There is a certain category of people who, even on a well-deserved pension, still looks very dignified, inspires respect and even to some extent, fear from others. This is what George Foreman, the legendary former boxer in the past, and now the pastor of one of the religious movements, appears to the average philistine. Even at his advanced age (he is already 67 years old), he is still in good physical shape and always smiles. In this article we will examine in detail the life path 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, January 10, 1949. Childhood and youth George Foreman spent on the streets of the Houston ghetto, where young people learned to rob, kill and rape. In parallel, many adolescents became addicts or alcoholics. There is a version that an outstanding boxer, after retiring from the sport, at some point returned the purse to one of his victims, but the American himself denies all this and is absolutely not making excuses for himself. “I was a gangster, and for past crimes I have no forgiveness!”
George Foreman, whose early life biography is typical of a Houston resident, fought on the streets as part of a gang. His father left the family, and his mother alone was engaged in raising several children. George was also kicked out of school because he did not attend classes at all. In general, by his 16 years, the young man had become an inveterate Gopnik, without the slightest bright prospects in his future.
However, fate prepared for the guy a destiny different from the life of his brothers in the district. One day everything changed after George Foreman tried to escape from the police and hid under someone else's house. In order not to give himself a smell, he smeared with mud and calmed down, trying to wait out the raid. And when the guy was under the building, the words of his older sister began to twirl in his head: “You can do whatever you want! You still have no future! ”Getting out from under the house, the young man washed off and decided to change his life drastically. As a result, he joined the ranks of the Workers' Corps, a state program focused on the fight against poverty and unemployment.
First steps in boxing
The "working corps" turned out to be a saving straw for Foreman. It was there that he received primary education and basic labor skills. In addition, there he learned what boxing is. Already in the first sparring of his - a street fighter with a lot of experience - they broke off very coolly. The rival managed to inflict a large number of blows to him without the slightest damage to himself, while George himself never hit the opponent.
So our hero realized that he doesn’t understand anything in boxing at all, and street fights gave nothing in terms of boxing, and he had to start learning from scratch.
George Foreman in the amateur ring did not perform very long and already in 1968 at the Olympics in Mexico City was able to win the gold award. In the final fight, he was confronted by an outstanding Soviet athlete Jonas Chepulis. In the course of their battle, the American smashed his opponent’s face very strongly, which also turned out to be a manifestation of his long life on the street. Some time later, Forman admitted that he had risen to the square of the ring with a burning desire to kill all his rivals. As he then believed, by killing one of his opponents, his career would begin a new, brighter turn.
Transition to professionals
In the summer of 1969, our hero switched to professional boxing. George Foreman already in his first fight in the status of a pro brutally knocked out his compatriot Don Waldheim in the third round. After this fight, there was a succession of more than thirty successful fights for Foreman and access to the championship match, which is worth talking about separately.
World title conquest
On January 22, 1973, Jamaica hosted a duel between two undefeated super heavyweights until then - Foreman and Frazier. From the very first seconds of the fight, it became clear that the current champion would not last long.
And so it happened. In less than two rounds, Joe was knocked down six times, which eventually naturally caused the wave to stop the fight and award Foreman the victory by technical knockout. Respected in sports circles, the magazine "Ring" called this fight the battle of the year. After winning the championship belt, George successfully defended his title in a duel with Jose Roman and Ken Norton. And then on the way Foreman appeared no less legendary Mohammed Ali ...
Loss of champion title
The successful fights of George Foreman were interrupted at the time of his meeting in the ring with Ali. Their battle took place in the fall of 1974 in Zaire. Don King, the promoter of the fight, agreed with the ruler of the country to hold this fight in Africa and allocate to him a lot of money at that time - $ 12 million. By the way, each of the fighters then received 5 million.
Both Foreman and Ali arrived on the continent in advance and spent the whole summer there, systematically undergoing acclimatization. George Forman’s training sessions were held in the capital’s hotel, and Mohammed’s workouts were closer to ordinary people who literally worshiped him. A day before the scheduled duel, both fighters attended a party that President Mobutu gave.
Since there was a very high temperature and humidity in the venue for the championship match, both fighters rather quickly began to lose their physical condition. Already from the second round, Ali begins to hang on the ropes and make effective counterattacks, trying to hold a successful cross in the head of Foreman.
During the first half of the fight, Ali missed quite a few hard blows, after which, he said, he began to have strong hallucinations. After completing the fifth round, George asked the judge to pull the ropes, but his request was ignored. In the seventh three-minute period, Ali began to build up his advantage, and in the eighth round he managed to knock out a young champion. Thus, Foreman lost the title and for a long time justified it with all sorts of unfavorable moments for him: the ropes of the ring too weak, the referee’s very fast counting, the poisoned water that his trainer gave him.
After that, George fought with Ron Lyle, and the fight could have ended badly for Foreman, but he still managed to knock out an opponent.
In the summer of 1976, “Big George” met again with Joe Frazier and again won by knockout, with the only difference being that this time the battle 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 for the completion of the career of our hero.
Life outside the ring
In 1977, Foreman George, who was knocked out by the public, left professional sports. In his own words, he no longer wanted to engage in boxing, which did not carry anything good to people. Former boxer radically changed his life. He became a preacher, opened a center for young people and began to teach difficult teenagers how to quell anger and aggression, urging them to give up violence. An athlete also built a church in his native Houston with his own money and traveled a lot around the country.
And again in battle!
In March 1987, viewers again saw the impact of George Foreman. Returning to the ring turned out to be successful for him: he managed to knock out Steve Zosuka. After this fight followed a series of successful fights, 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 entered the ring against Evander Holyfield to challenge the title of absolute world champion. Virtually no one gave George a single chance of winning. The fight itself turned out to be quite spectacular. Foreman went ahead and beat, and Holyfield successfully counterattacked and eventually won on points. Many boxing professionals and amateurs were surprised that George was able to cover the entire distance.
The last chance
In 1994, Foreman had another opportunity to win the title: he met with WBA and IBF world champion Michael Murer. The champion won the fight before the start of the last round due to the high speed of movement and strikes, and Foreman managed to win only the fourth. However, in the tenth, George managed to get his opponent's jaw out with a “two”, and Murer 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 that, in the spring of 1995, the American met in the ring with the representative of Germany, Axel Schulz. In that match, the unimportant WBU title was played. The fight ended with a judicial decision in favor of Foreman, which many considered very controversial. The IBF federation obliged the American to give revenge to the German, but he refused and was deprived of his belt.
George spent his last fight on November 22, 1997 against compatriot Shannon Briggs. And again the judicial decision caused fierce disputes with the only difference that this time the victory was taken away from Foreman. After this fight, George finally retired from the sport and again devoted himself to religion and helping low-income adolescents. In 1999, he again tried to return to the ring, signing a contract to fight with Larry Holmes, but in the end the match 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 resisted his return to the ring in 2004 to fight with Trevor Brabik.