George Foreman

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Class of 2003
Modern Category
Hall of Fame bio
World Boxing Hall of Fame Inductee

Name: George Foreman
Alias: Big
Born: 1949-01-10
Birthplace: Marshall, Texas, USA
Hometown: Houston, Texas, USA
Stance: Orthodox
Height: 6′ 3½″   /   192cm
Reach: 78½″   /   199cm
Boxing Record: click

Trainers: Charles "Doc" Broadus, Dick Sadler, Archie Moore, Gil Clancy, Charley Shipes, Angelo Dundee
George Foreman Gallery

Amateur Career

Foreman vs. Ion Alexe at the 1968 Olympics
  • Amateur Record: 22-6
  • Started boxing in 1966 while he was in the Job Corps.
  • First trainer was Charles "Doc" Broadus.
  • Lost his amateur debut to P.T. Thompson by walkover and then lost his second bout by a three-round decision to Max Briggs.
  • Won the 1967 Parks Diamond Belt Heavyweight Championship (Junior Division) with a first-round knockout of Marion Jones in Oakland, California.
  • Won the 1967 California Golden Gloves Heavyweight Championship (Junior Division) with a knockout victory in San Francisco, California.
  • Won the 1967 Nevada Golden Gloves Heavyweight Championship with a knockout of Thomas Cook in Las Vegas, Nevada.
  • Lost to Clay Hodges in the heavyweight final of the 1967 National Golden Gloves Tournament in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Foreman fought Hodges three times as an amateur and was outpointed in all three bouts.
  • Won the 1968 California Golden Gloves Heavyweight Championship with a knockout of L.C. Brown in San Francisco, California.
  • Won the 1968 National AAU Heavyweight Championship, after stopping three opponents, he won a three-round decision vs. Henry Crump at Toledo, Ohio.
  • Had two five-round exhibitions in Oakland, California with former World Heavyweight Champion Sonny Liston in July 1968.
  • Lost on a foul against Deiter Renz in Hannover, West Germany in August 1968 as part of a dual match between the United States and West Germany.
  • Won the 1968 United States Olympic Trials with a second-round knockout of Albert Wilson in Maumee, Ohio.
  • Outpointed Otis Evans at the United States Olympic Box-Offs in Albuquerque, New Mexico to make the Olympic Team.
  • Won the Gold Medal in the heavyweight division at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, Mexico. Results:


Preceded by:
Joe Frazier
Olympic Gold Medalist
Heavyweight Champion

1968
Succeeded by:
Teofilo Stevenson
Preceded by:
Forest Ward
National AAU Heavyweight Champion
1968
Succeeded by:
Earnie Shavers


Professional Career

Foreman with the IBF and WBA titles
  • Was a 3½ to 1 underdog when he knocked out Joe Frazier in two rounds to win the Undisputed World Heavyweight Championship on January 22, 1973.
  • Was a 3½ to 1 favorite when he lost the championship to Muhammad Ali by an eighth-round knockout on October 30, 1974.
  • Claimed he was drugged prior to his fight with Ali by his trainer, Dick Sadler. "Just before the fight with Ali, my trainer handed me a glass of liquid and said 'Here's your water'," Foreman said. "As I took a swig, I almost spit it out. 'Hey, this water tastes like it has medicine in it'," Foreman says he replied. He says Sadler insisted defensively that it was "the same water as always" and so he finished drinking it. "I never worked with Dick Sadler after that ... We both knew something happened that night," Foreman told Reuters.
  • On April 26, 1975, Foreman fought five men in exhibition bouts scheduled for three rounds each. The opponents were Alonzo Johnson, Jerry Judge, Terry Daniels, Charley Polite, and Boone Kirkman. The bouts took place at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto and were shown live on ABC Wide World of Sports. Foreman knocked out Johnson, Judge, and Daniels, but Polite and Kirkman were able to survive all three rounds. Many, including ringside commentator Howard Cosell, called the event an embarrassment. Muhammad Ali, who was working ringside with Cosell, repeatedly heckled Foreman, while the crowd of about 5,500 booed Foreman throughout and occasionally chanted Ali's name.
  • Had a spiritual awakening after losing to Jimmy Young in Puerto Rico on March 17, 1977. In his dressing room after the fight, he began to yell, “Jesus Christ is coming alive in me.” He then jumped into the shower and began to shout, “Hallelujah, I’m clean! Hallelujah, I’ve been born again!” Gil Clancy, Foreman’s trainer, said, “It was hot as hell in the ring. He was hallucinating from dehydration.” Foreman retired from boxing with a record of 45-2 (42 KOs) and became an ordained minister.
  • Returned to boxing in 1987 to raise money for the George Foreman Youth and Community Center, which he founded in Houston in 1984. Foreman went 31-3 (26 KOs) during his comeback.
  • Became the oldest boxer ever to win the World Heavyweight Championship when he knocked out Michael Moorer on November 5, 1994 to win the WBA/IBF Heavyweight Championship at the age of 45.
  • Stripped of the WBA title for not fighting Tony Tucker, the WBA #1 contender.
  • Defended the IBF title with a controversial majority decision over Axel Schulz on April 22, 1995. Foreman relinquished the title after the IBF mandated a rematch.
  • Claimed the Lineal World Heavyweight Championship until losing a controversial majority decision to Shannon Briggs on November 22, 1997.
  • Was scheduled to face Larry Holmes on January 23, 1999, but pulled out of the fight because the promoter, Roger Leavitt, could not secure financing in a timely manner after losing one of the major financial backers. Leavitt has already given George Foreman a $1 million advance on his $10 million purse and Holmes $400,000 of his $4 million purse. Those deposits were nonrefundable.

Awards and Recognition

Outside the Ring

Foreman promoting the George Foreman Grill
  • Played OSI agent Marcus Grayson on a second season (1975) episode of The Six Million Dollar Man entitled "Look Alike."
  • Played a factory worker in the 1975 movie Let's Do It Again with Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier.
  • Guest starred as himself on a fifth season (1976) episode of Sanford and Son entitled "The Directors."
  • Had his own sitcom on ABC in 1993 called George. He played a retired boxer who opens an after-school center for troubled kids. Tony Danza was a co-executive producer. The show lasted for only nine episodes.
  • Hosted Saturday Night Live on December 15, 1994.
  • Starred in ads for Doritos, KFC, and Meineke.
  • Became highly successful with the George Foreman Grill. It was invented by Michael Boehm and Robert Johnson, and Foreman signed on to promote it. The grill has sold over 100 million units worldwide since 1995. Under the original deal, Foreman had a right to about 40% of the profits from the grills. At the height of its success, he received $4.5 million a month in payouts. In 1999, Salton Inc., the grill's manufacturer, bought the rights to use his name and selling skills in perpetuity for $127.5 million in cash and $10 million in stock.
  • All five of Foreman's sons are named George: George Jr., George III, George IV, George V, and George VI. His four younger sons are distinguished from one another by the nicknames Monk, Big Wheel, Red, and Little Joey. George Foreman III is also a professional boxer.
  • Daughter Freeda embarked on a brief professional boxing career.
  • Was a commentator for HBO from 1991 to 2004.
  • Autobiography: By George: The Autobiography of George Foreman

Quotes

  • “Many people fail not so much because of their mistakes; they fail because they are afraid to try.”
  • "Boxing is like jazz. The better it is, the less people appreciate it."
  • “The question isn't at what age I want to retire, it's at what income.”
  • “The referee is going to be the most important person in the ring tonight besides the fighters.”

Trivia

  • The 2006 movie Rocky Balboa was partially inspired by Foreman's fight with Michael Moorer.

External Links


Preceded by:
Joe Frazier
WBA Heavyweight Champion
WBC Heavyweight Champion

1973 Jan 22 – 1974 Oct 30
Succeeded by:
Muhammad Ali
Preceded by:
Michael Moorer
WBA Heavyweight Champion
1994 Nov 5 – 1995 Mar 4
Stripped
Succeeded by:
Bruce Seldon
Preceded by:
Michael Moorer
IBF Heavyweight Champion
1994 Nov 5 – 1995 Jun 29
Vacated
Succeeded by:
Michael Moorer