GEORGE FOREMAN/MUHAMMAD ALI
"Rumble in the Jungle"
20th May Stadium, Kinshasa, Zaire
October 30, 1974
Ali won an 8th round KO
About George Foreman
Born January 10, 1949 in Marshall, TX
Currently resides in Houston, TX
Career record: 76 wins (68 KO), 5 defeats
The renaissance man of the boxing world, Foreman is a two-time World Heavyweight Champion, an Olympic Gold Medalist, an ordained Baptist minister, an author and a hugely successful entrepreneur. In addition to all these achievements, he's ranked number nine on Ring Magazine's list of 100 greatest punchers of all time.
When Foreman was a young man, he idolized Jim Brown and was most interested in playing football. But that took a back seat to boxing in 1968 when he went to Mexico City to win the gold in the heavyweight division. He turned pro in 1969, and by 1973 had won the heavyweight championship by TKOing Joe Frazier in one of the biggest upsets in boxing history.
Foreman traveled to Zaire for his third title defense to "Rumble in the Jungle" with Muhammad Ali. He suffered a cut above his eye during training, which affected his preparation and forced postponement of the fight for a month. In spite of the changes in his training regimen, Foreman was favored going into the ring, but Ali's "rope-a-dope" tactics got the better of him as he began to tire and punch wildly. Ali taunted Foreman throughout the fight, and finished him in the eighth round. It was Foreman's first professional defeat and the first time he'd been knocked down.
Foreman had what he called a "near-death experience" after losing a twelve-round decision to Jimmy Young in 1977. He became quite ill in his dressing room and begged God to help him. After recovering completely, he became a born-again Christian, an ordained minister who stopped fighting for ten years to devote his life to his family and his church. During this time, he opened a youth center and joked that Young had "knocked the devil out of me".
Foreman returned to the ring in 1987 at the age of 38. He won nine times in 1988, and continued his comeback through the following year, at the same time endorsing a variety of products and selling them on TV. The once sullen, aloof Foreman was now a smiling and friendly spokesperson for everything from mufflers to grills. In 1991, he challenged Heavyweight Champion Evander Holyfield for the title and surprised many fans by going the distance, but ultimately lost a 12-round decision. Foreman challenged a title holder once again in 1994 when he fought Michael Moorer, wearing the same style and color trunks he had worn in his title defense loss to Ali 20 years earlier. By knocking out Moorer in the ninth round, he broke three records: 1) at age 45, he became the oldest fighter to ever win the world heavyweight title, 2) he broke the record for the longest period of time between his first and second world championships, and 3) the 19-year age difference between him and Moorer was the largest of any heavyweight title bout.
Foreman finally fought for the last time at age 48 and retired after losing a decision to Shannon Briggs. He has enjoyed great financial success, in the ring and out, and credits two other great boxers for much of that. Foreman once said, "There are no two people who better define sports in America than 'Smokin' Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali. They both took our sport to another level and they are most responsible for the high paid salaries that all of us athletes receive today." Foreman has ten children including five sons, all of whom are named George. He continues to share his Christian views and "near-death" experience on various Christian TV broadcasts.