight a series of successful battles followed, which quite logically brought him back to the top, giving the right to meet with the champion.
In the spring of 1991, at the age of 42, Foreman stepped into the ring against Evander Holyfield to challenge the title of absolute champion of the world. Virtually no one gave George a single chance to win. The battle itself was spectacular enough. Foreman went ahead and beat, and Holyfield successfully counter-attacked and eventually won on points. Many experts and amateurs of boxing were surprised that George managed to pass the entire distance.
In 1994, Foreman had another opportunity to win the title: he met with the WBA and IBF World Champion Michael Moorer. The champion, due to the high speed of movement and blows, won the fight before the start of the last round, and Foreman was able to win only the fourth. However, in the tenth George managed to get a "deuce" opponent's jaw, and Moorer was knocked out. This victory allowed George to become the oldest boxer, who managed to win the championship belt.
Somewhat later, George Foreman, a boxer with an outstanding track record, was stripped of his title because he refused to meet with mandatory challenger Tony Tucker.
After this, in the spring of 1995, an American met in the ring with the representative of Germany, Axel Schultz. In that duel, the insignificant title of WBU was drawn. The fight ended in a judicial decision in favor of Forman, which many considered very controversial. The IBF Federation ordered the American to give revenge to the German, but he refused and was deprived of his belt.
His last fight was held on November 22, 1997 against compatriot Shannon Briggs. Again, the referee's decision caused fierce controversy with the only difference that this time the victory was taken from Foreman. After this fight, George finally quit the sport and again devoted himself to religion and helping poor teenagers. In 1999, he again tried to return to the ring, signing a contract to fight with Larry Holmes, but in the end the duel did not take place.
George is married and has ten children: five daughters and five sons. It deserves no less respect. According to rumors, it was the wife of the legendary champion who opposed his return to the ring in 2004 to fight with Trevor Brebik.