Many feel that boxing, after a certain age, should hang up their gloves for their own safety. Apparently, George Foreman is someone that does not follow the norm as at the age of 45 was continuing to fight in the ring and on November 5th, 1994 fights 26-year-old Michael Moorer in a WBA bout in Las Vegas and becomes the oldest heavyweight champion in the 10th round. Held at the MGM Grand Hotel, over 12,000 fans watched Moorer, who came in with a 35-0 record, is dethroned by Foreman. After his upset win, Foreman dedicated the win to everyone in prison and to his friends at the nursing home.
Foreman was born in Marshal, Texas in 1949 and having a troubled childhood decided to drop out of high school. Foreman discovered he had a gift for boxing after signing up to President Lyndon Johnson’s Jobs Corps work program. Acquiring the nickname of “Big George,” participated in the Olympics in 1968 that was being held in Mexico City and was successful in winning a gold medal for the United States. Continuing to follow a career in boxing, Foreman went on to win 37 professional fights, 34 were by knockout, which led to a match against “Smokin” Joe Frazier in Kingston, Jamaica in 1973.
Finally, George became the heavyweight champion after a two-round-knockout of Frazier. Unfortunately for him in 1974, he would defend his title in Kinshasa, Zaire at what has been called the “Rumble in the Jungle” against the underdog Muhammad Ali; Foreman endured a shocking defeat and lost his championship title. Big George three years later describes after losing a match as having a religious moment that made him decide to go from a fighter to becoming a preacher. His decision was to retire from fighting professionally and ventured to Houston where he became an ordained minister and started a youth center.
Foreman was forced to go back into the ring at the age of 38 as he had spent the millions he made in boxing ten years ago; however, he made a successful comeback. Foreman would go on in 1994 to win his second heavyweight title by defeating Moorer and became the IBF and WBA champ. Ironically, he wore the same red trunks as he did in his loss to Ali. Yet, his new found championship title would be short lived as his WBA title was taken away in March of 1995 due to his refusal to fight the number one contender Tony Tucker. In June of the same year, his IBF title was stripped away after declining a rematch to Axel Schultz whom in April defeated him by a controversial slim decision made by the judges. Retiring with a 76-5 lifetime record, his last match in 1997 was a loss to Shannon Biggs.
Foreman’s life outside boxing has been a rewarding one. He has five daughters and five sons with all of them having the name George; he has amassed wealth from being a successful TV pitchman for a number of products, which includes the famous George Foreman Grill, as well as an entrepreneur.
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