“Big” George Foreman Went from Hit Man to A Pitch Man!

By Boxing News - 12/22/2021 - Comments

By Ken Hissner: This writer recently saw former heavyweight champion “Big” George Foreman do a commercial on television for Choice Home Warranty. He’s done commercials in the past for Doritos, KFC, and Meineke. And of course, for his famous George Foreman Grill that has sold over 100 million of which he was to get 40% of the profits.

Foreman’s career as a boxer is a story in itself of how he got started and winning the Olympic Gold Medal in 1968 in Mexico City to become a two-time world heavyweight champion. His final record was 76-5 with 68 knockouts.

In January of 1973, Foreman, 37-0, knocked out champion “Smokin” Joe Frazier, 29-0, in the second round in Kingston, Jamaica. He admitted he was scared to death of Frazier but just kept throwing punches until he scored the knockout.

There wouldn’t be a rematch until June of 1976, when both were former champions. This time he stopped Frazier in five rounds at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. I remember Frazier shaved off his hair, thinking the punches would “slide” off his bald head.

Foreman was 40-0 when he lost to Muhammad Ali, 44-2, in Africa entitled “Rumble in the Jungle” in October of 1974. After the loss, he won five fights, including the Frazier rematch, before losing to Philadelphia’s Jimmy Young, 20-5-2, in March of 1977 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, by decision.

He was knocked down in the twelfth and final round. In the dressing room, he was hallucinating from dehydration and yelled, “Jesus Christ is coming alive in me.”

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Foreman would retire from the ring after the loss to Young and eventually became an ordained minister. He has been preaching at the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ in Houston since 1980 while living in Humble, Texas, a suburb of Houston. He would return to the ring in order to raise money for the George Foreman Youth and Community Center in 1987.

It would be almost ten years to the day when Foreman started his comeback, stopping Steve Zouski, 25-11, at the Arco Arena, in Sacramento, CA. He would go on to win twenty-four fights before losing to champion Evander Holyfield, 25-0, by decision in April of 1991, in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Holyfield would lose his title to Michael Moorer in April of 1994. Moorer would defend his title against Foreman though the latter was coming off a loss to Tommy Morrison, 36-1, for the vacant WBO World title figuring it would be an easy defense. To the surprise of Moorer and everyone else, Foreman in November of 1994, at the age of 45, would knock out the WBA and IBF World champion Moorer in the tenth round at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, to win the title. He still holds that title of being the oldest boxer to win the heavyweight title.

Foreman’s holding those titles would be short-lived, after winning a disputed decision over Germany’s Axel Schulz, 21-1-1, in his first defense in April of 1995 also at the MGM Grand. He would be stripped of his WBA title, refusing to fight No. 1 ranked Tony “TNT” Tucker.

After a pair of wins, he would lose his final bout, a controversial loss to Shannon “The Cannon” Briggs, 29-1, in November of 1997 at the Taj Mahal Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Foreman named all his sons George Edward Foreman, “so they would have something in common. I say to them if one of us goes up then all go up together. And if one of us goes down, then we all go down together,” said Foreman.

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Foreman has five sons, all with nicknames. George Edward Foreman lll, known as “Monk,” was 16-0 (15), with only two of his opponents with winning records. Others named George ll (Little George), George IV (Big Wheel), George V (Red), and George VI (Little Joey). His daughter Freeda “Big” George Foreman boxed and was 5-1 (3), no opponents with winning records. “My kid’s idea of a hard life is to live in a house with only one phone,” said Foreman.

On Foreman’s official website, he has a Q&A with the following:
Who was the greatest heavyweight of all time? “Joe Louis, and to be honest with you, there is no one in second place,” said Foreman.
What are your thought on Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali? “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,” said Foreman.

This writer did an article on Foreman years ago with the help of his brother Roy who was his manager.