George Foreman: Big Man from Texas (Part I)

George Foreman

Olympic Gold Medalist was a two-time World Heavyweight Champion.

George Foreman has been a major figure in boxing for four decades who was able to successfully come out of retirement after almost 20 years and regain his title. His resilience is as powerful as his history. Foreman was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame and the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

George Foreman grew up on the rough streets of Houston’s 5th Ward
• Foreman joined to Job Corps to learn a vocation and get off the streets
• Foreman knocked down Joe Frazier 6 times in 2 rounds.

Having been in some of the most classic bouts of all time such as the “Rumble in the Jungle”, Foreman has sealed his legacy fighting such greats as Muhammed Ali and Joe Frazier. Well known to everyone as well as US gambling news, Foreman was always notorious for the power of his punch. The Ring ranked him as the 9th greatest puncher of all time.

George Foreman’s Early Years

Foreman was born on January 10, 1949 in Marshall, Texas, but grew up on the hard streets of Houston’s Fifth Ward District. As a child, Foreman actually was interested in American football and was a big fan of Jim Brown. He soon gave football up for boxing. Unfortunately Foreman had a troubled time as a youth being involved in street gangs. Foreman was a “self-proclaimed thug.”

Besides the fact he came from an impoverished home, Foreman found the need to bully younger children. Perhaps his dislike of waking up in the morning fueled his disinterest in school. By the time he dropped out of school at 15, he was routinely mugging people and often caught up in street fights. A program called Lyndon B. Johnson Job Corps, designed to help troubled youth by teaching them vocational skills, offers Foreman a way out of his negative lifestyle.

After joining the Job Corps in 1965, Foreman moved to Pleasanton, California to train to be a boxer. Through networks, Foreman was able to find trainer Doc Broadus who gave him the encouragement to use his skills in the boxing ring. Foreman proved a quick study and entered the amateur ranks where he amassed a rather impressive record. Well known in Mexican gambling news, Foreman soon tried out for the U.S Olympic boxing team.

Not only was Foreman named to the U.S Olympic boxing team for the 1968 games in Mexico City, but came to impress. With a second-round knockout of Lonas Chepulis of the Soviet Union, Foreman was awarded the gold medal in the heavyweight boxing division. According to his autobiography, Foreman re-established his identity as an American who had pride in his country. Foreman soon turned to the professional ranks.

Foreman’s Professional Years

As a professional, Foreman was an opposing figure at 6 foot 3 inches. Foreman was feared by opponents made it a reality in the form of brutal punching prowess. Perhaps Foreman’s demeanor made promoters reluctant to give him a shot at the title. After 37 wins, Foreman was finally able to face Joe Frazier for the title. Foreman being a 3 to 1 underdog probably drew a lot of punters in accordance to US gambling laws.

George Foreman

(Photo: The Fight City)

In 1973, the undefeated Foreman took on Smoking Joe in Kingston, Jamaica. Frazier never stood a chance as Legendary ABC sports broadcaster Howard Cosell kept repeating “Down goes Frazier.” In fact, Foreman knocked Frazier down 6 times within 2 rounds. Foreman won after the referee eventually decided he was the obvious winner. Foreman had two title defenses before facing Ken Norton.

In 1974, Ken Norton was a highly respected fighter who broke Muhammed Ali’s jaw a year earlier. Norton, who was reputed to have a good tolerance for heavy hitters, couldn’t withstand Foreman. After an uppercut, Norton eventually went down and the so did that fight in boxing history. Soon Foreman would face Ali in his best known fight. The classic bout, known as the “Rumble in the Jungle” was set in Zaire.

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